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Q: Hi, I would like to ask a question about some ideas of breslav
that i may have misunderstood but nevertheless, i would like to ask about.
First, i agree with a certain level ivdu es hashem bsimcha, but does this
mean to be happy all the time? A large elements of tanach, halacha,and
gemara involve the greats of judaism mourning or sad, or not having
everything perfect. How do you understand these ideas if you beleive should
always be happy no matter what tragedy has befallen him.
Second, i agree with some level of gam zu letova, but i do not beleive that
every single thing comes from god. If it did, we would never have to do
anything, leave our houses etc. I know the idea of hishtadlus, but when does
that end and hashems part start. Judaism is a religion of action not of
allowing god to do things for us. a person getting hit by a bus can be
understood as hashem, or of not enough hishtadlus. How can a person ever
differentiate?

A: Your questions are too complicated to fully explore/discuss in an e-mail, but I hope my response will at least help you to re-view and re-consider.

Rebbe Nachman zal was quite aware of the pain and suffering recorded in Tanakh, etc., as well as the suffering of the Jews he observed first hand. This is exactly why he was so emphatic and encouraging of the pursuit of being b’simcha. Life cannot be properly lived without that underlying attitude. Simcha is not only a state of happiness, but an attitude of optimism and hope in the face of challenge, pain or distress.

Re: your second point:

Just because “gam zu l’tovah”, doesn’t mean man is freed from obligation to participate in life by thinking, speaking, doing and deciding. Gam zu l’tovah (everything is for the best) refers mostly to RESULTS of what we do, and to what Hashem does when we haven’t done. But we still must live and act.

Where hishtadlus ends and bitachon/trust begins varies from person to person, and situation to situation.

Hope this helped.

kol tuv.

Ozer Bergman

Author: Yossi Katz

Yossi Katz currently lives in Lakewood, NJ where he runs the BRI American Office. He studied in Beth Medrash Gevoha, as well as the former Breslov Kollel of Lakewood headed by Rabbi Shlomo Goldman.

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