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Dovid Vigler

You’ve got to walk into the room like G-d sent you there!

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There are no mistakes, only opportunities.

What are your happiest memories?

Many people tell me that their fondest memories are when life happened just the way they planned. But what about those inevitable times when things don’t go according to plan? Hospital visits, car repairs, flight delays and cancellations, divorces, and bankruptcies never make it into the list of cherished moments because they were nothing short of infuriating. We couldn’t wait to get them out of our way so that we could get back to living our lives in peace.

But what if these seemingly arbitrary moments too could be meaningful?

Just days before Rosh Hashana in 1989, Rabbi Gershon Jacobson, founder, editor, and publisher of Der Algemeiner Journal in New York suffered a stroke. As he was settled into NYU hospital, his son, Rabbi Simon Jacobson was summoned to the Rebbe’s office at Chabad World Headquarters. The Rebbe handed him a recently published book of Jewish spirituality to share with his father and then he asked him to tell his father, “When you finish the mission for which you were sent to the hospital, you will be released!”

This prophetic message whipped the family into action. Mrs. Tzivia Jacobson, Gershon’s wife, immediately began working the hallways of NYU distributing coins to anyone she met so that they would place it into a charity box, fulfilling the Mitzvah of Tzedaka.

Rabbi Gershon Jacobson healed quickly and returned home in time for Yom Kippur a few days later. As he stood in line to receive the customary honey cake from the Rebbe, the Rebbe expressed surprise that he had not understood the purpose of his hospital visit on his own, “I didn’t think I’d have to remind you to be joyful. You should be a good influence on others. May you have a successful year!”

Infused with faith, the Rebbe taught us a phenomenal truth: G-d is always in control. Everything happens for a reason. Wherever you go is where you need to be right now. You are a soldier on assignment. Don’t blame your circumstances. Just proceed to get the job done.

The Rebbe made this point explicitly clear to Rabbi Yisroel Deren, Chabad Regional Director of Connecticut, when his young son Mendel was fighting for his life in the hospital. The Rebbe sent him a message telling him that “Certainly G-d didn’t make such things happen just so that you would be anguished because of it. You certainly have a mission that you need to do there. Go find it and do it.”

Far from a merely academic observation, this was a deeply personal conviction that the Rebbe held. In January of 1985, priceless manuscripts of the Chabad Lubavitch library were surreptitiously stolen by a relative of the Rebbe, claiming them as his personal inheritance from his grandfather, the Sixth Chabad Rebbe. Deeply pained by the unfortunate circumstance, the Rebbe had no choice but to fight a long and arduous battle in the US Federal Court System, which eventually ruled in favor of the Rebbe and the Chabad Lubavitch movement, ordering the thief to return the stolen books.

In a celebratory sermon on January 6, 1987, the day that the verdict was announced, the Rebbe discussed the spiritual reasons for this stressful ordeal.

When a Jew finds himself in an undesirable situation, it isn’t G-d forbid, by happenstance. And it isn’t intended G-d forbid simply to cause pain or grief. You have to think of it as a Divine mission.

First and foremost, a Jew is G-d’s emissary—wherever he finds himself—to fulfill the mission given to him by G-d.” Quoting the book of King David’s Psalms (37:23) he continued: “Man’s footsteps are determined by G-d”, wherever you are and whatever situation you find yourself in, you must bring G-dliness there with you.

There is no such thing as coincidence. Only “bashert” which means “meant to be” in Yiddish. In fact, the Hebrew word for “coincidence”—”mikre”—is made up of the same letters as “Rak Me’Hashem,” “exclusively from G-d”.

This is what the Rebbe was hinting at when he continued in that same sermon:

Every Jew has to know that wherever you find yourself and in whatever circumstance you find yourself, you have a mission to do there. And while it might be cloaked in a situation where G-d seems concealed, you can certainly accomplish it because, as G-d’s emissary, you have been empowered by G-d himself to fulfill it.

There are no mistakes, only opportunities. Some people tell me that when they had nothing left but G-d, they learned to realize that G-d is enough. But why wait until you hit rock bottom if you can be living life meaningfully, purposefully, and with dignity a priori?

Like oxygen, you can’t see G-d, but you can’t live without His presence either. An old Yiddish idiom declares that “Man plans and G-d laughs.” Knowing that He’s always there fills us with the confidence that we’ll never get more than we can handle—we might bend but we’ll never break!

We can live our lives more fully by being more present and more conscious. Infused with this awareness, you’ll walk into every room like G-d sent you there!

Life doesn’t need to be perfect in order to be wonderful!

_______________________
Rabbi Dovid Vigler
Chabad of Palm Beach Gardens

6100 PGA Blvd, Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33418
JewishGardens.com | 561.624.2223

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About the Author
Raised in South Africa and educated in some of the finest Yeshivas in Israel, England, New York, and Australia, Rabbi Dovid Vigler strives to share the beauty and depth of Judaism in a clear, conversational, and down-to-earth manner. Whether in private counseling, relatable sermons, weekly email broadcasts, or in his popular Torah classes on social media, he reaches out to every Jew with unconditional love, patience, and compassion. His inspirational talks and uplifting messages can be found on YouTube.com/JewishGardens and Facebook.com/JewishGardens
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