Moving On


Photo Credit: Jewish Press

We all have our share of good times and bad ones. Life is full of happy experiences and unfortunately, of hard times as well.

That is the nature of the world, sometimes we’re up and sometimes we’re down. The problem isn’t what comes our way but how we approach it. After happy moments and events, it’s easy and natural to pick one’s self up and move on. It’s after the hard challenges that we feel so heavy and overwhelmed and not sure how to possibly go on.


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In the book “Mesilat Yesharim-Path of the Just,” by Rav Moshe Chaim Luzzatto, the opening paragraph explains, that most of the ideas and information that he wrote in this book, are not new and are known to most. And if one would read this book only once, it would not be of any use to them, since the strength and power of what is written, is in the repetition and relearning of the book repeatedly, in order to achieve the desired results.

This approach of Rabbi Luzzatto, who was a very important Rabbi, and a giant in the understanding of Torah, is a message to us all. The message says that if there is a topic or an issue that is of importance for our self-growth or our inner development as individuals and of course as Jews then that topic must be picked at and turned from all angles until we get it right. And then we must go and learn it again until we are ready to move on to the next challenge, molding our personality and our neshama in this world. In that way, we may come to the next world, clean and wholesome.

We face the hard work of moving on, almost daily. It’s not new to any of us. On one hand it makes sense to move on after something stirs us the wrong way. It also seems like moving on is an easy job, most of the time. And we are great at giving the advice of moving on to others. However, this moving on has many challenges, and that makes it one of the hardest tasks we face, whether we admit it or not. Moving on can be a physical act, a spiritual or emotional one. It can be an act of being silent, or of speaking out.

So many of us have started the second chapter in our lives, after a bad divorce or a death. Others might have suffered a health problem or the loss of a great job. What makes it so hard to move on and concentrate on the good, is our emotions.

I have mentioned in the past that we have emotional intelligence. Emotions and emotional intelligence are two different things. Emotions alone, can disturb our thoughts and positive action, and replace them with depression and self-pity. On the other hand, emotional intelligence is a high level of understanding and interpreting any situation, especially the hard ones, and knowing how to get up and start again

For some this quality is more developed than for others. However, it’s a muscle like any other and can be exercised and improved. In biblical terms this intelligence is called the smartness of the heart like Betzalel Ben Chur had while building the holy tabernacle in the dessert.

This morning I heard some terrible news. A young man in his forties, with a large family, passed away in his sleep on Friday night, without any advance warning. I didn’t know this family, but it touched my heart. Sometimes when we hear such sad news, we wonder what we would do if such a thing would G-d forbid, happen us. One can relate better to an event if one makes it personal.

I thought of the wife, and how she would go on. I thought of how sheltered and loved she will be during the week of the mourning period, and wondered how many will remember her grief and pain in a few weeks, when life moves on.

We get caught up so easily on small matters of who’s right and wrong in an argument. We hold grudges for months, sometimes even years. We concentrate so much of our energies on only seeing what’s in front of our eyes, that we seldom remember that there is a big picture and we are all just players in Hashems master plan.

An actor can play a scene in which he is furious and yelling at someone, and a scene later this actor must make peace with the person he was angry with a moment earlier. This is easy because it’s all just a show. Our life is not a show, but there is certainly a screen writer who is constantly writing our script and it would be a joke to try to rewrite the script differently. The belief that there is a director, saves us from going mad. Without this belief one couldn’t live life, since we face so many challenges, daily. Without the explanation that someone is running the show and it’s not us, we would surly go insane.

It’s our strong emotions that don’t let us move forward. We get stuck and won’t move on to the next page. Moving on, doesn’t have set rules and isn’t time bound. For one person moving on could be the next day,while for others it might be a month or a year. This is where the emotional intelligence sets in; letting each one know what the right timing is for them to move on.

When giving advice to others, everyone becomes a genius.

Our job is to listen to others, and give them a shoulder to cry on and a listening heart. When we let a person talk and get thing out, they will eventually reach the emotional intelligence within themselves that is telling them to move on, and then when they move on it will be the right time.

There are many “ second chapters” in so many people’s lives. The trick is to embrace change and not be stuck in the past. Our job is to enable good things to happen to us by listening to script’s handed down to us by the director. At times we are so busy being right, sad, upset, or angry that we don’t see the good that is waiting for us just on the very next page…

I remarried 7 years ago after a very trying divorce. In Chapter two, Hashem has given me so much goodness. G-d has also sent me many challenges and hardships as well. Despite all the difficulties and complexities of a second marriage my job was to accept the challenge and move on to the next scene. To live in the past and mourn over lost events or people, won’t get me to the next stage.

I bless everyone, no matter what scene they are on, to listen to the director and to receive life and goodness no matter what is sent our way.


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