Photo Credit: Jodie Maoz

We all have our share of challenges in this world. From the day we arrive here small and sweet, till our last day which hopefully, will be lengthy. There is an expression that whoever Hashem loves he is constantly reproving that person on his wrongdoings. Whether it’s things we are conscious of or things we don’t remember, G-d Almighty who sees all remembers.

I feel that there are all kinds of ways that Hashem shows us his love. It can be by giving us good things that we prayed for. It can be something good completely by surprise. And it can also be a hug you suddenly receive while feeling down or sad. All those nice ways of seeing G-d’s love are certainly the way we would want to accumulate bags full of Hashem’s love. And yet there is still another way for Hashem to project his love upon us. And that is by trials and tribulations. Sort of a cleansing process that Hashem does with us. If we have a child who played in the mud and then it dried up on their skin, obviously it will hurt when we try to remove it. We try to soften the process by using warm water and gently rubbing the dried mud off the child’s body.


There are so many examples of something that looks harsh or not pleasant when in fact it is for the benefit of the individual suffering. It can be a painful operation or an injection that might seem uncomfortable at the time. However they are obviously for the good of the sick, weak or injured individual. And no one will interfere and say; “Oh my, that Doctor is being so cruel.” This is true with G-d’s treatment toward mankind. Unfortunately we don’t see our “injections, operations or bitter medicine” when Hashem sends them our way. And we certainly don’t feel very loved at those precise moments.

We are in the month of Tishrei, with Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippor behind us; the beautiful month of holidays and meaningful spiritual experiences. But we don’t seem to think about the hardships in our lives and how much G-d loves us that he chooses to send us so many challenges. In every situation there is our first reaction, there are our emotions involved, and of course our minds. Depending on one’s personality the immediate reaction might vary. However in all situations the end result should be to find the healthy thoughts in our minds that will bring us to a greater level of understanding G-d’s love toward us. If we see someone else in pain or going through some tough experience we almost immediately run to that person and give lots of advice and insight as to how that person should react, behave and think. But when it comes to our own experiences we are far from seeing the whole picture and we for sure are not interested in hearing it from an outsider, no matter who it might be. There is the mind, which we all have. There are the emotions, which we all have as well. Some of us are more in control of the mind and others of the emotions.

There is a concept called intellectual intelligence. And there is another concept called emotional intelligence. Both are important. And as I see it the later is of greater importance. A person can be very smart. Book smart. School smart. Information smart, and so on. However, understanding and knowing about your emotions or of others who surround you is another story. After all we are people and not objects. When our feelings or emotions are hurting no medical or physics book will help ease the pain. But an individual with emotional intelligence, can right away see the pain and the hurt the other person is feeling and can be there to listen, to give a kind word, a shoulder to cry on, a hug or just to empathize with the person who might be in so much pain. True, the pain is heaven sent as a “kiss or a hug” in disguise. However our job down here is to help that person who is feeling pain to feel a human hug or a kiss.

We all have a mind and a lot of smart things we can think about regarding any given situation. But how many of us have a lot of hugs and kisses to give out when someone is feeling bad. Even if that person might deserve what is coming to them as a consequence of their own actions, it still doesn’t make it any less hurtful when the dominos start to fall because of ones mistakes in life or bad choices. In this special month where we tend to be a bit more connected and spiritual, trying to reach our highest potential, don’t forget to stop and think about how someone else might feel who is hurting or suffering. Don’t be so quick to judge or give advice or some answer to whatever you might think is the problem. Don’t think! Feel! See who you can be there for, to feel the other’s pain and just be there for them in their pain. That togetherness in itself will give the other person so much strength that they will get to the solution themselves. Don’t try to solve people’s problems. Help people feel loved and appreciated for who and what they are, and that alone will help them find the answers. Hashem sends us challenges and he also sends each and every one of us the tools and abilities to withstand our own tests, or cleansing methods. Our job as a Jew is to be there for one another, emotionally. After a good cry and a good word everyone’s mind is that much clearer, and they could find the right approach and wise thinking to go on.

May we be there for one another. May we feel G-d’s love in a good and happy way, and may we also be able to rise above our challenges when they are not so good and easy. May Hashem show us all his love in the best way possible and may we always feel close to G-d so that he can see that we are worthy. Shana tova.


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Michal can be reached at [email protected]