There are many ways to get chizuk when life gets confusing or difficult. But sometimes the biggest chizuk can come from within. The following ten Jewish meditations can help keep us on track. Filling our minds and hearts with these ideas will keep our minds clear so that we don’t lose focus on the most important things in life.
1) Hashem is always there. In every difficult situation, Hashem is always right there with us. In reality, Hashem is never, ever distant. We just need to call out to Him: “He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble” (T’hilim 91:15). If I don’t feel Him or see Him at any moment in my life, it’s only because I personally am blocking Him out. As the Kotzker Rebbe famously said, “Where is G-d to be found? In the place where He is given entry. “I always have access to Hashem if and when I truly seek Him.
2) Everything can change in an instant. The G’ulah can come in the blink of an eye. This is not just referring to the external circumstances, but to the internal ones, as well. Everyone has his or her ups and downs. Sometimes we may feel scared, apathetic, depressed, confused – and the very next minute we can be encouraged, determined, elated, and clear.
The goal is to hold on during the down times, to cry out to Hashem for help…and then wait, knowing that this, too, will pass. Even if the external situation remains the same, our internal situation can suddenly change for the better, giving us a newfound surge of strength and clarity. Realize that this is a form of g’ulah also, and it comes from Hashem.
3) The slightest movement below creates the greatest of movements above. When we make even the slightest real effort to come closer to Hashem, what results is a small opening in our heart. Though we may not feel much different after the moment has passed, on a spiritual level a lot is happening. From that small, little impression, Hashem makes an opening the size of a gate in the spiritual realms so that the light of t’shuvah can flow into our hearts, and we are empowered to further our spiritual growth. This is without exception, regardless of where you currently are in life and regardless of how small the movement actually was. This means a seemingly insignificant movement on our end can in fact be great leaps and bounds spiritually. So, don’t underestimate those little victories along the way.
4) Through fervent, sincere t’filah, we have the power to change our mazal. Leah was supposed to be Eisav’s wife. But after offering countless prayers and shedding countless tears, she became Yaakov Avinu’s primary wife, instead – the mother of half of the Sh’vatim, including both the Davidic dynasty (from which Mashiach comes) as well as the kohanim. She is also the one physically buried next to Yaakov Avinu. According to the midrash, after seeing through ruach ha’kodesh that she was going to give birth to a seventh boy, she davened to Hashem and, through her prayers, was able to change Dinah from a boy to a girl while in the womb so that her sister Rachel would still merit to have two of the Sh’vatim.
In Parshas VaEschanan, we learn that Hashem had to force Moshe Rabbeinu to stop his intense davening to be allowed to enter Eretz Yisrael. Had he continued, Moshe would have successfully changed the decree. Such is the power of t’filah.
5) Every single Jew is important. In the Gemara it says, “Every single person is obligated to say: The world was created for my sake” (Sanhedrin 37a). There is a certain light or aspect of Hashem that I, and only I, can reveal in the world. (This is one meaning of the phrase “and send us our portion in the Torah” that appears several times in the siddur.) If I am successful in revealing and shining out this light, then the whole world is uplifted. If I fail, then the whole world is brought down. This means every single Jew is important at every single moment. “...There is no man who has not his hour, and there is no thing that has not its place…” (Pirkei Avos 4:3). When I find myself in a difficult situation, it is because I am meant to find Hashem and reveal the light, my unique light, within it.
6) Every single thing a Jew does affects this world and the next one. Our words, thoughts, and actions have an effect on this world and all of the spiritual realms, as well as the people around us – even those we’ve never met. Every single attempt to come closer to Hashem changes the mazal of the entire world.
7) Hashem is my “Helper, Savior, and Shield.” In Sefer T’hilim (35:1-3), David HaMelech cries out: … Hashem, strive with those who strive against me, battle my foes. Grasp a shield and encircling armor, and rise to my assistance. And arm Yourself with a spear and bar the way before my pursuers; say to my soul, “I am your salvation.”
There is a beautiful midrash on the pasuk: “And Avraham was 99 years old when he was circumcised…” (B’reishis 17:24).
And Avraham said to [Hashem], “And who will circumcise me?” He said to him: “You yourself.” Avraham took the knife and took hold of his foreskin, but he was afraid because he was old; he was shaking. He said to Him, “Ribbono Shel Olam, I am an old man.” What did the Holy One do, as it were? He stretched out His Hand and took hold along with him. (Midrash Tanchuma, B’reishis, Chapter 3)
If our struggles in life seem too hard, we just need to cry out to Hashem and He will help us. Even if our situation can’t change right now, we can be granted the inner strength, clarity, and determination to push on. (See #2 above.)
8) If you pray for emunah, your prayers will be answered. According to various sources, when a person davens for emunah p’shutah, simple faith, his prayers will always be accepted.
9) Every g’ulah has its time. In the world at large, people want what they are lacking…now (!), and if they don’t get it quickly, they are significantly distressed. But when it comes to Hashem, that is not how He runs the world. He runs the world with ultimate precision, and every single event or action happens in its appropriate time.
10) Simchah equals connection to Hashem. Simchah happens when we embrace the imperfections in our lives, knowing that they are exactly what we need at the moment, because we are on a journey, and without these experiences we can’t move forward. Who is the Master Conductor of that journey? The Ribbono Shel Olam.
(Material was previously published on www.ShiratMiriam.com.)
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Please recite Psalms 20, 30, 88, 121, and 130.
Rachamim ben Sa’eda Mazal
Alter Shmuel ben Chavah Leah
Chaim Avraham ben Shifrah Zisel
Chaim ben Malkah
Yehudah Yudel ben Miriam Gittel
Rav Shmuel Zalman ben Chanah
Yerachmiel Daniel ben Tovah Basha
Rafael Moshe Yehuda ben Feiga Necha
Chaim Meir Binyamin ben Chanah Sarah
Pinchas ben Feiga Dinah
David Israel ben Rivkah
Tzvi ben Miriam Rachel
Yitzchak Mordechai ben Rose Nizha
Refael Avraham ben Ivonne
Moshe ben Chasyah Hadassah
Meshulam David ben Alta Hendel
Yisachar Dov ben Chayah Brachah
Yosef ben Basyah
Yeshayahu Yosef ben Zari
Nissan ben Shoshanah
Chaim Sasson ben Margalit
Tzvi ben Miriam Rachel
Yosef Ala ben Samara
Alfred ben Paulina
Chayah Sarah Brachah bas Miriam Shifrah
Ruchamah Perel Malkah Leah bas Chanah Serel
Esther Hadassah bas Devorah
Shirah bas Devorah Leah
Adinah Aidel bas Sheina Mindel
Tinokes bas Adinah Aidel
Malkah bas Allegre
Yehudis bas Rivkah
Ruchamah Rinah Basyah bas Shifrah Rus
Tehilah Hadassah bas Elanah
Mazal bas Malkah
Malkah bas Nechamah
Miriam bas Rachel
Tziporah Stellah bas Shirin
Miriam bas Rachel
Tziporah Yeta bas Yehudis
Rachel bas Hindah Raizel
Efrat Tehilah bas Nina
Tinokes bas Efrat Tehilah
Hadas bas Ora
Mazal bas Malkah
Orana bas Suzana
Yael bas Ruth