Light FROM the Darkness

One Woman's Story of surviving, overcoming, and eventually thriving.

Category: judgement

From Where Will Come My Help?

This is a chapter from my next book:
Light FROM the Darkness of Illness & Disability:
What Makes Us ill What Keeps Us ill & How to Heal
by Chana Klein

From Where Will Come My Help?

 A Life Lessons Story by Chana Klein

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.

It’s devastating.

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?

Psalm (Tehilim) 121

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 means that when I am in pain, or going through withdrawal, or burning with fever, or weak from anemia, or whatever is ailing me, the writings say that God personally stays with me.

Avraham

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?

God’s Presence

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.

And more:

 

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.

God Cares for Us When We Are ill

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:

Shabbat 12b

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.

And another:

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).

God Feeds Us When We Are ill

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.”

From Where Will Come My Help?

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 Gates of Tears

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!

Take Advantage

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.

Miracles happen.

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 cares.

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.

Judgement or Understanding???

Judgment or Understanding???

By Chana Klein

sunset-369498__340

The Class

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.

Wondering

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?

Understood

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.

God understands.

The woman who cries all night because she is not loved and at times does not apply herself to Torah during the day.

God understands.

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?

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 My Whole Life

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 Meaning of Judgement

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?

What the Stories in Tanach Show Us

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.

 

The More I Resist . . .

The More I Resist . . .

The more I resist the rejection of another, the more rejected I get.

resistance stubborn-husky-puppy-4929888The 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 bench-press-1013857_960_720more stress chases me.

The more I resist, the more my problems persist.

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