By: Aharon Margalit
The Incredible, Touching Story of Rav Aharon Margalit
Many children struggle with various difficulties and challenges and as a result feel very, very sad and unfortunate. Loyal readers who have followed the Ahrele series know my life story. You know that I, too, had to cope with extremely difficult challenges from a very young age. I, too, felt very unfortunate. I had a lot of anger bottled up inside me; I couldn't understand what I had done to deserve so many difficulties. I was paralyzed - and that came along with a lot of physical and emotional pain and suffering; I had to be far away from my home and family for years - and that made me feel terribly lonely; I was so jealous of other children because they had relatives who visited and brought them treats and games, while my only visitor was my mother, who only came once a week for a short visit. I stuttered for years, which made it hard for me socially. Other people were not always very understanding, and I often felt that everyone looked down on me. Who better than me can understand what you're going through? It is from this place of understanding that I want to share with you, dear boys and girls, what helped me stop feeling pathetic and sorry for myself and begin building my personality - slowly and with lots of siyatta d'Shemaya.
Already at a young age I understood that I would not be able to change reality. Hashem gives each person a certain set of circumstances to work with, based on the qualities of his neshamah and his unique mission in this world. We have no control over that. None of us can decide who his father or mother will be, who his siblings will be, or what blood type he will have. Hashem decides that. But how to deal with the reality we are given is completely in our hands. The Torah commands us to "choose life," and the Gemara teaches us: "Ein ha-davar talui ela bi - Only I can help myself." Once I understood this and accepted my situation, I stopped complaining about how unfair my life was and focused instead on just one thought: What can I do in my present circumstances to help myself? That was the beginning of my growth. As long as a person is complaining, grumbling, jealous of others, and thinking about everything he doesn't have - he cannot grow. Such thoughts weaken him and prevent him from making any progress. When a person accepts the reality of his life, on the other hand, and focuses on what he can do within his reality to help himself, he is in a position to really grow. Everything actually depends on a person's perspective, because our perspective creates our thoughts and decisions, and those, in turn, create the reality of our lives. The stories in this book will, b'ezras Hashem, illustrate this lesson.