66The Yiddish word “b’shert” means something is or was meant to be. Sometimes at weddings I will look at the couple and say, “It is as though this was b’shert,. Even though these two grew up in separate places, it is as though they the forces of the universe conspired to bring them together….”

Sometimes the word b’shert is used when you didn’t want to take that job but it worked out well. You say it was
b’shert, it was meant to be. B’shert is easy to see and easy to feel in our heart when it is good stuff.

It can be more challenging in other situations. For example, the other day I got pulled over by a police officer for making a left turn through a yellow light. This is b’shert? That Officer Baily pulls me over? God, I simply don’t see it. I don’t get how this is meant to be. And, how about traumas far worse than moving violations?

It got me thinking, and then it hit me. Could it possibly be that things that go according to our plan are b’shert. But, things that don’t go our way aren’t meant to be?

Jewish tradition teaches that when someone dies the blessing said translates to “Praise be God who does everything in truth.”

When I found out that my best friend from college died, how could I say this is b’shert? Within the course of twenty-four hours her life was extinguished, leaving behind her husband and her two kids. B’shert? I don’t think so.

God, where were you? At the moment of Shauna’s death I wasn’t able to follow the sentiment of that prayer – praising God for doing everything in truth!

But just like with that job that maybe you didn’t want to take but took, with time it starts to seems like it was meant to be. Maybe life is just like that, though I don’t quite understand how. Perhaps I’ll look back at the traffic ticket one day and see that it was meant to be? Premature death and illness? My heart doesn’t feel it.

Here is a story that might shed some light on this dichotomy between things going the way we like and things not going as we like:

A man, because he couldn’t figure out how to say no to the request, reluctantly loaned a set of silver serving spoons to his neighbor. They were returned along with a shiny silver teaspoon.

“I lent you only 2 serving spoons. Why are you giving me this teaspoon as well?”

“Apparently, one of the spoons was pregnant and, in the course of the night, it gave birth. I figure that this rightfully belongs to you.”

A few weeks later, the request to borrow a bronze platter was made. With less hesitance than previously, the loan was made. The platter was returned, along with a saucer and with a similar explanation of how it came to be.

When the request to borrow candlesticks came, the loan was instantaneous.

A week later, the borrower came empty-handed explaining that the candlesticks had died in the night.

What could the man say?

So it is with my life. Why do I only accept the things that I like as being the way they are supposed to be?

This week’s spiritual advice:
Contemplate our egocentricity with regard to the unfolding of reality.

With love,

rabbi_brian_name_written

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