Where God Wants Us To Be
Pekudei (Exodus 38:21-40:38 )
Just a few days prior to Yom Tov, an individual of financial means encountered a Rebbetzin whom he knew and held in high esteem. Knowing full well the costs associated with preparing a proper Yom Tov and the financial pressures facing this woman's household, the person respectfully inquired, "Are you okay in terms of Yom Tov?"
Without hesitation, the woman answered, "Yes. We're exactly where God wants us to be." Her faith and trust in God was a palpable, living force in her life. It was the prism through which she processed her existence.
This despite the fact that she had lost an infant not too long ago.
This despite the fact that during the course of that care she had to relinquish a teaching position that she held so dearly.
Surely, if complaining was anywhere on this woman's radar screen, she had plenty of "raw material" to fill her mind, heart and days with bitterness, sadness and seemingly well-grounded kvetching.
Moreover, her confident, matter-of-fact, unhesitating response spoke volumes. She did not merely utter the "party line." She responded with the clarity, confidence, conviction and optimism of a person who is cognizant of God's benevolent presence in their life - always and at all times.
* * *
"When the cloud was raised up from upon the Mishkan (tabernacle), the Children of Israel would journey on all their journeys. If the cloud did not rise up, they would not journey, until the day it rose up. For the cloud of Hashem would be on the Mishkan by day, and fire would be on it at night, before the eyes of all the House of Israel in all their journeys." Rashi: "At any stage of the journey which they would travel, the cloud would rest at the place in which they were to encamp."
Perhaps this is the reason why the Torah bothers to recount each of the myriad stops along the Jewish People's 40-year sojourn in the Wilderness. Some of the places were lush and pleasant like Elim where they were encamped alongside 12 springs. Others were arid and unpleasant like Marah where there was no water to quench their thirst. Some produced watershed events like the sending of the spies and others were marked by the passing of beloved leaders such as Aharon and Miriam. Still others remain mere geographic locations regarding which the Torah does not reveal any further details.
Every single location merited eternal mention in our Eternal Torah for one reason and one reason only - because they were exactly where God wanted His People to be. And so too, as the Jewish People's timeless voyage continues - the Nation and each and every one of us - are "exactly where God wants us to be."
We misplace car keys and eyeglasses. Airlines misplace baggage. Parents even misplace children amidst the sea of humanity at carnivals or crowded grocery stores.
But God does not "misplace" souls. To the contrary, each and every member of His beloved family is cherished and accounted for. More than that, at every moment, we are exactly where God wants us to be - and somehow, someway, wherever that place may be - it is surely the best possible place for us. (Regardless if we harbor thoughts to the contrary). When we allow our outlooks and perspectives to be filtered through this prism of purposefulness and Divine design, our happiness will be less vulnerable to the "slings and arrows" of life. Our frustrations may seem less insurmountable. Our sense of confidence will be steeled against that pesky second-guessing which so often takes us out of the moment. For knowing that we're exactly where God wants us to be is indeed the key to rejoicing in the here and now.
1. Shemos 40:36-38.
2. Bamidbar Chapter 33.