Tuesday, October 05, 2010

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Got Troubles?

Do we know what it is to suffer?  To suffer and yet maintain our emunah, our Torah, our connection to Hashem?  Do we know what it is to suffer but the spark of our neshama (soul) so exposed that there is no question of whether we’ll be a strong committed mitzvah observing Jew in the end?  That the possibility of us not being a mitzvah observing Jew is no different from us not being a human?  Just as we could go through no experience and come out a horse we can go through no experience and come out a non-Jew?

The truth is we’ve faced that trial.  For the past 1,750 years have suffered personally and intimately.  When the Beis HaMikdash was destroyed the majority of the Jews of Jerusalem were slaughtered.  The majority of the population of Israel was exiled (many dying on the way or on arrival to a foreign land).  Jews were kept poor and out of many professions until 50 years ago!

Families were destroyed through pogroms, the special target for taxes until starvation.  Their children were kidnapped by priests eager to “save a soul”, their children were drafted into the army from childhood for a lifetime, their daughters (if too pretty) were kidnapped by the local authorities or rich for their personal use.

Today we have troubles and we ask, we cry, we scream “G-d, how can you do this to me??? Please have mercy on me and my family!”  We wonder how we can survive as a person, as a family, as a Jew, as troubles come upon us… (G-d forbid)

…we lose our home because of a job loss and an adjustable mortgage.
…we lose our job.
…we have health troubles.
…or a car accident with bodily damage and challenging recovery.

or (G-d forbid) the loss of a spouse, or a child, or a parent (at a younger age).  The loss of our wealth.

And these troubles multiply their impact.  Fights start with our spouse.  The children start having trouble in school and get involved in negative things.

Real honest painful troubles with all their extended impact.

Compared to the past we’re BLESSED with such troubles!  When EVERY family losing MULTIPLE children was the norm, when widow and widower –hood was frequent, when communities were (occasionally but regularly) destroyed just for being Jewish… since the Holocaust our troubles no longer compare.

…I knew a chossid and rav who had cancer in late middle age.  He struggled with the disease for 3 years slowly getting worse.  People would come and give him blessings for a speedy and complete recovery and he would tell them QUIET!  “Hashem has seen fit to cleanse me in this world for the ultimate tikkun (repair) of my neshama (soul) for the next world.  I accept it with joy and THANKS (as he grimaced in pain)!  It IS a blessing!” 

…I knew a rav, mekubal (kabbalist) and chossid who had Parkinson’s.  Simple movements became incredibly challenging and very painful as the disease progressed (called “mobility freezing” as Parkinson's advances).  When wished blessings for a recovery he would say “This is the final tikkun (repairs) for my neshama, my last gilgul (last round in this world for all repairs and accomplishments).  Do you wish to take that away from me?”

In the midst of our personal pain and troubles it’s hard to realize that they themselves are blessings.  Perhaps by comparing our lives to those of generations past we can see that these are challenges that help us grow, cleanse our souls, push us harder and farther.  And we can say “thanks Hashem, this too is for the best.”

2 comments:

Crazy Smade said...

Well, acceptance is the final stage of grief and loss. (As if one has a choice in the matter after HaShem puts His foot down?)

I guess the real trick is to get the Evil Inclination to joyful ACCEPT one's lot in life. Is that even possible? One can say, "I accept and rejoice in HaShem's will regarding my lot in life!" - but, given the cravings of our Evil Impulse, is it possible to truly mean it?

Shiloh said...

Great article. Shabbat Shalom

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