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Written by Rabbi Daniel Leeman

By Rabbi Daniel Leeman
During the three weeks we mourn over our exile and the destruction of the Temples. Ultimately though, we know that we will be redeemed and that the Temple will be rebuilt – and we even have a Divine promise to that effect! Furthermore, ‘all is for the good’ is not just a Jewish catchphrase, but it is one of the very foundations of our belief. If so, how can we mourn over the Temples if we are supposed to genuinely believe that ‘it is also for the good’ and it will be rebuilt in any case?
Many years ago there was a law that was to be passed in the Israeli parliament permitting abortion – a serious Torah prohibition. The proposed reform caused a stir around the Jewish world. In the end thankfully the law was not passed, but here is the story behind the scenes…
The individual in the ‘Cherut’ party who was responsible for passing the law was finally contacted a few days before the law was to be passed and he reluctantly agreed to meet with R’ Refoel Levine. R’ Aryeh Levine (the ‘Tzaddik of Jerusalem’), R’ Refoel’s father, had always maintained a good relationship with everyone – even the anti-religious members of the Cherut party. R’ Refoel agreed to attend the meeting, but only two days later. This was cutting things a little fine, but nevertheless all of the applied pressure and reasoning would not change his mind: the meeting would only be in two days time.
At the meeting, R’ Refoel requested to tell a short story. He spoke directly to the leader of the Cherut party and told him about a lady who once came to his father R’ Aryeh Levine for advice after certain complications with the pregnancy were discovered and the doctors instructed her to have an abortion. The Rabbi advised her not to listen to the doctors, and indeed she had a healthy son. “That son is you!” concluded R’ Refuel.
But the leader of Cherut didn’t believe R’ Refoel and even accused him of fabricating the entire story. R’ Refoel offered that he check with his mother who was in an old age home. And so he phoned his mother and she verified the entire story.
Needless to say the proposed law was dropped.
R’ Stern of Ezras Torah, Jerusalem, asked R’ Levine why, with a story like that, he didn’t agree to the meeting immediately – why wait two days?
“A story alone cannot change anything,” he replied, “it was my two days straight of prayer that helped the story change the decree!”
Everything that we go through in life is ultimately for a reason.
Sometimes our experiences are even more important than our goals.
The journeys of the Children of Israel throughout the wilderness are introduced as follows: “What happened according to the journeys according to G-d and these are the journeys according to what happened” [1]. It is pointed out that “What happened according to the journeys” is reversed to “the journeys according to what happened” in order to teach us that everything was according to G-d: both the journey and also what happened [2]. In other words sometimes the Children of Israel had to be in a certain place in order that something should happen, whilst other times something happened that caused them to be in a certain place.
So too in our lives – everything is from G-d: both the destination and the journey – how we reach the destination. In fact, sometimes the true ‘destination’, the true goal, is the ‘journey’ itself.
Of course during the three weeks we believe that G-d will ultimately redeem us, but we equally believe He has also instructed us exclusively how we can reach that destination: ‘Only one who mourns over Jerusalem will ultimately witness its happiness’ [3].
Our current goal is our journey.
Have a goalden Shabbos,
Additional sources:
Story: Story told by R’ Eliezer Tork (who heard from his relative R’ Rafoel Levine’s son)
[1] Bamidbar 33:2
[2] Baal Haturim
[3] Taanis 30b

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