“And all of these blessings will come upon you and they will reach you when you listen to Hashem your God.” Deuteronomy 28:2
The Torah teaches us that if one adheres to the teachings of the Torah, one will receive blessings. After a careful reading of the verse, one notices a seeming repetition; the blessings “come upon” a person and they “will reach” the person. The implication is that not only will one be blessed, but one can do everything necessary to be on the path of failure and still be successful. The blessings will ultimately “reach” him.
The story is told of a simple man that heard the fish market just received a large shipment of high-quality fish and they were being sold at a very good price. Although he was lazy and not interested in this fish, his wife pressured him to get a fish. He went to the market to buy a fish. In the market, there was a very large fish of lesser quality that the merchant could not sell. He had offered it to many customers for half price, but everyone only wanted the higher-quality fish. When this simple man walked into the market, the market owner thought that he now found his customer. After much sweet talking and good salesmanship, the store owner convinced the simple man to buy the big fish of lesser quality for 75 percent off instead of the higher-quality fish for which he came. The man left the market feeling good about this deal, until he imagined what his wife would say when he brought home the wrong fish. So he decided to go to the butcher and have him skin it and cut it up, that way his wife would never know what fish it really was. When the butcher cut it open, he found a beautiful jewel inside. The simple man took the jewel to the jeweler and received a small fortune for his find!
The lesson is very simple: When goodness is supposed to find you, it will. The lesson is one of faith: If a person acts in accordance with the Torah laws and follows the ways of Hashem, keeps the commandments, treats others with respect, acts kindly to others and is humble, then the blessings will reach that person.
It was only one year ago that many people suffered loss during the hurricane season. During Irma, so many people evacuated Miami and came to Atlanta for Shabbos. As I walked through the social hall of Congregation Beth Jacob, I saw numerous families benefiting from the outpouring of kindness of our community.
There is something else I noticed: There was no social status. It did not make a difference if you were poor or wealthy, well-known or unknown, fancy or simple; everyone took the same food from the same serving plate to eat. No one had a house, a car or a job to define them. No social status mattered. Everyone was just themselves.
It made me think and reflect on what is important and what in life really matters. Whatever exterior façade one might have, it is not at all any definition of the person himself. A good person is not defined by amassed wealth, but by the willingness to change and improve. In a similar vein, what might seem like fun and a blessing might not truly be one. Part of receiving a blessing is to understand what in life is truly important and therefore understand what is truly a blessing.
As we enter into the New Year, let us all resolve to follow the directives of Hashem through the Torah and be recipients of G-d’s blessings, and also allow ourselves the time to reflect on what is truly a blessing and then rejoice when we receive it!