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Isn't it pretty?

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Guarantees in Life

Yesterday, in shul the rabbi spoke about what we must be working on personally in order to fight what's going on in Israel. He offered a 4-prong tactic: 1) Shabbos 2) Tefillah (Prayer) 3) Bein Adam L'Chaveiro (Conduct between Man and Man) 4) Tznius (Modesty) I agree that we all need to work on ourselves, but I had a hard time with what he had to say, and not for the reasons my friends assumed. The rabbi said two things that I had a very hard time with, both falling under the topic of tefillah. The first thing he said was that you can't rely on segulahs...but there were rabbis who have come out to say that if a person says "Adon Olam" with total kavannah then they are guaranteed that their prayers will be answered. He then told a story about a woman who had been married for eight years and had not yet had children. Her father took her to see the Chazon Ish to receive a bracha. While in the home of the Chazon Ish, the woman broke down into tears, sobbing. The Chazon Ish came out and told the woman that, due to her tears falling from such real, true emotion, she would have children. I found myself in tears listening to the sermon. Not tears of being touched by the thought that if only I followed these instructions, then I would have my prayers answered. But tears of frustration, especially due to the second story. Because how many times have I cried real, true, honest tears...and still many of the things I have cried and pleaded for have not materialized. In general, I don't like stories like the ones the rabbi told - because I believe it gives false hope. I believe it causes people to get their hopes up for things they really desire, and to pin those hopes to things that aren't so solid. And when the things they are wishing for don't happen, I think it's quite easy to have your faith diminish. I believe in Hashem. I know that He chooses for me what's best. I try hard to hold on to that faith, no matter how hard it sometimes seems, how many challenges He throws my way. And I'm not complaining, I really have a lot to be thankful for, and I know my life is quite easy compared to many - I wouldn't trade burdens. What I fail to believe in these days is easy fixes - tears here, a prayer specific there, some ritual with no basis in reality "guaranteed" to bring your every desire. I believe in Hashem, I believe in working on myself, and accepting my lot in life. And sometimes that's not so easy. But I keep going.


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