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NoachRabbi Yitzchak Dovid Grossman shlita, Founder and Dean of Migdal Ohr, has a very heavy burden to bear; his institutions serving so many thousands of boys and girls. An operation so large has no shortage of aggravating situations too. Yet, the Rabbi usually has a very positive attitude; which is sometimes surprising. One of the reasons, he says, is that the Liubavitcher Rebbe told him, "When times are hard, tracht gut, veht zein gut - think good, and things will be good."
Actually, we find this message in this week's parashah. The Torah says, "Noach, with his sons, his wife, and his sons' wives with him, went into the Ark because of the waters of the Flood" (Bereishis 7:7).
Rashi makes an extremely strange comment on this passage of the Torah. He says, "Noach, too, was of those people who are wanting in faith; he believed and he did not believe that the Flood would come, and he would not enter the Ark until the waters forced him to do so."
In other words, the Torah is stressing that Noach only went into the Ark "because of the waters of the Flood," to indicate that he did not enter until he actually saw the Flood beginning, since he was not fully convinced that it would indeed occur.
Obviously, it is very difficult to understand how Noach, who personally communicated with Hashem, and was told directly by Him that He intended to bring the flood and should, therefore, build the Ark, could still be "wanting in faith."
One of the many explanations of this Rashi is offered by "the Kamarna" (Rabbi Yitzchok Isaac of Kamarna) zt"l. He reveals to us that just as we know that a person's eye is no less powerful than his fist; and by giving someone an "evil eye" he can actually hurt the other fellow and his belongings, so too, one's thoughts can actually cause things to happen. One who thinks bad things can bring them upon himself or upon others.
Noach, he says, totally believed that Hashem would bring the Flood, of course. That's why he labored to build the Ark for one hundred twenty years. But he felt that it is Hashem's world, and He could do with it as he saw fit. However, he did not want to be a partner in destroying Mankind. Therefore, he did not allow himself to believe, meaning to think about, the impending calamity, since he did want his bad thoughts to cause, even in part, bad things to happen.
This concept may seem very novel to many of us; and, perhaps, even a bit difficult to accept. However, believe it or not, it is actually proclaimed in the Talmud. In the Book of Iyov, it is related that Iyov was a very rich and prosperous man who feared Hashem excessively. "And there were born to him seven sons and three daughters. His possessions were seven thousand sheep, and three thousand camels, and five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred female asses, and a very great household; so that this man was the greatest of all the men of the east. And his sons used to go and hold a feast in the house of each one on his day; and they used to send and call for their three sisters to eat and drink with them. And when the days of the feast would come to their end, Iyov would send and sanctify them, and he would rise early in the morning, and offer burnt offerings according to the number of them all; for Iyov said, 'It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed G-d in their hearts;' Thus did Iyov continually" (Iyov 1: 2-5).
The story continues to unfold as terrible tragedies strike Iyov's household, R.l., one after the other. "And there was a day when his sons and his daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother's house. And there came a messenger to Iyov, and said, 'The oxen were plowing, and the asses feeding beside them. And the Sabeans fell upon them, and took them away; they have slain the servants with the edge of the sword; and I alone have escaped to tell you.' While he was still speaking, another also came, and said, 'The fire of G-d has fallen from the sky, and has burned up the sheep, and the servants, and consumed them; and I alone have escaped to tell you.' While he was still speaking, another also came, and said, 'The Chaldeans made out three bands, and fell upon the camels, and have carried them away, and slain the servants with the edge of the sword; and I alone have escaped to tell you.' While he was still speaking, another also came, and said, 'Your sons and your daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother's house. And, behold, there came a great wind from the wilderness, and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young men, and they are dead; and I alone have escaped to tell you'" (Ibid. 13-19). Finally, Iyov himself is stricken, "With loathsome sores from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head" (Ibid. 2:7).
When Iyov's friends come to consol him, he expresses his sadness and bitterness to them. Among his many strong expressions, Iyov exclaims, "For the thing which I greatly feared has come upon me, and that which I was afraid of has come to me" (Ibid. 3:25).
The Gemara relates (Berachos 60a), Yehudah bar Nosson was walking behind Rav Hamnuna. He (Yehudah) sighed. He (Rav Hamnuna) said to him, "Do you want to bring suffering upon yourself, as it says, 'For the thing which I greatly feared has come upon me, and that which I was afraid of has come to me?'"
We see from this that the great Rabbi reprimanded his student to think positively; for evil thoughts can cause evil things to happen.
Though it is sometimes difficult, let us try to "tracht gut," and then "veht zein gut" - in this world and in the World-to-Come.
Shema Yisrael Torah Network