For Every Human Being: A Future and Hope!
Do you understand deeply how much Hashem is on your side and wishes to help you and accompany you and give you all the tools to succeed in your life’s task? Read Rabbi Arush's uplifting article!
Translated from Rabbi Arush’s feature article in the weekly Chut shel Chessed newsletter. The articles focus on his main message: “Loving others as yourself” and emuna.
Where Do You Get the Strength?
“I have been clean for more than two years,” says Uri.
His difficult times are etched in his face, as well as his age. He is over fifty. Many years of his life were spent in jail.
“How many times over the years did you think of leaving this way of life?” he is asked. “Almost never,” is his reply. “It is not something that you think about. And you also don’t have much of a chance. Jail doesn’t educate you and doesn’t change you for the better.”
He made the decision to change only when he was near death and saw his friends dying terrible deaths. At that point Divine Providence provided him with an experimental and innovative solution called the “Community Court”, which is a court that instead of having in it policemen interacting with criminals and judges to get people out, you meet a judge who wishes to help you and a staff that gives you the tools and a ladder to climb out of the hole you are in. All the policemen want to do is to be there for you and help you stick to a long and very hard process that you have to go through with yourself. There are such things.
Uri signed up. He went through behavioral therapy. He was rehabilitated. He maintained a normal way of life consisting of work and volunteering. He showed up for meetings and follow-up court sittings and Baruch Hashem, today he helps others break away from a life of crime and choose to live the beautiful life that this world has to offer us.
“Is it easy?” he is asked. “Really, really not,” says Uri. “It is a daily battle for life, for sanity.”
“So, what gives you the strength?” At this point Uri says something heartbreaking. He is a very tough person, not the kind to show feelings, but his simple words speak for themselves: “This is the first time in my life that I have felt loved, felt that someone sees me, that someone cares about me and that people really want to help me.”
What is Mercy?
Holy Jewish people! This is a life-changing story! No, not Uri’s life, but, rather ours. All of us.
Hashem runs the world with truth, justice, and also with chessed (loving-kindness) and rachamim (mercy). We all understand that there must be justice. But not only would the world not be able to survive with strict justice, but moreover, justice doesn’t educate people and doesn’t change people and doesn’t fix the world. Hashem did not create the world for the sake of justice, but rather for the sake of rachamim, because rachamim is the building and growth and correction of the world.
But what is rachamim? Many people are mistaken in regard to this term.
If the law says the judge should put Uri into jail, but he doesn’t – that’s not mercy. That is cruelty towards Uri and towards all of society. True, Uri has been saved from something very unpleasant, but that isn’t mercy.
But when the judge helps Uri go through a process, when Uri regains his self-respect and his independence through his own efforts and feels inner satisfaction from his work and he changes internally thanks to the fact that the judge supports him, enables him, is patient and gives tools – that is rachamim towards Uri and mercy for the world. Anyone can understand that!
“The Merciful Creator created the entire world in order to reveal his rachamim,” says Rabbi Nachman, based on the Kabbala.
What is mercy? That Hashem should make your overdraft disappear and do away with whatever ails you, and give you an apartment and a car, a wife, children, and a good job? That is certainly very good, and Hashem very much wants to give you all this. But this is not the purpose of the world nor of the rachamim, for which the world was created.
Hashem created this world so that you should change! So that you should have da’at (knowledge, understanding)! So that you should live with the correct awareness, with complete faith! So that you should be a good and merciful son, one who walks in the ways of the Creator! So that the entire world will be full of chessed and rachamim! And that is the true mercy of Hashem!
The First Community Judge in History
Hashem has pity on the Jewish people and releases them from bondage, showing them miracles and giving them the greatest gift possible – the holy Torah. The goal of the Torah is to change people, to purify them and the entire world, to reveal mercy on its deepest level. He who learns Torah is elevated.
But what do the Jewish people do? Like hardcore criminals, they make a Golden Calf and the attribute of strict justice makes its demand: “And I will annihilate them immediately.”
Moshe Rabbeinu has to look deeply and understand that even though this is the law and the truth, it is not the purpose. Hashem created man in a world of crime not so that he will go from interrogation to jail and from jail back to crime. Rather, Hashem created man so that he will change, and the greatest honor for the Creator is that a person learns to correct his deeds – and it doesn’t matter what he has done until then! The person should learn to do teshuva and begin a process of correction and rehabilitation! And if Hashem created man for that – rachamim is to help a person reach it! It is a difficult, long, and deep process with many ups and downs, but here is where the greatest mercy of the Creator is revealed!!
The Sin of the Calf – the Climax of the Geula
And now I want to throw a bombshell, intended for the understanding people only.
It would seem that at the giving of the Torah the process of geula was complete – and from then on, the Jews are only deteriorating and sinning. But I would like to say something new, with Hashem’s help: the Sin of the Calf and everything that happens afterwards – that is the finishing blow of the geula of the Jewish People! That is perfection! That is the climax!
And why? Because in the Exodus from Egypt, the Jews learned to believe; learned that Hashem rules the world, watches over it, even loves the Jews and redeems them. They received the Torah and learned to believe in prophecy and in Hashem’s will.
But the main thing was still missing. What is the main thing? The main thing is to believe in Hashem’s mercy in any situation! In His absolute, unconditional love in any situation! That is what was missing. That was the only thing that gives one the strength to work!
Because a human being comes into this world to change, and the greatest mercy Hashem can grant is to help a person change. You cannot change if you don’t believe in Hashem’s mercy. If you don’t understand deeply how much Hashem is on your side and wishes to help you and accompany you and give you all the tools to succeed in your life’s task, so that you should be clean, good, and that you should have da’at!
This is a very deep thing. After the Sin of the Golden Calf – the Jews understood that the story was over; that they had reached a point of no return. Chazal say it is like a bride who is unfaithful under the chuppa – there is no place to go from there.
And it is precisely here, in the depths of darkness, that we have Moshe who believes in the deep, deep rachamim of Hashem and really understands the meaning of Hashem’s mercy, that there is no despair in the world at all – and he doesn’t give in but instead pressures and stands and insists until he reveals to the world the key of teshuva: the Thirteen Attributes of Rachamim.
Life is Always an Opportunity
Moshe Rabbeinu and the tzaddikim throughout the generations reveal the depths of Hashem’s intention: To give light and hope even to those who are in the depths of darkness, “And I will show mercy when I choose to show mercy” – even when the person is not worthy of mercy, even when the person has made all the unforgivable mistakes – Hashem yitbarach has mercy on him and truly wants to help him. And the main thing is that Hashem is not having mercy on him to absolve him from punishment, but rather to help him change. When a person changes, there is no truer and deeper satisfaction than that; there is no greater success in life than that, and there is no greater correction of the world than that.
The tzaddikim tell us that the strict measure of justice, the enforcers and the judges, truth and justice – are all part of Hashem’s Attributes of Rachamim, Hashem, Who created the entire world to give us another opportunity to change, to teach us that He loves us in any situation and will always, always be by our side and just wants to have mercy on us in the deepest and most beautiful meaning of that word!