By Rabbi Tuvia Teldon
As we approach the end of the counting of the Omer, it’s an opportunity to reflect on the meaning of counting time. Just think of all the things in our lives, and in the world, that have changed since the first night of counting over 40 days ago.
Time is synonymous with change, and life is always in a state of flux. Without time, change cannot take place. Without change, time has no meaning. There are always new challenges, opportunities, and people to deal with, and unique problems arise daily. Each change alters our lives in some small or large way.
I have done my share of counseling over the past 40 years, in many types of situations. The underlying cause of so many problems is the difficulty people have in adjusting to changes in their lives. Even though we sometimes try our best to protect ourselves and our families from change, it nevertheless appears in many different packages. In the world at large, change is the standard, not the exception.
The challenge is training ourselves to see change as a gift, not an enemy. Perhaps we can see it as Hashem’s way of nudging us into fulfilling our next purpose in life. Change forces us to learn to go with the flow of life and explore the options placed before us.
How should we best face the inevitable challenges that change brings to our life?
When they are small, we usually are able to adapt to the changes without a problem. We don’t invest our emotions in these minor adjustments to make them into more than what they really are. But when the challenges are large, these types of changes can create tension, fear of the unknown, stress, self-doubt, and guilt. We sometimes magnify them with negative emotions and even question Hashem.
It’s at these times that we should remember that the word “change” is hidden in the word “challenge.” We insert three letters right in the middle of the word, and a change turns into a cha-lle-nge. The Rebbe once told somebody, “You don’t have problems; you have challenges.”
Healthy emotions like grit, enthusiasm, and tenacity can be helpful in facing challenges, but when the negative emotions creep in and weaken or almost incapacitate us in the face of a challenge, then we need to minimize those emotions to face the challenge head-on for exactly what it is—another change in our journey of life.
It is not a problem; it is a new tool to help us fulfill our purpose in life.
This is the challenge of seeing the hand of Hashem, Who has brought this change to our doorstep, not to our neighbor or cousin or tailor. We have what it takes to fulfill the purpose in dealing with this change, whatever it might be.
As King Solomon wrote, “To every time there is a purpose.” Change does not happen without some purpose in Hashem’s Master Plan.
Rabbi Tuvia Teldon is the regional director of Chabad Lubavitch of Long Island. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information and inspiration, visit www.chabadli.org or Facebook.com/RabbiTeldon to view his weekly broadcasts.