the mother of all cliches

Why do good things happen to bad people, and bad things happen to good people? I don't know. Also, I don't think it helps to talk about these things in general, because 'good' things, and 'bad' things may not be as they appear. Sometimes you just miss a green traffic light, there's no way to know what was ahead of you down that road. We tend towards a nihilistic optimism; if I had made that green light, good things would have come of it, so since I missed the light, I'm justified in being annoyed about it. Murphy's law is exactly that. It could have been so good, but it wasn't so it sucked, as predicted. Instead, if we went forward with a optimistic pessimism we would be perhaps clinically depressed; might as well wait for this light, if I had caught the light things might have gotten worse. Best of all is to understand, as the Baal Shem Tov teaches us, that there isn't another possibility. This experience that you are experiencing is what you were meant to experience. Very zen, but when you hear truth, you have to acknowledge truth. This experience is the one in which you have the most potential to grow spiritually, materially, and pscyhologically.

If you truly understand that, then there's no difference between smooth sailing open highways and bumper to bumper traffic. Even if you are late for the most important moment of your life--you're not late, you're right on time. The current moment is the most important moment in your life. Duh. It's the only moment in your life.

Rebbe Menachem Nachum of Chernobyl, the Maor Eynayim, breaks it down like so: (parashath VaEyra) Tzaddikim take HaShem's gevurah and din, and accept it as if it was the sweetest kindness, and in so doing, they actually realize and concretize the true sweetness that was clothed in the harsh experience. The R'sha'im, they receive only kindness from HaShem, but their actions turn that kindness into din, into difficulty. Not to worry, the Tzaddikim have it in them to take even the din of the R'sha'im and find the sweetness in it and reveal it for all.

Let's talk about the metaphysics of this a little. Gevurah or Din is constrictive and powerful. Hesed or kindness is free flowing, open to all and unstoppable. When God gives you over a lot of Hesed, kindness, it would be available to anyone to take from you. When he wraps it in a shell of Gevurah, it is packetized, guarded, and it reaches you unintercepted--it looks like din/judgement, who wants judgement? When you receive it, and you know that within is really Hesed, then its free-flowing, unstoppable nature ensures that you will receive it. When you receive straight Hesed, and you don't guard it yourself, then anyone can take it from you, it flows away from you into the hands of those who oppose you and you end up with a lot of newly-strengthened judgement all around you, a lot of din, a lot of enemies.

When a Tzaddik receives din, he knows it is just the wrapper of a big present of Hesed, direct from the source of True Kindness, HaShem.

When a Rasha receives kindness from God, he doesn't recognize it, and so it goes unprotected and is lost to the dinim which rise against him.

When a Tzaddik comes along and sees this good that has been lost to the judgement, the dinim. He can draw it back, and along with it the dinim, the judgement comes with it, because it(the din) is unwilling to let it(the hesed) go, and so, the Tzaddik takes these dinim as well and finds God's light in them, the deeper good, and turns them all to goodness.

Rebbe Nachman actually explains the whole process of how the Tzaddik does this and what the end result is in Likkutei Moharan. (Torah 17 or 18, I forget which.)

So actually, if we understood this, and were parties to really watch this all going on, then we could say that when bad things happen to good people, it is really good for those people, and when good things happen to bad people, it is actually really really good for everyone--in the end game.

What about when good things happen to good people? Ah. That can't be revealed. Moshe asks God "Show me your glory." God replies, I will cover you with my hand, and I will pass all my good before you, and then I will remove my hand and you will see my back(וראית את אחורי), but my front will not be seen.(ופני לא יראו) You will see my back, or my other-ness, the other side, which in the Zohar is the bad. But you will not see my face/front/insides. The opposite of the side, is the other side is the good side. God explains to Moshe I will reveal to you how it is that all of the things that seem bad and evil are actually good. [This is spoken of in the Zohar and the Tanya] But the things that appear good, I will not reveal to you how it is that they are truly good. [This is my own chidush, I first spoke about it at my brother Ovadiah's Shabbath Hatan.] That level we cannot receive and still live. (כי לא יראני האדם וחי)


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