Post-Its | Rabbi’s Corner

Rabbi’s Corner: Radical Acceptance

As a Rabbi, I am often asked, “How do we know something was meant to happen?”

And I always answer softly, “If… it happened.”

There is a concept in Chassidic thought that teaches us about Divine Providence- “Hashgacha Pratis”. This belief underscores that G-d has a master plan for our lives on a macrocosmic and on a microcosmic level. It shapes our understanding that G-d is directing this world and our lives constantly.

The situations in our lives are more than a string of happenstance. They are orchestrated, deeply and detailed, by G-d above.

When something out of our hands occurs, there may be times when it’s easier to understand that G-d is divinely planning our lives. When our car tire blows, we can say, Oh well, it was meant to be. It’s inconvenient, it’s frustrating, but it’s out of our control.

How about when we are stuck in traffic, or miss an important appointment? When we come down with an awful virus, our pet dies, or our dryer goes?

Can we say with confidence that it’s all from G-d?

This is Hashgacha Pratis, or what I like to think of it as, Radical Acceptance. Radically and openly accepting that what it is we are dealing with is from Hashem, G-d. Not alongside G-d’s plans. Not despite G-d’s plans. Always a part of Hashem’s plans. We don’t necessarily know why. As a matter of fact, we often don’t know why. And that is where the strength in our faith comes in. When we don’t understand, and we wonder why, we lean into our deep faith in G-d and His divine plan for us.

We can comfort ourselves in knowing that our lives aren’t random or unpredictable. There is a plan for us, and Hashem guides our steps.

Nothing goes under G-d’s radar. Nothing happens by mistake.

And our job is to go along for the ride, strengthening our muscle in faith when we accept that we are in Hashem’s hands. We can take comfort in the thought that Hashem is uniquely guiding our circumstances. He meant for us to miss the doctor appointment for some reason or another. We needed to run out of eggs mid-recipe or lose the sentimental necklace. Even without knowing the purpose, we can begin to feel protected with Hashem’s constant guidance.