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Sunday, 19 February 2017

Are you considering everything that could go wrong?

Daf Yomi Bava Basra 27

The Children of Israel were weary.  They had been travelling through the wilderness for over a year and all they wanted to do was begin life in their own country, hassle-free.  They reach the border of the Land of Canaan and send spies to check out the situation.

But, to Moshe’s shock, the spies return with a terrible report of the land. 
“The land is full of giants!”
“Their cities are impenetrable!”
“The land will eat us alive!”

The Israelites spend the entire night weeping.  And despite the begging and cajoling of Moshe, Joshua and Calev, they refuse to take one step further towards the land promised to their forefathers, Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yaakov.  As a result, they end up wandering in the desert for the next forty years, and ultimately never make it into the Land of Israel.

Mishnah: If one’s tree is leaning over into the public thoroughfare, he must cut off the branches that would impede the passing of a camel and its rider.  Rabbi Yehuda says: A camel carrying flax or bundles of wood.  Rabbi Shimon says: He must cut any branches extending over his property line, due to concern for the transfer of impurity.
Gemara: Who is the author of the Mishnah?  He maintains that regarding damages, we assess the situation as it stands now.
Rashi explains: The Mishnah teaches that the tree owner must cut off the branches so they do not impede a camel and its rider today, despite the fact that with the passage of time, they will grow back.

Some people spend their entire lives worried about all the things that could go wrong in the future. 
‘I can’t start this business, because I won’t get a loan from the bank.  Customers might not like the product.’
‘I can’t join that social group, because they might not like me.’
‘I can’t join that Daf Yomi class because I won’t be able to wrap my head around the Talmud.’

But with that attitude, you can never move forward.  Because so many things could actually take your plans off the rails.  Our Mishnah teaches that ‘regarding damages,’ you need to ‘assess the situation as it stands now.’  Worrying too much about what might happen in the future guarantees one outcome: stagnation, which equals zero accomplishment.

The Israelites were so worried about the great leap into the Holy Land that they simply couldn’t move forward.  They were stuck in their comfortable life, protected by the Clouds of Glory, fed with manna from Heaven, and satiated by Miriam’s well that accompanied them wherever they journeyed.  The thought of facing the inhabitants of Canaan and subsequently becoming responsible for their own food provision by way of agriculture and farming was too scary for them to consider.

But if you shouldn’t worry, does that mean you shouldn’t plan for a rainy day?  Of course you should.  You can’t go through life blindly assuming things will always be perfect.  You need to take reasonable precautions as you traverse the game of life.  But don’t let your worries get in the way of your vision! 

Trust in the Almighty that He will minimize the risk!  Success in life means having a plan and then taking calculated risks to see that plan come to fruition.  Will there be potholes along the way?  Of course.  But have faith in Hashem that He will guide you around – or better yet, over – the ditches! 

With the Almighty guiding your life, you will reach your Promised Land.  Instead of worrying about all the ‘giant’ obstacles and everything that could go wrong, you need to trust in the One Above that it will all work out for the best.  Knowing that He is leading you means expecting success in every aspect of life’s journey.

Expect that He will bring blessing into your life!  Expect that He will restore your health!  Expect that He will make your business successful!  Expect that He will bring the right person into your life!  Expect that He will guide your children along the right path! 

Negative thoughts only draw down negative energy which turn your worries into self-fulfilling prophecies.  The old Chasidic adage says, “Tracht gut, vet zayn gut” – when you expect the best, the best will happen.  May you take the leap of faith to success in every facet of your life!

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