By Rabbi Yisroel Shemtov

In Dr. Viktor Frankl’s book, “Man’s Search for Meaning,” he discusses that the best way to overcome hardships, anxiety and restlessness, is to tap into one’s own soul and find meaning in his or her life. He believed, based on psychological analysis, that all mankind can transcend inner struggle by reaching deep inside oneself and finding a meaning within. Creating this meaning, will help a person change his view of life and bring about a desire and a drive for a better life.

Dr. Frankl based his theory on his experience in Auschwitz during the Holocaust. His book was an international bestseller, selling millions of copies worldwide and translated into over 50 languages.

Over 100 years before Viktor Frankl was born, the Tzemach Tzedek, the third Chabad Chasidic leader (1789-1866) said as follows, “tracht gut vet zein gut- think good and it will be good.” This statement was not seen by his followers as merely a platitude, but one that contains deep meaning.

In 1963, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, the 7th Chabad leader, was giving a lecture and focused on the above statement. He asked, how can we tell a person who is going through a challenging time, whether they are struggling with health, financially or any other trial, to simply think good and it will be good? Since when does thought change reality?

The Rebbe’s answer was: When a Jew decides to place his trust in G-d, believing that his or her current crisis will be resolved favorably, he has risen above his own nature, which in turn brings about G-d “rising above” nature, and delivering a good and positive outcome. G-d, creator of man, knows how hard it is for a person to rise above his anxiety and fear when facing a bleak and challenging time, and truly believe that the outcome will be positive. Therefore, when a person decides to “tracht gut,” G-d deems him worthy to be freed of his hardships.

This goes even deeper then Dr. Frankl’s theory. A person has the ability to change his reality by thinking good, and in turn G-d will enact the “vet zein gut,” and it will be good.

Rabbi Yisroel Shemtov grew up in Brooklyn, NY. After finishing Yeshiva, Rabbi Shemtov went on to becoming ordained at the Rabbinical College of America in Morristown, New Jersey. Rabbi Shemtov has served as a student Rabbi in communities across the world. Including in Bulgaria, Wyoming, South Dakota and California where he has led educational and holiday programs. He has taught children through Torah Tutors, an online Jewish studies platform.

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