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Stop Playing G-d

Someone sent us this great article by Rabbi Shafier of The Shmuz which holds the key to a healthy perspective on our struggle; "Why did Hashem give me these tests?", "What does He want from me?", "Where is He when I need Him?"

GYE Corp. Wednesday, 11 January 2012
Part 1/2 (to see other parts of the article, click on the pages at the bottom)

Eighty percent of our emunah problems, and ninety percent of our questions on HASHEM stem from one mistake-we play G-d. Playing G-d means I know exactly what I need. I need to marry that woman. I need that job. I need my child to get into that school. I've talked to HASHEM about it. I've explained it Him. I've even brokered deals with Him: "If You grant me this, I'll ...". Yet for some reason He just won't listen.

"HASHEM, what's the deal? Are you angry with me? Are You punishing me? Why do You insist in making my life so difficult? This is what I need. It's so clear. It's so obvious. Why won't you just grant me it?"

And I go on asking questions. "It's not fair. It doesn't make sense! HASHEM, what do you want from me?"

The problem here is quite simple - I am playing G-d. Playing G-d means, I know exactly what I need, and now I have figure out how to get HASHEM to understand that. And, the simple reality that maybe, just maybe, this isn't good for me, never seems to cross my mind.

Historical perspective

The strange part of this is that I have lived through situations that didn't exactly turn out as I thought they would. I absolutely had to have that job; it was just what I needed. I could earn a living, support my family, and still have time to learn. It was the perfect fit. In the end, I didn't get that job, and I had major questions. "HASHEM, why?! Why aren't you there for me?" Then five years later, I find out that the entire industry is being shipped over to India. Oh...

Another time, my son absolutely, positively had to get into that class; it was just right for him. Great rebbe, good atmosphere - it was perfect for him. And the Menahel, wouldn't let him in. "HASHEM why? Where are you?" Then, two months later, I find out that there's a child in that class, who would have been the worst possible influence on my son. IT would have been devastating. Hmm...

I tried to marry that woman. She was perfect. Great match, good family, she would make a fantastic wife and mother for my children. And it didn't go. "HASHEM why have you abandoned me? This is what I need!" She married someone else, and two years later, I find out that term "mentally instable" is a mild description of her situation. Mmmmm....

Part of human nature
And, we do this all the time. We act as if we truly know what it is that is best for us. We run after it. We hotly pursue it. "No obstacle will get in my way. Nothing will prevent this from coming about." And when lo and behold my efforts are thwarted-the questions begin. "But, why? It's not fair. I am a good person. HASHEM, why won't You just help me?"

The problem here is quite simple; we are playing G-d. We act as if we know exactly what we need; we try to convince HASHEM to give it to us. And when it doesn't go-the questions start.

And while it's easy to see the folly of this when other people do it, when it happens in my world, in my life then the real challenge begins. To break out of this, we need to change two perspectives. The first one is easy to grasp. The second one is far more difficult.

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