A while ago, I squirreled away the very last pack of butter in the back of the freezer for emergency use. Over the past couple of months, I've been looking around for more to beef up the stock (excuse the pun), but haven't seen it anywhere.
Israel has been experiencing a butter shortage for several months now. Yes, we can send a spacecraft to the moon, but can’t figure out the economics of the butter supply.
Yesterday I came home from work and found my 11 year-old tinkering in the kitchen. She greeted me with a cheery, "Mommy, I made you lunch!" A rare occasion.
But I wasn’t overjoyed. All I could see was my decimated “emergency butter” on the counter. Have you seen Ushpizin? Think the scene where the guests accidentally juiced the 1000 shekel [approximately $300] etrog into a salad thinking it’s a lemon .
It turned out that she had dug out the butter out of the freezer and used up a quarter on her trial-and-error kiddie macaroni-and-cheese recipe.
I mustered all the self-control I could find. The mental image of this kid sitting opposite a therapist in 2050 and quietly sobbing into a tissue about how her mom dissed her lunch over butter really helped. So did the image of that said therapist wrinkling her nose, trying to wrap her head around the psychotic mom who would do such a thing over butter (what? butter???)
Now I don't even eat carbs. I am on keto. But, I dutifully sat down and wolfed down the macaroni and cheese. It’s the only thing to do if you want anyone else to cook lunch in the house, ever.
We cleaned up, talked, the usual. After enough time passed, I found my sweetest smile, said thank you for lunch and asked her to pretty please not touch the rest of the butter, because it is probably the last brick in the country.
She looked back puzzled. "Oh, but the neighbors get butter at the coop store in our village. But they only sell two at a time."
I don’t usually go to that store and wasn’t aware they had butter. I’ve looked at every other store I’ve been to, but this hole-in-the-wall establishment was just not on the radar. Sure enough, today I walked over and voila! they had butter. Incidentally I got another $50 worth of groceries, but that was probably the owner’s business strategy all along.
After getting home, I was reminded of a lesson I saw in the writings of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov. He explains that abundance (specifically money) and anger originate in the same place in Heaven.
While Rabbi Nachman doesn’t provide an explanation, my work, coaching people in business and career development, has shown me that people are most capable of making money when they do the work they are passionate about. And when I want to help someone figure out their passion in life, the first question I ask is, “What gets you angry?” Anger is a sign that an important value of yours has been violated, so it’s a flip side of your passion. And remember, your passion is your conduit for abundance.
Back to Rabbi Nachman. Sometimes, when God wants to send us abundance, the evil inclination will try to get us angry to see if we are worthy. If we get angry, that very abundance that was meant to manifest itself as money will manifest itself as anger.
Moreover, sometimes you already have the money in your hands, but if you get really angry, it will go away. Anger has the power to draw the abundance energy out of the actual money.
This time, thankfully, God was only trying to send me butter, not hard cash, so the urge to get angry wasn't really that strong, but it was amazing to see this mechanism in real-time.
Ironically, sometimes, the very thing that annoys you and goes against your best-laid plans is actually the way for you to get closer to your goal. Had my daughter not used up the butter, we wouldn't have had the conversation and I wouldn't know that the thing I have been looking for for month was waiting for me literally within a five-minute walk from my house.
Next week, as I lead a group of women on a trip to Rabbi Nachman’s resting place in Uman, I will have a lot for which to thank God. Above all, for introducing me to the teaching of the Chassidic movement and for having Rabbi Nachman in my life.
Without this Torah, I wouldn’t have the equanimity not to sweat the little things. I wouldn’t have the ability to see through the veil of everyday things and commonplace circumstances to notice the messages and the lessons God keeps sending me. I wouldn’t know what to do to keep my kids from softly sobbing to the therapist in 2050.
And I certainly would not be enjoying butter on my keto toast tonight.
Leah Aharoni is a Torah teacher and the Founder/CEO of LoveYour.Biz Business Coaching and SHEvuk.com Business Consultancy. She lives with her husband and 7 kids in a small community overlooking the Biblical heartland of Israel.
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