There is an old Jewish saying that 'the whole world is a very narrow bridge, and our job is not to fall off'. The message is short, simple and to the point. Stay focused, and don't lose sight of what you're trying to accomplish in life.

There is another version of this saying, a version which I find far more accurate. 'The whole world is a large forest, and our job is not to get lost'. Similar idea. Both messages tell us to stay focused no matter what life throws at us. What's the difference between the two?

This week was one filled with sad events around the world. The Jewish reaction to difficulty has always been to get up, try to smile, and keep on going. There are many ways to keep on going when things get tough. One way is to try not to 'fall off the bridge'. Stick to your path, and not get disheartened or lost despite the negative surroundings. Ignore the negative and focus on the positive.

But there is another way to stay focused. Instead of looking at life as a narrow bridge that we try to stay on, surrounded by a sea of problems - try to look at the world as a large forest, that we have to navigate correctly. The difference is simple. Referring to life as a bridge of goodness crossing a sea of troubles, essentially means that most things in life are negative and should be avoided. One little slip and you could fall of the bridge into the abyss.

Judaism believes differently; that at its very core, the world is a good place. This is a direct outcome of the belief in one God who created the world. Since God is good, everything he made must be good as well. This week's Torah portion is the second in the book of Bamidbar, or numbers. What are the 'numbers'? The book starts off with a counting of every single member of the Jewish people, shortly after they left Egypt. As a matter of fact, the Torah seems to love counting. We find numerous counts of families, peoples, and tribes time and again. What's with the counting?

Counting highlights the value of the individual. Due to the Torah's fervent belief in the goodness of every creature, we find much attention paid to the individual and to detail. After all, since the core of every being is good, the more attention we pay to it, the closer we get to the goodness embedded within it.

We don't need a 'narrow bridge' to stay on. The entire world is a tremendous, endless source of positivity, and potential goodness. Of course there are many, many difficulties in life. Our job is not to get lost - to navigate correctly, explore, and use whatever we find for a good purpose.

When something negative happens, it is important to try our best not to give up, climb into a cave, or find a 'narrow bridge' to stay on. Navigating the world properly is challenging, and as Jews we're lucky to have a guide in the form of the Torah that can show us how to properly maximize life's potential. Every mitzvah, every Jewish holiday and teaching is meant to be a guide to how to live our lives, and see the good in everything

Rabbi Avrohom