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Dear Dr. Yael,

I love your column, my wife and I have been reading it for years. We have a great marriage, a large family with married children and grandchildren. Baruch Hashem we have great parnassah and good health.

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I never thought that I would be writing you a letter. However, we were one of the families that lost someone close to us in the Meron tragedy. My wife is a very private person and I truly love her. However, I am not dealing well with this situation.

I realize that you give many ideas, but never one answer since in truth most people writing should be going for therapy or to a rav and many of the questions posed to you cannot truly be answered in any single column. You often actually say this in your answers, “Please seek out a competent therapist or a rav for this situation.” However, maybe you can give me some words of nechama as I am frum and I know Hashem does everything for the good. I am not coping! I, who truly always believed and continue to believe in Hashem and olam haba, am not doing as well as my wife. Trust me, she is devastated, but I realize that she has bitachon and emunah to a much higher level than I do. Please respond as I can’t seem to move on even though I am in therapy, and I have an amazing rav, who is trying his best to help me through this tragedy. Thank you.

A Fan

Dear A Fan,

I truly understand you as I also struggle with life’s challenges. Sharing with you what helps me personally may help you. I love to listen to A Dose of Torah and other venues that try to help Klal Yisroel deal with the challenges in our lives.

Recently I read this short clip: Rabbi Uri Latti – When Things Are Down, from A Dose of Torah that really helped me personally and I hope will help you. He says that people thank Hashem when things are going well in our lives. The real challenge is to thank Hashem when times are tough and uncertain and he seems to be hiding from us as to what his plan is for us. In such difficult times. Emunah and bitachon are the only way to deal with these personal crises and anxiety.

The greatest yeshuah is to thank Hashem when we don’t understand why we have to endure so much pain. Try to thank Hashem when things are bleak and say, “Hashem I will never understand, but I believe that my personal tragedies are not random events, rather a part of your perfect universe and I thank you.” This may help you find personal peace.

Many of us understand and appreciate the importance of emunah (faith in Hashem) and bitachon (the awareness that Hashem controls everything), but we may find it difficult to develop these attributes while living our busy, often challenging lives.

A good approach to working on one’s emunah and bitachon is to find an expert in these areas who also communicates well, and really engage with their teachings.

While it might seem surprising, this growing closeness to Hashem and His preeminence in one’s life can lead to a simultaneous growth in one’s observance of mitzvos ‘ben adam l’chaveiro.’ Emunah and bitachon help us see the true worth and purpose of everyone in our lives and His grand orchestration of humanity and the world.

We come to understand that mitzvos ‘ben adam l’chaveiro’ are themselves really ‘ben adam l’Makom.

Through this recognition of Hashem’s sovereignty over our lives and mastery over the world, we can draw ever closer to Him and better understand the people dearest to us and even those we have fleeting encounters with every day. They are not there to get in our way or hurt us. They are in our lives, for whatever amount of time, because they and their actions and words that we experience are all part of Hashem’s plan.

I wish you hatzlocha and please focus on all the brachos that Hashem gave you and try to thank Hashem through this gloomy time. If you are able to focus on your blessings, you will hopefully come out of this difficult time happier and stronger!

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Dr. Yael Respler is a psychotherapist in private practice who provides marital, dating and family counseling. Dr. Respler also deals with problems relating to marital intimacy. Letters may be emailed to deardryael@aol.com. To schedule an appointment, please call 917-751-4887. Dr. Orit Respler-Herman, a child psychologist, co-authors this column and is now in private practice providing complete pychological evaluations as well as child and adolescent therapy. She can be reached at 917-679-1612. Previous columns can be viewed at www.jewishpress.com and archives of Dr. Respler’s radio shows can be found at www.dryaelrespler.com.