Photo Credit: Jodie Maoz

Through the many challenges that we face daily we must remember that all of them are from above. Some are easier than others, while some cause more aggravation. Some are real tragedies and some challenges stay traumas for life. Our choice is to take care of our challenges by our connection to Hashem in the way we behave.

During the time leading up to Rosh Hashanah everyone feels a bit more nervous than any other month of the year. True, all year long we are meant to serve our creator and do good to one another. Yet sometimes during this time of year we tend to focus much more on our connections to one another until Rosh Hashanah, the beginning of the year. This day is also the Day of Judgment where Hashem judges not only all the Jewish people in the world but the entire world itself. It is a time of reflection.

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During the time leading up to this very special day we must look within ourselves, how do we want to enter the courtroom? How are we going to enter this very awesome day? When a person goes to a court down on Earth he makes sure to take a very good lawyer. The more serious the case at hand, the better the lawyer we would like to hire, and if our life was at stake we would do everything in our power to make sure that we have the best representative in that courtroom on the day of judgment. We’ve all heard these parables and these examples many times over, year after year, and yet everything that happens on Rosh Hashanah each and every year is new and different than what happened last year. It might seem similar, it might seem close to what it was last year, but every year when our books are opened before Hashem, the deeds that we did the previous year are not the same as the ones this year.

There are many stories written about holy Rabbis who were able to see beyond what we are able to see and tried somehow to hint to their family members and close ones to do good deeds, in order that they will be able to be inscribed in the book of good health and a good year.

The holy Or HaChaim once told his family that they must give him a certain amount of money for tzedaka and it was a very large sum. They gave him most of the sum and thought it was too much to give the entire amount so they did not. He didn’t say anything and let the year go on. As the time came close to the New Year suddenly his family received a notice from the government that they were requested immediately to give the government money, and that they were getting a fine for something they didn’t do. This was in the times when the government could say anything they wanted without having to prove it, otherwise they would be thrown into jail. The family quickly ran to the Or HaChaim and cried to him and asked what they should do? How can they be saved? He told them to give him the amount that they were supposed to have given for tzedaka and that he will pray that their fine be dismissed. They listened and indeed the fine was dismissed. They asked him what was this all about, and why did they have to have all this aggravation? The holy Or HaChaim explained that he saw that there was some harsh decree on their family from the beginning of the year and he tried to cancel it by asking them to give charity. However, when they didn’t give the full amount that he had told them, this aggravation came in its place until they gave the full amount.

The things that we go through the whole year and especially a month before Rosh Hashanah, have to do with issues that we have not closed between us and our creator. If it’s a certain amount of money we need to make, if it’s a certain amount of money we need to give, or things that we needed to have done the whole year. If we did not do it by this time, Hashem makes sure we do it quickly right before the year is over so that we can go into the courtroom with a bag full of good deeds and righteousness. So that when we stand in front of Hashem on Judgment Day we go with the best lawyer.

The challenges that we face in the year and the aggravation that we have or pain during the year, all these are counted into our favor. That is if Hashem wanted to clean our slate and give us something good, sometimes he has to give us challenges and pain in order to cleanse our soul. Usually while we are experiencing pain we cannot see past our pain, we cannot see clearly. We cannot find Hashem in our pain, however, this is the true work of a Jew. We say every Friday night when we pray that Hashem talks to us in a cloud.

G-d spoke to us when He gave us the Torah on Mount Sinai; it says He was in a cloud. This cloud is where we can see Hashem because when our physical eyes cannot see that is when Hashem is present. Hashem is beyond our naked eye. When we are in pain or suffering we usually close our eyes from the pain or from frustration that we are going through. When we close our eyes because we cannot see beyond our challenge, that is where Hashem is present. We can’t see very far with our eyes. Only Hashem can take us were we don’t see or understand. This is when we work harder to get to a better place that’s closer to G-d. Hashem is in a cloud. In dark times we cannot do anything, we are helpless so we look up to Hashem, and we shout for help out of pain and out of disparity. He then pulls us out and shows us the right way. When we think that we know what’s best for an individual or for ourselves and when we see somebody else suffering we want to save them, but they do not want to save themselves. We must believe that Hashem is also there with that person in their pain and sometimes the person has to go really down and fall in order to realize that they need to come up better.

When a person is connected to Hashem, they must trust that whatever Hashem does is for the best. Sometimes G-d causes someone pain and aggravation because He wants them to reach out to Him. When we squeeze somebody into a little corner or a tight spot they have to call out and scream. They have to say help me, get me out of here. But when we have a lot of room or space and we’re not sure where the right direction is, we don’t necessarily call out to anybody. We think we’re right. Hashem is constantly pushing us into corners and causing us aggravation and pain in order that we will pick our head up to Hashem who is 100 percent clarity and he will save us from everything that we are going through. Hashem is in that pain as well.

May we go into this Rosh Hashanah with being cleansed in the soul and in the heart, and let us be able to hold Hashem’s hand when we go into Judgment Day. On one hand G-d is the judge and He is to decide what our fate will be. And on the other hand He is our Father, He is our lawyer. Hashem holds our hand as we go into the court, G-d is standing there next to us. He will plead on our behalf and say I know what pain they went through. I know how much they struggled. I’ve cleansed them. I sent them challenges and they looked up to me, and they called me and they trusted me, and they saw me in the cloud in the darkness and therefore Hashem will be with us and will make sure that we go into this year better people, better Jews, and more connected to Hashem in every way possible.

May all the people who are having pain and don’t see Hashem yet, may they know that Hashem is in every pain and every cloud and all we need to do is look up to Him and ask Him to save us and then bring us to a better place. Shana Tova.

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Michal can be reached at michal@jewishpress.com