Torah Tuesdays

Torah Tuesdays: It’s not a coincidence

Torah from the Main Synagogue of Barcelona
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I heard someone lamenting the fact that she was having a difficult time with a certain relationship.  She was feeling hurt, angry and frustrated.  It was taking a lot of her energy just to deal with the situation.

While I was empathizing with her, I was reminded of a certain five-point plan of action that one of my rebbetzins, Chana Levitan, gave me while I was at Neve.  Sometimes things can really seem unfair, and this unfairness can get under your skin and live there.  In order to prevent any bitterness from really taking root, like it can do all too easily, try to think about these five things:

  1. Not a coincidence.  Custom-made situation for my growth
  2. I can handle it!!!
  3. Check expectations
  4. Judge favorably
  5. What do I want to do about it?

Not a coincidence

That’s right.  This difficult/awkward/unpleasant situation is supposed to happen.  Sorry.  Instead of dwelling on why-me or I-wish-things-were-different, it could be an opportunity to grow personally.  Like, maybe it’s an opportunity to work on not holding a grudge, or on giving someone the benefit of the doubt.  I find that while this is sometimes a hard attitude to cultivate, it’s very freeing once it’s accepted.

I can handle it!!!

Now, because this is a custom-made situation, it means it’s within the parameters of your tolerance level.  I know, I know, it may not seem like it at times (or all the time), but try to do the positive thinking thing.  Sometimes if you just think a situation is manageable, it becomes so.  Be like the little engine and think you can (that sentence didn’t work as well as I’d hoped…)

Check expectations

This is a great one for marriage, and really, any relationship.  Are your expectations realistic?  There’s definitely a difference between what we want to happen, and what is a reasonable assumption of what’s going to happen.  If I really think about some situations that have frustrated me I can see where my wishful thinking has caused me more grief.  However, when I’ve accepted certain behaviors as likely, then it’s not as frustrating when they occur.

Judge favorably

Always a good one.  Sometimes people have a good reason for their behavior, as annoying/rude/offensive as it may be.  Try to think of times when you’ve done things which were misconstrued.  We all want people to give us the benefit of doubt, so we should extend the same courtesy to others.

What do I want to do about it?

Sometimes no action is the best action.  Yes, while is theory it may feel good to give someone a piece of your mind, first ask yourself if the outcome is going to be worth it.  Probably not.  Sometimes, though, a situation does require action.  So, take stock of what’s going on, maybe consult your Rav or Rebbetzin (an objective eye can be so nice), and decide what it is that you need to do.


24 thoughts on “Torah Tuesdays: It’s not a coincidence

  1. Awesome post – thanks so much for taking the time to type it all up! I really look forward to your Torah Tuesdays. :-)

    (I couldn’t find the place for comments at first – I see you moved it to the top. Glad I found it!)

  2. This is really helpful. Especially the “checking expectations”. It’s not about what we think SHOULD happen, but what just is. Accept it, and move on. Tough, but really great. Thanks!!

  3. I am not Jewish, but I also look forward to “Torah Tuesdays” and all your other posts, as there are wonderful little nuggets of wisdom contained within each. How lucky and blessed you are to have Chana Levitan as a mentor and spiritual advisor. Thanks for sharing her with me. : )

  4. Just wanted to let you know that last night I reread this because I was dealing with something and needed to read this piece of advice – it really helped!!
    And it all turned out fine in the end…b”h all that worrying for nothing!

  5. I LOVE this post. Especially the ‘check your expectations’ part. I am terrible at this – for expecting things of others, but most of all, myself. None of us are superhuman…. :)

  6. Although Judaism has much to say about this, I have found that the Zen idea of “letting go” to be helpful too. Thinking about what the situation has to teach me, rather than getting caught up in “why me?” is an approach that allows us to observe our lives, even as we live them. That perspective can be helpful because it teaches us to judge ourselves less and opens us to seeing the problem as a chance for learning and growth.

    Thanks too for commenting on my blog:


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