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Devarim: Can The Negative Become A Catalyst For Good?

What is the most effective way to deal with the challenges in our lives? Is is possible to transform the negative forces we encounter into a catalyst for good? Human beings have an Inherent propensity towards hope. If you have any doubt take a look at children. More then anyone else, they reflect our natural state. The reason for this is because, embedded deep within us is a divine spark which animates every fiber of our being. Consequently we believe in the inherent goodness of mankind and the trajectory of history. As expressed in a popular Israeli quote “In the end it will be good”. The challenge is to be able to see through the corruptive forces that obscure the positive energy that lies beneath. In doing so we help to unleash the powerful light inherent within. The day in the Jewish calendar most associated with negative forces and tragedy is Tisha B'Av, the 9th day of the month of Av. On this day we mourn the destruction of both Temples and a long list of calamities throughout the ages. The prophets assure us however that “The fast of the fourth, fifth, seventh and tenth months, shall become occasions for joy and gladness, happy festivals for the House of Judah”. In other words, through their ability to see a reality that transcends time and space they are able to see the transformative power of even the greatest tragedy. This year is especially unique. For being that the 9th of Av falls on this Saturday, the fast of Tisha B'Av is observed on Sunday instead. Consequently we are obligated to be joyous and to celebrate on Shabbat with fish, meat and wine, which is in fact the 9th of Av. The Rebbe points out that under these circumstances the positive energy embedded in this day become separate and distinct from the negative forces. This in turn allows for the unleashing of its transformative powers which are now unhindered. Applied in our own lives this event represents our natural ability to carefully dissect the positive from the negative. To be able to recognize and appreciate the good inherent within all of us. We can do this by being more patient and less judgmental; with people we don’t know, and especially with the people we do know.

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