- The World is Very Good
- Rivka Olenick
- "The Almighty saw all that He had made and behold, it was very
good." Genesis 1:31
- God created the world and nothing was lacking. Not only was the
world good, it was "very good." V'henay tov m'od. Mankind
still has everything that is "very good" in order to be
satisfied. One who truly understands the goodness that exists in the
world is always satisfied, because God made it "easy" for
everyone to thrive in the world. The phenomena of the created world,
is incredible and infinitely good. The air, and the water are
plentiful. The sun, the wind, and the rain that are needed to make
crops grow so that we have food are also plentiful. There are great
resources in the earth such as wood, coal, and petroleum that allow
industry to grow, which people utilize. The mountains, the oceans, the
moon and stars were created for our enjoyment, a gift! The ability
that our body can move, and our eyes can see. Shouldn't we view all
this as "very good?" What about the ability to hear, speak,
and think? Isn't this also "very good?" Do we appreciate
what we have only when we see someone else who doesn't have - the
ability to walk or hear or see? Don't we take all of this for granted?
We do. If we didn't take all this for granted, we would appreciate the
continued kindness of the Creator and the awesomeness of the created
world. It was all given to us for our enjoyment and benefit and we
should continue to see this as "very good." If we lack the
appreciation for what is "very good," then we can never be
grateful to God. Why shouldn't we be grateful to the One Who created
us, Who is perfect and Who's ways are perfect.
- Man looks for new ways to claim that what ever he makes he is the
creator of, and that he must leave his "mark." We spend
endless energy, an entire lifetime figuring out how we can be the
"creator" of something exclusively ours. And we think that
the world is "not good" until we have made our specific
contribution, then the world is "good." Isn't this true? We
are willing to put up with an awesome amount of frustration until we
fulfill our "dream." "If I could just attain this, I
would be satisfied with my life..." However, it's God that is
always supplying us with our needs and Who allows us to be satisfied.
Don't we have enough of what we really need? Do we "thank
God" only when something goes our way? When something works out
well for us do we believe it was our own doing? We do. Most of the
time we don't even think about God with regard to real gratitude. When
things don't work out for us we blame God and say "why me?"
We do this because we don't have enough appreciation for what God has
already given us, the "very good" that we're able to obtain
all the time. We're trapped, by the constant need to look for the next
"good." We fool ourselves instead of working on ourselves.
- The Jewish people have a very specific purpose in the world, as the
teachers of Torah, the example that the rest of the world needs to
observe. The way we should be observed by non-Jews is through the
commandments, and through Torah study and by encouraging and helping
others to pursue knowledge and truth. As it says, "ki hi
chachmaschem u'vinaschem b'aynay haamim", "For it (Torah
wisdom) is your wisdom and your understanding in the eyes of the
peoples." We are so fortunate that God has allowed the Mesora to
continue, and that too is "very good." Many great Torah
scholars emerged because they were focused on the "very
good." They used all their intellectual resources to be involved
in thought and understood clearly that a person's true happiness is
really and only in a person's mind.
- We should do everything possible to break free from the false ideas
of what we think is "very good" and try to have a greater
appreciation for what already exists and is "very good." By
living a simpler life that is more in line with our true purpose. Be
grateful for what you already have, not what you are missing. If you
do this you'll see that you have so much - more than you realize.
Write a list of all the things you have overlooked appreciating and
you will realize how selfish you have been in this area. You will
immediately see that everything you already have is "very
good" and now is the time to pursue the "very good"
that is called knowledge!"
- "He considered each in its connection with the whole, v'henay
tov m'od. Good, there too where we should not have expected it, where
looked at separately by one who does not see the whole, it would
appear imperfect. Thus everything created everything in existence,
looked at in connection with everything else, is "very
From Horeb, Samson Raphael Hirsch.
- "Remember what I said in this chapter and consider it, and you
will understand all that the Prophets and our Sages remarked about the
perfect goodness of all the direct works of God." From the
Rambam, Guide for the Perplexed page 267, Chapter 10.