About what is written in our parasha: “And Sarah’s life will be one hundred and twenty years, and seven years will be two years of Sarah’s life.” (Bereishit, 23:1) Rashi interprets: “They are all equal to good.”
The question arises, how can it be said about Sarah’s life that they were “equal to good”? According to what is narrated in the Torah, Sarah’s life was not easy, for Sarah experienced exile and hunger, and for many years she had no children (and about this painful situation, Rachel said to her mother: “Give me sons, and if there are none, my mother will die”), and she entered her home, and twice she was taken from her husband .
But it seems that, although Sarah’s life was not easy, Sarah chose to see the reality of her life from a positive point of view.
And as it is told, that one Jew complained to the Maggid from Mezrich about his livelihood, and instead of answering him, the Rabbi the Maggid sent them to Rabbi Zosha who was poor and destitute. When that Jew told Rabbi Zosha that Rabbi Maggid had sent him to him to learn how to deal with a life of poverty and deprivation, Rabbi Zosha answered him: “How can I answer your question, when I lack nothing in my life?”. (Torat Menachem, part 33, p. 264).
It seems that even Sara Imano did not feel sorrow or sadness in all the difficult situations she went through during her life, because that is how she chose to see her life.
This is also what the Mishnah teaches us: “Who is the rich man? One who is happy with what he has”. The mishna teaches us that true wealth does not depend on money, but on the way we choose to see our lives.
True “wealth” comes from being “happy in our lot”.
To teach us that it is not the external circumstances of life that determine what our lives look like, but the way in which we choose to see these circumstances of life.
And this is also the teaching from the puzzling “midrash Pleia”. This “Midrash Pleia” says: “The righteous do not eat anything but the gazelle, and they do not eat anything but the cooked, and they say that it is a joke.” These puzzling things require an explanation.
And here is the explanation: “The righteous do not eat except from the spoil” – “spoiling” – acronym: this is also for the better. “And they do not eat anything but what is cooked” – “cooked” – acronym: content with what they have. “And they say Kadarlaomer” – “Kadarlaomer” – initials: All that David Rahmana – Latev Abid (everything God does, He does for good).
A similar approach was developed by the Jewish psychiatrist Viktor Frankl from the city of Vienna, Austria, whose approach the Rebbe strongly supported, in contrast to the approach of another Jewish psychiatrist from the city of Vienna, Sigmund Freud, whose approach the Rebbe strongly opposed. .
Viktor Frankl’s life was extremely difficult. Shortly after his wedding, he was deported with the rest of his family to the extermination camps. He spent several years in the Auschwitz extermination camp and the Dachau extermination camp and other extermination camps.
After years of indescribable suffering, he was freed and set free, but his wife and the rest of his family were destroyed.
He wrote down his terrible experiences in the Auschwitz extermination camp in the wonderful book “The Man Seeks Meaning” which was translated into dozens of languages and printed in dozens of editions.
In his book, Frankel argued that we cannot always change the reality of our lives, but we can always choose how to see the reality of our lives.
Frankl applied this concept to a hell on earth called “Auschwitz”.
Frankel taught that the last of his choices can never be taken away from a person: the freedom to choose how to see his life. In every situation we are in, we can choose how to see our life.
What can we learn from all this about our married life?
From all this we can learn that, although we cannot always improve all the details of our married life, we have the choice of how to see our married life.
It is up to us to decide whether to concentrate on the “glass half empty” of our married life, or to concentrate on the “glass half full” of our married life.
This choice is ours!
Zeev Crombie is a social worker and couples therapist (MSW), behavioral addictions specialist (MA), and doctoral student in couple therapy at the University of Haifa. For comments and questions 0547-822686