By Rabbi Chesky Tenenbaum
This morning, I woke up, and I found myself in the same, seemingly hopeless situation that the world has become. Once again, the struggle came to a forefront as I navigated the reality of juggling my responsibilities as a chaplain while social distancing, as well as supporting my own family with homeschooling, procuring groceries, and the fear of the unknown. But a single thought gives me the resilience and confidence to continue on this globally challenging journey with faith.
As a chaplain for the Maryland VA Health Care System, I aim to be available for our veterans in whatever capacity I am able. In the beginning of April, instead of my weekly pre-Shabbat service, I visited several individual veterans to help them celebrate Shabbat. While visiting with one World War II veteran, we spoke about the current situation we are facing. Since Passover was coming soon, he reminisced about his Passover celebration of 1945, which he spent stationed in Paris with 40 other U.S. soldiers. Though they had limited supplies, they were thankful for whatever they had, and it became one of his most memorable Passover celebrations. As I was leaving, he said the famous Yiddish saying, “Tracht gut vet zain gut.” Think good and it will be good.
Now, this mantra is a beacon of encouragement that I pass along to any and all whom I speak with during these trying times. As we wake up every morning, we need to put these words into our minds: Think good. By having this positive frame of mind, we will be able to serve G-d and be reassured. When we realize that every situation we find ourselves in is His will, we are able to embrace it with joy.
May we all be able to embrace this mantra as well as encourage all of those around us with positivity. Think good. G-d is watching over us. G-d has a plan. G-d has only our good in mind, and we believe that He will deliver good tidings to us all.
May those who are suffering, physically or mentally, be comforted by the Omnipresent One. May He bring healing to mankind, so that we can see revealed good.
I would like to end with a prayer for world peace, as written in the Book of Job: He who makes peace on high, may He bring peace upon us and upon all of humanity, and let us say, Amen.
Rabbi Chesky Tenenbaum is the director of the Jewish Uniformed Service Association of Maryland and chaplain for Veterans Affairs (VA) Maryland Health Care System.