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Friday, 19 August 2016

Open Sesame

Daf Yomi Bava Kama 80

Mar bar Rav Ashi was once standing in the Mechuza market when he heard someone prophesy, “The new Rosh Yeshiva (head of the academy) in Mechasya signs his name: Tavyumi.”
“Hey, that’s me!” he said to himself and off he went to Mechasya. 
Meanwhile, they were about to install Rav Acha of Difti as the Rosh Yeshiva.  When they heard Rav Ashi was in town, they sent a pair of rabbis to confirm their decision.  But he wouldn’t let them leave and so the yeshiva sent another pair.  Once again, he kept them from returning. 
The yeshiva board kept sending pairs of rabbis until they were ten in total.  At that point, Mar began expounding the law.  Sure enough, they were so impressed that they decided to install him as the Rosh Yeshiva, instead of Rav Acha.

Rav Acha bar Papa taught: A door of success that closes does not quickly reopen.
The Gemara asks: What is the meaning of this dictum?
Rashi explains the query: How hard must one pray for the door to reopen?
Rav Ashi answers: When one experiences challenges to success, it’s not easy to reopen closed doors and reignite the good fortune.
Rav Acha of Difti answers: One never again receives good fortune.
The Gemara responds: That’s not true!  Rav Acha of Difti was talking merely about his personal experience.

Often in life the door to a successful opportunity will close in our faces.  We wish, we hope, we pray that it will reopen and we’ll get another chance.  But, as the Gemara teaches, a closed door doesn’t reopen very easily.  Rav Acha spent his whole life praying that the door to the Rosh Yeshiva position would reopen, but alas, to no avail; causing him to conclude that once the door to success has slammed shut, one’s good fortune in life is over.

But the Almighty has no shortage of doors to open for you.  When He closes one door, it’s because He knows that it’s not the best path for your life.  Sure, you could wish, and hope, and pray for that door to reopen.  But it won’t reopen very easily, and Hashem is effectively telling you that He has better doors to open in your life.  Instead of focusing all your attention on this one opportunity that He knows is not your destiny, start expanding your horizon to see which new doors He is holding open for you! 

How many times do we look back and realize that the doors that closed were the best thing that could have happened to our lives?  Partners that were not for us.  Jobs that were going nowhere.  Investment opportunities that ended up mediocre.  At the time, those closed door seemed like the worst punishment.  You were so disappointed.  You felt like all your efforts were for naught.  And now, looking back and thinking about the alternate doors that opened, you can’t believe you were ever so fixated on that single opportunity!

Unfortunately, Rav Acha of Difti spent the rest of his life trying to pry open a door that the Almighty knew wasn’t the right destination for his personal mission.  Meanwhile, who knows how many other doors to success he failed to notice had opened all around him? 

When one door closes, trust in Hashem to open many more doors.  May the wrong doors in your life close as quickly as possible and may you recognize the right doors to enter!  

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