Gate Six: Surrendering to G-d
In the end we'll find that there's a world of spiritual and everyday
advantages to surrendering to G-d's will and wishes.
First off, there's the sure peace of mind and simple joy that comes with
being satisfied with your lot in life, and with realizing that we each
exactly what G-d Almighty wants us to. For once you know that, you can eat
comes your way, wear whatever you find, and be content with everything.
who never learn that lesson, though, are often gruff and huffy, and put-
You can far more easily bear with the sorts of reverses and burdens that
befall each one of us when you're humble enough to accept G-d's decisions
life, while you can't help but be fearful and unable to bear them when you
assume that it's *you* who is to answer for everything.
It's far easier to love and to be loved when you learn to acquiesce to
humbly and are willing to take others to heart rather than assert self
loudly. And like the sage cited by Ibn Pakudah who learned this secret
asked how he came to be so beloved, you too would tend to say, "You know,
met anyone I didn't assume to be better than me in some way. If he was a
greater sage, for example, then I'd assume he was also more G-d-fearing
than I. If
he was a lesser sage, then I'd assume he'll be judged more leniently than
since I transgress knowingly while he only transgresses inadvertently. If
were older than I, then I'd assume he has more merit than I since he came
the world before me and was thus able accrue more of them. If he were
than I, then I'd assume he'd sinned less than I had by now. If he were
to me in age and in wisdom, then I'd assume he was probably more pleasing
G-d than I, for while I know full well all the sins I've committed, I
know if he'd committed any at all. If he were wealthier than I, then I'd
assume he used his wealth to serve G-d, give charity, and help the poor
than I can. And if he were poorer than I, then I'd assume he was more
You also manage to accrue more wisdom when you acquiesce to others, since
you're willing to be drawn to sages and heed their advice; you serve G-d
diligently and zealously, taking less credit for what you do and meaning
please Him; and lastly, you merit great favor from on High.
Ibn Pakudah seems to end this gate with a sigh, though. For he counsels us
follow through on all we'd learned here and to not give up on it "just
because you see others neglecting it." Indeed, the truth be known, self-
the banner-call of modernity and its great ideal, and humility is seen as
rut one falls into while sliding downward. But people of abiding faith who
strive for spiritual excellence and yearn for closeness to G-d know
they're nourished by the benefits cited above day after day.
And he ends with the prayer that "G-d in His mercy and lovingkindness
us all the way to serve Him".
Text Copyright © 2004 by Rabbi Yaakov Feldman and Torah.org