We need to reach inside, into the dark places within us
to find the light that the darkness leads us to,
to find the light that is from that very darkness.
I know I’m not the only one. I know that there are so many of us who
didn’t have a mother or who didn’t have a father and those who didn’t feel like they had any parent even if it looked to others like they did.
But I believe that we were born to the parents we were supposed to be born to. We were born to those people in order that we follow our soul’s path, in order that we learn the Life-Lessons we were put into this world to learn.
We were given to these parents in order that we have the opportunity to build the strengths of who we inherently are and to guide us to be who we can be.
Had I had a loving mother, and maybe even a loving father, I would not have had the opportunities to overcome and build myself, the opportunities to create myself into who I am today.
The pain with which I struggled forced me to search and to find answers that ended up building my character .
In addition, had I not been in such darkness, I would never have known what to say to a child who has belt buckle scar marks all over her back and legs from the parent who repeatedly beat her, or to the teen who complains his mother hates him, or to the adult who cries that there is no one to reach out to.
Had I not experienced the darkness that I did, how could I know what to do with my darkness and that of others?
That is the Light From the Darkness; that each terrible happening is a doorway into more insight, more understanding and into the opportunity to make the choice to achieve greatness.
We can’t hide from darkness.
We can’t disregard it.
Darkness gets darker when we try to resist it.
The dark times present us with a choice. We may choose to rise above it or we may choose to drown in that darkness.
Each of us chooses how we want to view our individual darkness.
The darkness can be the source of our greatest Light once we face it head on.
The Light From the Darkness is the opportunity for each one of us to shine.
That is the Light FROM the Darkness.
A diagnosis, an awful diagnosis.
Many of us have been through one or two or more upsetting diagnosis, either for ourselves, for our child, for our spouse, for our friend, or for someone close.
In my practice, I often must heal the emotional effects of just hearing the diagnosis before dealing with the actual illness.
We experience shock, fear, anger, grief, and other complicated reactions.
Our heads flood with confusion, with what do I do now? With Will I be able to function? Will I be ugly? This isn’t happening to me! Etc.
We fill with fear of what is, of what will be, fears that usually never get realized but still affect our health negatively.
We are awake in the dark, in the middle of the night, imagining.
We are in the shower thinking.
Between sips of a hot drink, and bites of food,
we have become preoccupied and suffer low energy because of hearing the diagnosis.
We each in our own way ask:
From where will come my help?
King David of our Tanach asked that very question in Psalm (Tehilim) 121
A song for ascents.
I shall raise my eyes to the mountains, from where will my help come?
My help is from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not allow your foot to falter; Your Guardian will not slumber.
Behold the Guardian of Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord is your Guardian; the Lord is your shadow; [He is] by your right hand.
By day, the sun will not smite you, nor will the moon at night.
The Lord will guard you from all evil; He will guard your soul.
The Lord will guard your going out and your coming in from now and to eternity.
This psalm is asking what so many of us ask when we are ill.
Where am I going to get my help?
King David writes the answer here.
The psalmist raises his eyes to the mountains and concludes
“My help comes from God. “
According to the writings, help comes from God’s personal presence in that God is with every choleh (sick person.)
This is so important for each of us to know.
It starts with Avraham.
God Himself personally visits Avraham when he is recovering from his circumcision.
Then God even sends three angels to him with different messages.
God is certainly paying attention to Avraham while he is ill.
But is it just for a great one like Avraham?
Or is it for each of us when we are ill that we get the actual presence of the Almighty?
According to the Torah, the Shechina (God’s presence) stays with each person who is ill.
The Gemara tells us that because God’s presence is with the sick person, a visitor is required to wear a prayer shawl when visiting.
The reason for that requirement is because entering the room of a sick person means you are entering God’s presence.
The visitor is not even allowed to sit on the bed, or on a stool, or a chair in the room of the choleh because God’s presence rests there.
From the Gemara – Nedarim 40a: One who enters to visit the sick person should sit neither on the bed nor on a chair; rather, he should wrap himself in his prayer shawl with trepidation and awe, and sit before the sick person below him, as the Divine Presence is above the head of the sick person,
as it is stated: “God will support him on the bed of illness,” and he must treat the Divine Presence with deference. Tehillim 41:4-6
The invalid, we read, has no vitality at all. It is only the divine presence that gives him life.
Our Torah tells us in so many places that God is with the choleh.
The Talmud shows us how God personally cares for each of us who is ill:
Rabbi Yoḥanan said: Anyone who requests that his needs be met in the Aramaic language, the ministering angels do not attend to him to bring his prayer before God, as the ministering angels are not familiar with the Aramaic language, but only with the sacred tongue, Hebrew, exclusively.
The Gemara responds: A sick person is different. He does not need the angels to bring his prayer before God because the Divine Presence is with him.
Wow! The prayer of a sick person goes straight to God.
Sometimes we don’t feel that or realize it.
But for me, it helps to know.
As Rav Anan said that Rav said: From where is it derived that the Divine Presence cares for and aids the sick person?
As it is stated: “God will support him on the bed of illness” (Psalms 41:4).
On top of that, it says God is the One who feeds us during our illness.
I wonder if that is why I didn’t need food when I had cancer!
Rava said that Ravin said: From where is it derived that the Holy One, Blessed be He, feeds the sick person during his illness?
As it is stated: “God will support him on the bed of illness.”
It is clear, at least to me, that our help when we are ill (and also when we are well) is from the Almighty.
We need to be aware of that, and to not hesitate to ask Him for help.
The sages say that ever since the destruction of the Second Holy Temple, the “gate of prayer” is closed.
But the “gates of tears” is always open.
“Every gate has been locked shut except for the gates of tears.”
Bava Metzia 59a
While God, in his eternal mercy, closed the “gate of prayer,” he left open the “gates of tears.”
This means that when we are suffering so much that we have tears, we can go to Him with our tears and know our plea is reaching Him.
We can know that we are heard.
When we cry, it is more beneficial to direct it to God, rather than to self-pity.
Have you noticed personally, that sincere tears directed to the Almighty creates change for you?
The gates of tears remaining open means that any time we are in pain, in sorrow, in fear, we can cry out to Hashem with our tears.
It means that when we cry, God heeds us.
Often healing seems impossible, as if there are no cures and no solutions.
But we ask for help, and suddenly and miraculously, help appears.
We get better!
I know terrible things happen.
They have certainly happened to me.
Read my first book if you doubt that.
But even with that, I know for sure that every time I cry out, God hears me and cares.
When I cry out with true tears, I find that things change.
The God I know wants good for us, even amid how people have the free will to hurt each other.
God watches over the sick.
He leaves a path for our tears to go straight to Heaven, when we cry to Him.
God loves you.
He is there for you.
Know that and take advantage.
My gratitude goes to Rabbi Daniel Fridman, Shlita of Teaneck Jewish Center for introducing me, during his Rambam shiur, to the concept that God stays at the head of the bed with the sick person and for providing many of the sources quoted.
Thank you to imlovingbooks for such a moving review.
Here is the link if you want to take a peek.
(from the book page 16-17)
I look in the mirror.
I marvel at how my body has more systems and parts than I could list.
I notice the various colors and shades reflected in my image.
And then, it strikes me.
Only one part of my body is actually the color black, the color of darkness.
That part is the pupil of my eye.
It strikes me as very strange.
That the pupil of the eye is the part of the body into which light enters.
And the white of the eye, that appears to be light, cannot see any light.
That means that the only part of the body through which light can enter is the darkest part.
The light that I see comes in through the pupil,
the blackest, darkest spot on my body.
In the same way, light comes from the darkness.
So it has been for me . . .
By Chana Klein
It’s before Rosh Hashanah.
I sit in a shiur (class) listening to the rebbetzin teach that if you don’t do the holidays, then you don’t have a share in the world to come.
I see a class of women learning about the holidays, really good women, who care and who try and who fail, and who pick themselves up, and try some more.
They are expressing anguish at the thought of another Rosh Hashanah and the thought of being judged.
They express that they can’t wait until it is over.
And it has not even begun.
And I wonder.
Can’t they see how good they are?
Can’t they see how much God loves them?
Can’t they see that He understands why they do whatever?
My whole life, it was God, and only God, who understood me, who responded to me.
I never felt judged by Him.
He was my only friend, my only constant companion, who lifted me and kept me alive at times and successful at others.
He was the only one who did NOT judge me.
But no matter what I did,
No matter whether I practiced an addiction, or hurt myself in some way,
or if I did not practice Judaism the way I was taught,
the only one who really understands why I did, and do what I do, is God.
I don’t feel judged by God because He is the only one who really understands.
He knows where I came from.
He knows how much I have grown.
He knows when I resist growth and He understands the why.
He understands who I am, and how I am, and why I do what I do, and what makes me do what I do, and think what I think.
How can I be guilty in the eyes of God if He really understands me?
When we really understand another, it is senseless to judge them.
Isn’t that true of God?
The child who steals a cookie because it is the only way to get a sweet.
The woman who cries all night because she is not loved and at times does not apply herself to Torah during the day.
The man who spins his wheels because he can’t focus on his work.
God is not judging him because God understands.
The teen who got lured into behaviors that everyone disapproves of except his peers,
Each of us who has done what we are ashamed of,
Isn’t it God who really understands?
When you really understand someone, do you judge them, or do you love them more?
Do you want to help them?
Or do you want to punish them?
My whole life I have felt like the only One who understands me is God.
How can I feel judged or even fear His judgment?
How can I see myself as anything but loved?
I can’t see God as mean, or as judging, or as wanting anything for me but good, His good.
It is Man who creates the evil, the hurt, the rejection.
It is Man who judges and lays it on God.
But for me, I just can’t see anything from God but endless support, understanding, and love.
Do I have it all wrong?
If I do, it’s okay.
Because I am happy this way.
I don’t want to try to believe any other way.
Why would I want to bring such suffering upon myself as I watch the anguish on the faces of the women in the shiur?
I thank God for all I have
And I thank Him for all I don’t have.
God is good to me.
He is NOT my judge.
Man is my judge.
God is my support.
The days of judgment mean God is holding us closer to him and paying more attention to us.
God cares what we do.
Everything we do matters.
God looks at our effort at how much we care.
It never says that God is looking to find fault.
Judgment means God cares what we do
He is understanding and forgiving when we care.
Otherwise why would he offer us so many opportunities built into our calendar?
In reading thorough the Tanach I see that even those who do terrible sins are forgiven when they care and communicate with the Almighty. In reading the book of Judges (Shoftim,) I was horrified reading some of the atrocities done by the main characters.
But in each story, when that person cared and repented or considered God, nothing really bad came to them because of what they did.
The God in my life understands me, cares about me and does not punish me unless I don’t care.
People in search of healing are usually looking for something to make the hurting stop, and to make it so they will never hurt again.
But it’s okay to hurt . . .
knowing that letting it hurt is part of being healed.
It took me a lifetime to learn this lesson.
It is this knowing that keeps me free of the addictions that plagued my life (food, Ambien, codependency, etc.)
I used those addictions in order to not feel.
Today, because I let myself feel,
I can be okay without the use of any substance, that is not a part of me,
I am free of all addiction.
How did I achieve this?
I discovered that it is futile to strive to never have any problem,
or to never have anyone hurt me,
or to never feel awful again.
The search for how to never be hurt again is futile because those hurts are part of living.
Life has ups and downs.
But everything passes.
Everything is temporary,
the wonderful and the terrible.
It’s all temporary.
Today’s problem gets resolved and another materializes.
That is our soul journey.
What to do?
We need to reach inside,
into the dark places within each of us
to find the Light to which the darkness leads us,
to find the Light that is from that very darkness.
In that vein, I have also heard people say they will make that autistic child behave.
I have heard them say they will control whatever . . .
Issues that we don’t want in our person and in our lives, bring out the fight in us.
But when is it that the fight is not appropriate?
How often do we end up realizing that the thing we are fighting is ourselves?
And even more often, that is who we end up defeating – ourselves.
We must ask ourselves, does all this resistance work?
Can we clear a problem by offering a strong resistance?
For example, can I get my brain working better by resisting the brain fog that I get from my ADHD?
Or does “resisting” brain fog bring on even more brain fog?
Can I fight my cancer and win?
The truth is that what we resist persists.
What the Torah Shows us about Resisting:
We learn the futility of Resistance first in the Torah, the source of the vastest and greatest wisdom.
In the book of Exodus, we read about the plague of frogs.
First God says:
“Let my people go, so that they may worship me.
If you refuse to let them go, I will plague your whole country with frogs.
The Nile will teem with frogs.
They will come up into your palace and your bedroom and onto your bed, into the houses of your officials and on your people, and into your ovens and kneading troughs.
The frogs will go up on you and your people and all your officials.” — Exodus 8:1–4
Does this sound awful or what?
What would you do if you had been there?
Would you try to kill the frogs?
Would you fight them?
What if there were only one frog?
(or one tumor?)
The plague of frogs in Egypt began with one gigantic frog.
How much damage would you think that one frog could do to a whole people?
What made it possible for that frog to be so powerful?
Rashi says “There was one frog, and when they would hit it, it would spew out bands and bands of little frogs.”
(Rashi on Exodus 8:2; Midrash Tanchuma Shemos, chapter 14; Talmud Tractate Sanhedrin 67b
God caused one gigantic frog to emerge from the Nile.
When the terrified Egyptians hit it, it spewed out smaller frogs.
The more they struck it, the more frogs would come out.
The more frogs came out, the more they would strike them.
Doesn’t this sound like what we do with various challenges, like cancer, like misbehaving children? Like brain fog??
We fight it.
We hit it.
We go to destroy it, or him, or her, or them.
And in the process we destroy ourselves.
The frog was the darkness.
The Egyptians resisted the frog.
The more they resisted, the bigger and more numerous the frogs became.
Eventually, the entire land of Egypt (except for the Jewish neighborhood of Goshen) was covered with frogs.
The more they resisted, the worse the situation became.
We can’t resist the darkness.
When we try it only gets darker.
So what to do when things get awful?
We need to be with it.
Grow in it.
I was so weak. I couldn’t keep my head up.
I wasn’t able to eat, or to talk or to function.
Waiting in a Dr. Salant’s office for the first time, I kept my head in my lap for I was too weak to hold it up.
Dr. Salant sent me for a CAT Scan which located an intestinal tumor.
Eventually, after a CAT scan, a PET scan, and blood studies, several doctors informed me that I have cancer.
The PET scan and blood studies located the ovarian cancer.
I went to the John Theur
er Cancer Center in Hackensack Medical Center after I left Beth Israel Hospital.
I spoke to doctors.
I listened carefully to their message and their words.
I had tumors in my small intestine that originated from the tumors in my ovaries.
When I got home, I looked up each chemo drug they would offer.
Each drug had the same side effect.
Each chemo drug promised to cause Leukemia within five years of taking it, no matter what kind of cancer the chemo was treating.
The oncologists had not shared this with me.
I found the information online as I looked up each chemo drug.
“Fighting” the cancer, which my body created, and permitted to reside in my body, is really fighting my own body.
My body created the cancer.
My body created the cancer as a way to absorb and to localize what could have occurred throughout my whole body.
It was like the first tumor was taking the rap for the rest of my body.
I believe the cancer was my body’s way of dealing with my negative emotions.
It was my body’s way of localizing the shock and the bad feelings that had been plaguing me into one spot.
The cancer took that harmful energy that could have easily affected my whole body. Instead, that energy became localized into a cancerous tumor.
The cancer that my body created was really my body’s way of trying to help me to survive.
Localizing my shock and other painful emotions into one place likely saved the rest of my body.
I decided to decline the chemo and radiation that the doctors were pushing.
I explained to the doctor that I do not want to wonder (while being treated with chemo) whether it is my body being so ill, or if it is a reaction to the poisons in the chemo.
I felt that I needed to deal with this illness in my body without adding the effects of the drugs that they wanted me to receive.
I didn’t fight with them.
I just stated my feelings, what I wanted and what I did not want.
Then I went home to die.
I figured that at least I may die with dignity and without the devastating side effects of the chemo.
I figured that if I were to die, it would be of my own body’s illness rather than the medical treatment that “fights” a cancer with poisons and radiation.
While home, I was not well enough to do any chores.
I got around on my knees, and had to keep my head down in order to prevent the blood from leaving my head, causing me to pass out.
Speaking caused me to feel like I was passing out. I had to save my words and be extremely succinct.
I worked at getting my affairs in order.
I threw out anything that might hurt the feelings of my now ex-husband.
I figured, let him remember our marriage as happy.
Why should he know my unhappiness?
Let him have just happy memories and feel good about himself, I figured.
I was greatly comforted knowing he would give me a Jewish burial and say Kaddish for me.
Having already lost my vitals three times that month, and also having a visit to the next world, I was resigned to dying.
My son, Brett, knowing the situation, kept visiting and spending time with me each day.
But as time went on, I felt stronger.
I began to realize that I was no longer dying;
and that I am no longer feeling like each breath is my last.
I had no appetite.
I believe that the loss of appetite is Heaven’s way of healing us when we are ill enough to not be able to eat.
Digesting food takes away from the body’s energy to heal.
I experienced how illness removes our appetite to leave us the energy for the body’s inherent healing power to work.
After some months, my appetite did return, somewhat.
I went to an integrative nutritionist and began to learn, finally, how to eat to be healthy.
At this time, I realize it is not what I eat that is important, but rather what I don’t eat that matters.
Today, still . . . I do not eat, ever, gluten, cow’s milk products, sugar, alcohol, canola oil and other bad oils, carbonated drinks, or soy.
Really, I don’t eat anything that has more than one ingredient when I buy it and don’t eat anything processed or that comes in a package or a can.
Before the PET Scan that I had at Beth Israel Hospital, they injected something into my body. I asked what they were injecting. The hospital person told me it is a radioactive sugar, called fluorodeoxyglucose.
I had to wait an hour for the injected liquid to reach my cancer cells. He explained that the sugar in the injected substance goes directly to the cancer and highlights the location of the cancer. Anywhere the sugar accumulates (i.e. cancerous tumors) shows up like a light bulb on the scan.
In other words, Cancer loves sugar.
Sugar feeds the cancer. That is what I heard.
So, the first food I gave up was processed sugar.
Because I had no appetite to begin with, it was not difficult to give up any food.
When I returned to eating, I always kept the image in my mind of how the cancer feeds on sugar.
With that in mind, and the memory of how sick the cancer caused me to be, it is not difficult to steer clear of sugar.
I continued to go to Pilates sessions and to do the techniques I have learned in my Energy trainings, Guided Imagery training, Chinese Medicine training, etc.
I did not “fight” my illness.
I just went on living.
If I was unable to keep my head up or to speak, then I did what I could do.
Sometimes, all I could do was to lie in bed and watch a DVD.
After a few months passed, I had watched all the documentary DVD’s in the Teaneck library.
Then I began watching movies.
I did not resist my cancer in any way.
I was even resolved to it taking my life.
But my not resisting, it seems to me, made the cancer not resist me.
I never again went for another test.
At this writing, it’s 9 years later and I just feel great, full of energy, clarity, and full of life.
What we resist persists.
What we are okay with becomes okay.
What we focus on grows.
I focus on my life,
on what I am doing today,
on what I am really feeling now,
on what I have,
on whom I love
and I am okay.
The more I resist the rejection of another, the more rejected I get.
The more I try to make you love me, the sooner your rejection will come.
The more I resist feelings of depression, the deeper the depression goes.
The more I try to fall asleep, the more alert and awake I become.
The more I try to look pretty, the less attractive I appear.
The more I try to be an intuitive, the less my intuition serves e.
The more I try to convince you that I am right, the sooner will you find me wrong.
The more I try to appear smart, the more errors I make.
The more I try to get my children to tell me things, the less they share with me
The more I try to do everything myself, the less I get done.
The more I resist and fight an illness, the more ill I become with it.
The more I try to avoid stress, the more stress chases me.
The more I resist, the more my problems persist.
Find the Light to Which the Darkness Leads Us
November 12, 2017
“Opportunity” (Page 280 in Light FROM the Darkness – A Different Perspective of Difficult on Difficult Times)
November 12, 2017
From Where Will Come My Help?
May 15, 2017
Thank you to I’m loving books (imlovingbooks.com)
May 5, 2017
The Darkest Part
September 19, 2016