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It was Thursday evening and I was feeling typically behind in my Shabbos preparations. I was wrapped in a warm sweater holding a steaming cup of tea when I reached for the phone to call my friend. The same friend I had called earlier in the day and every day of the week.

Without saying hello, I started in with my monologue. “It’s all the Ws,” I said.


“Oh,” she answered, waiting to hear where this would lead.

“Yes, the Ws,” I repeated. “I am so tired. I am not coping. And it’s all from the Ws. Weather, war, work and worry.”

“Oh,” my friend whom I call my ‘older sister’ repeated. Because when you are so close, everything is understood. Despite this, I explained myself since that is what we women do best. Weather, it suddenly got so cold. Yet when I checked the weather report, it claimed that it wasn’t cold enough to turn on the heat. In reflection I realize that it must have been the ferocious wind that was making me so cold. Go figure, another W word. Either way, battling the cold was having an effect on my diminishing energy.

Next on my list, War. Wasn’t it tiring everyone out? Will the hostages ever be redeemed and in what condition? Will more soldiers fall in battle, chas v’shalom? When will it all end and how? And then there are the echoing effects around the world that seem so threatening when you are far away.

Work. After Covid took a deep dive, I made a career change. I studied and trained to become a hydrotherapist. Six months into my new profession, I am occupied with several substitute jobs, although no permanent placements. I was recently offered another couple of days a week in a new location. It’s a special education early childhood network and the work was exciting. I had never worked with this age group before. I was in the pool for a one-time trial and was enraptured by the kids. But the thought of taking on so much work was exhausting me even before starting. As much as I love my work, it is physically demanding, much more than I thought.

And of course, Worry. Is there anything more tiring than worrying? But there is always so much to worry about. One of my older kids was having a hard time processing the war. My teenagers are deep into their teenage angsts and taking me with them for the ride. Then there are the two kids who are in shidduchim. Will it ever happen? While not old, Thank You Hashem, they are both pining to build their own bayis ne’eman b’Yisrael and lately I feel very inadequate to help them get there.

“Listen,” I told my listening ear, “there is a reason there is no letter W in Hebrew. It doesn’t stand for anything positive.” I was convinced of the veracity of my words.

My good friend knew all the above already, as a good friend does, but she listened anyway. After a pause in my kvetch, she said, “You know, I think this would make very good writing material.” She laughed. I neither laughed nor frowned. I had to get back to my Shabbos preparations.

Once I accomplished the needed erev Shabbos tasks, I mulled over my dear friend’s comment. Something in my mind was trigged about the letter W and then it hit me. The question words all started with W. What, where, when and why? These four words help us to navigate our world. What? Well, the weather, the war, my work and the worrying were all tiring me out. When? At different times, depending on their severity at any given moment. Where? In my dalet amos. Why? The weather zaps me physically as does my work. The war and the worrying are using up my emotional and spiritual strength.

So I had it all figured out, but then I remembered that there is another question word that does not start with the letter W. The question word, how, starts with an H. An H? Are there significant words in my lexicon starting with H that fit with this montage?

And then I felt myself turning red with shame. Of course there is. It is Hashem. Hashem is the one who brings the weather, who provides me with work so that I should have new opportunities to learn and grow in my field. Hashem has ultimately brought on this war that will hopefully lead us to an era of Redemption soon. In the meantime, Hashem is the source of salvation in all my worries. He can help my child overcome her anxieties in these desperate times. He can get me and my teenagers through their turbulences. He will provide my kids with their soulmates at the right time. We, or rather I, just need to be patient.

There may not be a proper W in the holy Hebrew language, but there is definitely one answer to every question. Hashem.


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