Hakol B'Seder

Tuesday, 22 August, 2023 - 2:14 pm

The terms 'b'seder' or 'hakol b'seder' have absolutely nothing to do with the Passover Seder, because if it did it wouldn't make sense why it is such a common phrase. Yet, it is probably the most used mantra repeated by Israelis millions of times a day. What does it mean? 

The colloquial translation of b'seder is 'ok', and hakol b'seder is  'everything is ok'. 

The Israeli people live by this mantra,  despite living surrounded by people who would rather die than live side by side in peace. In spite of the homicide bombings, stabbings, car rammings and every other threat, the Israelis manage to give a thumbs up and say 'hakol b'seder' to literally anyone they meet and in any situation.

The reason this is on my mind is because the other day I was venting my spleen to someone over something that infuriated me. He looked at me and in his Israeli accent, he said "Rabbi, hakol b'seder." That was it. No other words of advice or comfort.  With that declaration, he shut down the conversation. 

Mind you, he was not trying to be rude. On the contrary,  he was trying to help me, give me perspective, put it behind me and move on. I looked at him and just nodded. It may not seem like a great story to share, but those two words 'hakol b'seder' spoke volumes and meant so much to me, and hopefully will to you as well. 

Too often we get stuck in a vortex that we cannot seem to get ourselves out of.  We live in the past - either in fear or misery, or we live in the future - with uncertainty and anxiety. This is not a good way to live. The best way to live your gift of life is in the present - and simply tell ourselves, hakol b'seder- all is ok. 

The key to this phrase is the word "is." If we live life with the assumption that all "will" be ok,  then this completely disses the present. The present is terrible,  but the future, now we are talking. If we are always looking to the future, then when will we live our present life?  Let's not even talk about all the "used to be ok" comments, as that is obviously a non starter.  "All is ok" is a declaration of optimism and positivity that all IS okay right now.

We need to take a page from the Israeli playbook. No matter what nonsense is going on in one's life. No matter how aggravating our day has been. No matter the long line at the airport or at Starbucks, we must stand strong and shake it off with these two beautiful words, hakol b'seder.  Leave the hand wringing for the serious stuff you will need to deal with and start living a meaningful and happy existence.

I think about the particular vent the other day that made him say those magical words to me, and I am now cognizant that whatever happened that got me so worked up was not really worth the emotional response I had. I allowed some idiot to take space in my brain, rent free. Completely does not make sense to me now.

Before you get worked up and shake a fist and say that this guy is crazy - as not everything is b'seder, there are things that are dire - you are correct. I would never be so insensitive as to say 'hakol b'seder' to someone who is ill or going through some serious challenge, because it is not b'seder. It is lo b'seder. 

I am simply referring to issues and situations built up in our minds to the point of craziness, when in reality it is not the biggest deal. 

B'seder. I am done.

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