On Tuesday, December 25, Rabbi Fischel Schachter spoke at Bais Torah U’Tefillah in Great Neck. The event was co-sponsored by Chazaq. He shared a lot of inspiring stories with powerful Torah messages of emunah.
He began by sharing that according to the Baal HaTanya, Hashem created the world and He looked at everything that would take place. We are part of that puzzle, from Creation to the time of Mashiach. Just as the smartest people of past generations don’t know about the technology of today, in the same way, we have no clue what is coming. “We know as much as William the Conqueror knew about the World Wide Web. We don’t have the information Hashem has.” To us it looks like the world is falling apart, but really everything is in its place. He taught that to us it looks like what is happening makes no sense in our lives or in the world. Rabbi Schachter taught: “Hashem says that it doesn’t make sense to you, but that everything in the world is taking place with a cheshbon.” Our job is to believe that Hashem has the perfect filing system, though we may not understand it. At times when the world seems to be caving in, we need to realize that there is something deeper than what we understand and what we know about.
He then discussed how we are always in a certain place for a reason. The Baal Shem Tov taught that “Wherever a person is, he’s meant to be there.” He shared how, one time, he was stuck behind three garbage trucks, and that enabled him to do a mitzvah and give a ride to someone who really needed a ride. He noted how the Chasam Sofer held a siyum on learning that he did during those waiting times when he was stuck waiting somewhere. It added up to finishing the whole Shas. Rabbi Schachter suggested that when we are stuck waiting, we should use the time for learning or reciting t’hilim and this will dissipate any impatience or anger. Rabbi Schachter imparted that, “At the end of the day, we wind up where we are supposed to wind up.”
He then shared a wise saying: “With money, you can buy the most comfortable bed but not a night’s sleep. With money, you can buy a beautiful house but not a home. With money, you can buy the most exotic vacation, but you can’t buy peace of mind. You can buy the most expensive watch, but you can’t buy time. You can buy a seat in front at the eastern wall, but you can’t buy respect.
He taught we should “work on the courage to get ourselves to smile right where we are.” Hashem decides what we have, and what we don’t have. All Hashem wants is for us to say, “I need you.”
He shared a story that happened to him when he went through security on his way to Israel. Someone had asked him to bring $5,000 and he had to put it into the zipper compartment of his suitcase. When the suitcase rolled out from the security conveyor belt, the money was missing from the zipper compartment. Rabbi Schachter first wanted to call the police, but he realized that he would miss the plane. He made a conscious decision to not let this loss ruin his trip. He would not think about it at all during the trip. He borrowed money to give to the person in Israel and he totally enjoyed his trip and didn’t focus on the loss of the money. Later, to his amazement, he discovered the suitcase had a long deep pocket and the money had slipped to the bottom of the pocket. The money was still there! So, he realized that he could have ruined his whole vacation being aggravated about the lost money, and then he would have discovered the money was there all along. If he had let himself be upset, then it would have ruined his vacation and that time would be lost. He was grateful that he hadn’t let that happen. We can learn from this to remember that, whatever happens, Hashem is running the show and we should make the best of what happens, knowing that all He does is for the best. This shiur can be viewed on Torahanytime.com.