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Prepare for…the best

The first US President, Mr. George Washington, once said: “If we are wise, let us prepare for the worst.”

The first – and only, so far – British Prime Minister, Benjamin Disraeli, once said: “I am prepared for the worst, but hope for the best.”

Wise words, but I wonder: what if we would also be prepared for… the best?

You see, we spend an awful lot of time preparing for the worst. Even when we don’t do anything about it, we still think about all the possible bad things that might be coming our way.

That, of course, is a significant source of stress.

If we can spend as much time or more on preparing for the best, our lives will be much happier. If we can infuse ourselves with thoughts that something great is about to happen, our day-to-day will be filled with enthusiasm.

So what is the best, and how do we prepare for it?

In Judaism, the ultimate best will happen with the coming of Moshiach. Our prophets describe a world free of pain and suffering and filled with infinite wisdom. Days when hatred and jealousy will be replaced with G-d’s love and harmony.

When Moshiach comes, the world will be good, and all people will be good.

If preparing for the worst makes us suspect each person’s motives, preparing for the best makes us “suspect” them of being really good inside.

If preparing for the worst is assuming that everything that can go wrong will go wrong, preparing for the best is assuming that everything in the world was created to support us in our divine mission, and it’s only a matter of time before we see it.

If preparing for the worst is to pay great attention to our worldly needs, preparing for the best is to live spiritually-attuned lives.

Yaakov (Jacob) epitomized this idea of preparing for the best.

Our Parasha begins with messages he sent to his brother Esau before their fateful meeting. Those messages included hints that despite living in a morally corrupted city, Yaakov prioritized his spiritual life over everything else. For him, being connected to G-d and doing his Mitzvot was his real life and joy.

According to Chassidic teachings, each of the two brothers represents an immense spiritual power. Connecting both together will bring harmony to the entire world.

And Yaakov – while being very pragmatic! – was living his life ready for that moment.

Ultimately, although the brother’s meeting was friendly, it turned out to be something other than the world-transforming event it could have been. Esau was disconnected from his spiritual source. That great meeting of two spiritual powers is still to happen.

But none of it stopped Yaakov from being prepared for the best. And when the best didn’t come, he continued on his journey, filled with faith that it was only a matter of time before it would arrive.

Can we live a life of preparing for the best?

I hope so.

Preparing for the best brings out the best of us. So when we dream of a world filled with good, we start doing what it takes to bring it closer to that dream!

May G-d give us the energy to prepare for the best, and may we see the best happen very soon.

Wishing you a Shabbat Shalom,

About the Author
Rabbi Mendy Kaminker is the Chabad Rabbi of Hackensack, and an editorial member of Chabad.org.
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