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Don't Say: Would Have, Should Have, Could HaveHaRav Moshe Wolfson, shlita, Mashgiach of Yeshiva Torah Vodaath (in a recorded lecture) related the following story: Once after Kiddush Levana, the Oleka Rebbe, a talmid of the Ba'al Shem Tov, turned around to his talmidim, and said, "I want to tell you, my dear talmidim, what I just saw in Shomayim. A neshama must come down to this world and do all the 613 mitzvos, to do what it is supposed to do, and fulfill its mission. If not, it has to come down again. That is the worst thing that can happen to a neshama. A neshama would rather go to gehinom than come down to Olam Hazeh again - because it is a big risk. Most people fail! (Rav Wolfson noted that coming down into this world again is like running across Ocean Parkway against a red light.) But the neshamos keep coming down again, and again.
"So the neshamos decided to make a demonstration. They all came to the malach Duma, who is in charge of the neshamos in Shomayim, and they said, 'It's no use. What does the Creator want from us? He keeps sending us down. We spend our seventy, eighty, or ninety years in Olam Hazeh, and we go to the grave, and we go up to the Beis Din Shel Maaleh, then they send us down again. Up again, down again. Mission not accomplished. It's no use, there's no end to it; there's no purpose in it! What do they want from us?!'
"The malach Duma said to them. 'I cannot answer you. I will send you to my superior.' They went to the malach who was higher, and they demonstrated. He also told them, I will send you up above, to a still higher malach. Higher and higher they went, until they reached the malach who is in charge of all the malachim. He told them, 'I will send you to the Ribono Shel Olam Himself. I do not know what to answer you.'
"So they came to the Ribono Shel Olam and they said, 'Father in Heaven. What is the purpose of it all? We keep coming down again. We are not getting anywhere.'
"So the Creator told them, 'I will tell you what. You go down again in this world, and if you're going to do aveiros… we'll arrange something (as long as it wasn't done rebelliously). However, one thing I want you to do: have emuna, believe. Believe that everything that happens is from the Ribono Shel Olam. However, there is one condition: the emuna should be of a higher degree. You should never use the word "would." Meaning, never say, "If it would have, it should have, it could have…"'"
Rav Wolfson went on to explain. For example, Mr. Levi comes home from Shacharis, and he has a business appointment. This appointment means that he can make a lot of money. He comes home and breakfast isn't ready. His wife hurries and makes breakfast, which he gobbles up and hurries to the train, which he misses. With this, he missed his appointment, and because of that, the business deal fell through. So he comes home and tells his wife, "If you would have made me breakfast on time, I would have made a lot of money. But because of breakfast I missed the appointment." That means he has an imperfect emuna. Why? Because he should know that being successful in this business venture depends solely upon hashgacha pratis from Shomayim.
Every tiny incident that happens in this world depends upon hashgacha pratis from Shomayim. There is an individual supervision to such a degree that it is mind-boggling. No computer that has ever been invented that can understand the hashgacha of the Ribono Shel Olam. The Ba'al Shem Tov said that if a blade of straw falls from the wagon, it is min hashomayim (Heavenly determined) exactly where it should fall, and exactly which end of the straw should point this way, and which end should point that way. Everything is hashgacha pratis. There is nothing that isn't exactly the way the Ribono Shel Olam dictated that it should be. When I go into the grocery store and buy a loaf of bread, it was determined in Shomayim which kernels of wheat should go into which loaf of bread, and which person should eat it. Everything is hashgacha pratis from Shomayim.
So if someone says, "I should have done this, I could have done this, if only I would have done this…" that already is a blemish in emuna. It is not perfect emuna.
If you are supposed to be successful from a certain business endeavor, the Ribono Shel Olam will control everything so that you should be successful. And if not, you're going to miss the train. One should be in the habit of saying, "Everything the Merciful One does is for the good" (Brachos 60b), and, "gam zu letova - this too is for the good" (Taanis 21a). There is nobody in the world who cares for me and loves me, not my parents, not my grandparents, not my rebbe, as much as my Father in Heaven. He provided for me since I was born. He put together a mother and a father for me. And I had to be born specifically through this mother and father, in specifically a certain month, in a certain week, in a certain day, in a certain hour, in a certain moment so that it all fits into my mazal in Shomayim. The Ribono Shel Olam has a special mission, a special job, a special calling for each individual. Everything that happens in a person's life, everything that happens in a person's day, everything that happens in a person's moment is all with hashgacha pratis from Shomayim. So someone who really believes won't say, "would have…, should have…, could have…" He's happy with what the Ribono Shel Olam has sent him, and he thanks Him for taking care of him. In a certain way, he turns to the Ribono Shel Olam and says, "I thank you, Ribono Shel Olam for being my babysitter." This is what Dovid Hamelech said (Tehillim 131:2): "As a suckling child near his mother; my soul within me is as a suckling child." The Creator takes care of us like a mother takes care of her baby, and more so. Everything is with hashgacha pratis.
"So," said the Oleka Rebbe, "the Ribono Shel Olam told those neshamos, go back down to the world and if you make some mistakes, I will overlook it (as long as they were not done rebelliously). But have emuna. Know that everything is with a very detailed heavenly supervision, and the words "would have" should not be in your dictionary."
Wishing everyone a Gut Shabbos!
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