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HomeSpirituality and FaithEmuna Means Thank YouGod, Fix it Already! – Part 2
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God, Fix it Already! – Part 2    

God, Fix it Already! – Part 2

A reader asks – it sounds nice to pray and pray and expect nothing in return, but how do you really let go of the expectations when you prayed so much?!


I received this email today, with an excellent question on my article G-d Fix it Already! 


I am really enjoying your insightful articles on Breslev website. I just had a question about your last article. I have been doing hitbodedut for a few years (granted, on many different issues), focusing on gratitude by writing in my gratitude book, but I seem to be running into the same situation where somewhere deep down, I am waiting for G-d to already fix it. Basically, I am looking at it as "You, Hashem, made such and such conditions my reality of life in a blink of an eye, so You can also take away/change them just as quickly...why don't You?!!"  


Intellectually, I understand that this my impatience talking and frustration that comes from pain, but I have a hard time connecting that feeling with trying to express gratitude: it feels like a cognitive dissonance: impatience vs. gratitude! 


How did you get to let go of complaining about the problem not being fixed yet despite putting so much time and effort into praying about it? 


Thank you! 


Yana, Philadelphia, USA 




Listen, it ain't easy! This IS the inner work of thanking Hashem. This feeling exactly is the difference between saying thank you with lip service, and saying thank you with truth - and seeing miracles.  


Rabbi Arush deals with this issue in his new book Niflaot HaTodah– “The Wonders of Thank You” - the problem is, that it's still being translated. And even at that, the chapter is 100 pages!!! SO - I am going to try to give it to you "on one foot" so to speak: 


Step 1 – Pray for Gratitude 


First of all, as I mentioned in the article, you have to ask Hashem to help you say thank you properly. We can want all we want, but success comes only from G-d - that goes for everything physical, and everything spiritual as well. Tell Hashem how much you want to say thank you properly - really feel how much you want it - and ask for His help! 


Step 2 – Learn the Truth 


After that, you need to learn more about why it is that Hashem doesn't owe you anything, even if you prayed about it a lot. Again, in place of tens of pages of the book - we do have 4 fantastic articles from Rabbi Arush that he wrote on this same topic: Know Your Place,  Hearing Moshiach's FootstepsStanding on Solid GroundandMake Your Claim. You can also start with Know Your Placeand then click "Next" at the very bottom of the page to go through all 4 in order. 


We also have another story article written about this concept as well:  The “I” Syndrome.  


The point of it all is the recognition that nothing, and I mean nothing, that you can ever do, will ever make G-d "owe" you something. Even if you prayed without stopping like Moshe Rabbeinu, Hashem does not answer prayers because He "has to." Rather, Hashem created the world in such a way that everything exists for a reason. He wants us to pray, because He wants us to "convince Him" so to speak, and also because this is the basis of our personal relationship with Him, which is our purpose of creation! So obviously, generally, He is going to answer our prayers! The truth is that the entire world runs on our prayers - and according to our prayers, is what we get!  


But that isn't because G-d has to, or that in praying, we now did something on our own. That is "kochi v'otzem yadi" - by the strength of my hand! See - I prayed Hashem! I did something! NU?! Where is the result?! The Torah commands us every single day to remember not to feel this way - and instead, know that everything is done by Hashem! It's one of the "Ten Remembrances" that is included in the Siddur after morning prayers, to read every single day! 


Instead of feeling that Hashem now "owes us" because we prayed, we are supposed to feel even more indebted to Hashem. Thank you Hashem, for enabling me to pray! Thank you that I focused myself! Thank you that I got my feelings into words! Thank you for how much closer to You I feel now! Thank you for listening! Thank you that You love me and want to answer me! Thank you for every breath you give me, that I am alive to pray! Thank you that I have a voice, and I can talk!  We must never lose sight of the fact that it takes merit receive merit - therefore, if you prayed, then G-d gave you the merit to pray! If He didn't want you to pray - you wouldn't have managed!  


And even the reward you get for praying - G-d doesn't owe that to you either! In His mercy, He created a system where people are rewarded for their good deeds, and punished for their bad deeds. He wants it to run that way, because it's fair and just. But He does not HAVE to give anyone anything! 


I was actually thinking about this yesterday as I was watching my kids: 


My toddler is potty training (everyone who has been through this, knows what fun it is!). She has been potty training for more than six months, actually. She has the ability, but she doesn't really want to use the toilet - it's just so much more convenient for her with diapers. Until no one changes them since she is supposed to be trained, and she suddenly starts yelling, "Imma, me soaking wet!" 


One of the amazing parenting tricks that I learned from Rabbi Arush (which really does deserve its own article) is to reward the good, and ignore the bad. You can tell the kid until you are blue in the face that she'll get treats if she goes in the potty, but nothing works like watching her big sister (who is 6 and trained thank goodness!) get treats for going on the potty and being dry! "I want treats too!" she cries! "So, go on the potty and be dry like your sister, and you'll also get!" 


So, here is the scene in my kitchen yesterday - the big sister is moaning and whining on the floor that she wants a jelly candy, and not the 2 chocolate buttons that I am prepared to give her. She went on the potty and was dry! Nu, Imma - where's my treat?! 


And I realized - THIS IS US EXACTLY! Do I owe even the toddler treats for going on the potty? Do I HAVE to give them to her? Since I promised her, then of course I need to be true to my word, but she does not deserve the treats. She "earned" them because of the system I created, not because of the inherent value of her going on the potty. And the big sister for sure doesn't really deserve anything! She is getting treats as a trick for the toddler! And here she is complaining that she wants more than I gave her, after all, she "deserves it"... 


Now, in her misery over only getting 2 buttons, she screams, "I only want the jelly candy!" So guess what she got? Nothing. Rabbi Arush is extremely strong that someone who complains, loses even what they already have - and that we must teach this rule to our children, even at the youngest ages. Whining, complaining, and tantrums get absolutely no result - ever. If it doesn't work, they'll stop doing it (eventually that is - personally, I am still waiting - but at least they are learning the lesson!). Let's be honest - by then I was so frustrated, I held myself back from throwing the candy buttons in her face! What an ingrate! 


So, this is your answer! Your prayers and efforts are very good, and very important, but they don't "earn" you the right to get them answered! (That is assuming that it's even for your best to get what you think you want - but that's a different aspect of emuna). No offense, it's no different than getting treats for potty training! You get whatever you get because G-d wants to give it to you and G-d created a system to reward you - not because you did something independently that now forces a specific result. 


Even more - if you even feel in your heart a complaint, a claim against Hashem, an "I only got 2 buttons - why didn't I get the big candy I wanted?!" - then you make Hashem angry! What an ingrate! Who gave you the mouth to pray? Who gave you life, and who says that you deserve life? Who gave you your heart beat, and who says that it has to continue to work? Who makes your lungs work, and your entire circulatory system, so that oxygen reaches every single cell in your body to keep you alive? And I, G-d, owe you something?! 


Niflaot HaTodah quotes the Midrash in a few places (pg. 65) on this exact concept. G-d says: "Who proceeded Me – I will pay him! Who performed a circumcision, that I did not give him a son? Who built a sukkah, that I did not give him space? Who brought a sacrifice before Me, that I did not give him the animal?" 


Continued in Part 3 – the last two steps of the process, which enables us to let go of our arrogance and the feeling that we deserve something, and truly say thank you for everything we have, good and seemingly bad. 



Rachel Avrahami grew up in Los Angeles, CA, USA in a far off valley where she was one of only a handful of Jews in a public high school of thousands. She found Hashem in the urban jungle of university. Rachel was privileged to read one of the first copies of The Garden of Emuna in English, and the rest, as they say, is history. She made Aliyah and immediately began working at Breslev Israel.  

Rachel is now the Editor of Breslev Israel's English website. She welcomes questions, comments, articles, and personal stories to her email: rachel.avrahami@breslev.co.il. 


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