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A boy here in Chicago a few days ago, a boy in Silver Spring yesterday. Crossing the street. It has to happen thousands and thousands of times a day. But these two boys didn't make it. They are in serious condition, and we all hope for a complete recovery. Regardless of the outcome, however, how will those drivers face themselves? Can they really be blamed? Busy streets, big cars... it is a recipe for disaster and we should really be thankful whenever we *do* make it across in one piece. But events of this type do and should remind us that ultimately, we are not in charge. There are thousands of factors that are not in our control. HaShem runs the world.

What about, though, when someone intends to damage us? Our attitude, says the Chovos Levavos, should really be the same. The Chovos Levavos says in Sha'ar haBitachon (The Gate of Trust) that we need to know that nothing, no person and no thing, can hurt us or help us even the smallest amount unless with the permission of HaShem. Sounds nice, but it certainly flies in the face of our every day experience. People hurt us all the time, and sometimes even with real intention to damage us, or our reputation, or even just to make our loved ones think less of us. People also help us, they encourage us, they can help monetarily; they can do us favors of all sorts So how in the world are we to accept and then live up to this Chovos Halavos?

The Chovos Levavos explains as follows: if HaShem decides that we deserve a punch in the nose, we are going to get a punch in the nose. If HaShem decides we are going to overcome a difficult trial, we are going to overcome that trial. And it will happen precisely at the moment and in the circumstances that are also decreed. And it will be appropriate for all of this who have to deal with it -- family, friends, doctors, neighbors, etc. The only thing that is left is to choose a shaliach (messenger) to carry out HaShem's decree. The messenger is chosen, says the Chovos Levavos, based on his desires. If someone wants to tell lashon hara, wants to damage someone in particular, or just wants to be reckless... then HaShem assigns him the job. If someone is loving and caring in general, or wants to help someone out with a job or other support, then he will be chosen for that job.

It comes out, then, that the one who helps or damages us is nothing but a tool in HaShem's hand. We really should not get angry, therefore, if someone hurts us. Of course, if someone helps us, we should thank them, just like one thanks a waiter who is just doing his job. But when someone hurts us? If anything we *should* also thank him, since the damage is a kapara for us. Aye... he wanted to hurt us? Ok... that is his problem. If we are up to it, we should really do anything we can to help them; after all, they were chosen for a very unpleasant task, and our hearts should go out to them.

The real bottom line: we should all strive to be to be kind of people that HaShem will choose for the pleasant jobs.


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