There are many ways to get chizuk when life gets confusing or difficult. We can daven to HaShem, say Tehillim, pick up an inspiring book or listen to a class. We can talk to a loved one or speak with a Rav or Rebbe…
But sometimes the biggest chizuk can come from within.
The following ten Jewish meditations can help keep us on track- especially when they are constantly repeated. 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. I call them pillars of yiddishkeit because they are fundamental truths that hold everything up. Without them, we would so be easily lost in the world R”L.
1) HaShem is always there.
There’s an old Chabad song that goes:
Hashem is here, Hashem is there, Hashem is truly everywhere.
Up up, down down, right left and all around.
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
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 Kotsker Rebbe famously said, “Where is God 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.
Geula 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 their ups and downs. Sometimes we may feel scared, apathetic, depressed, confused, and the very next minute 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 new found surge of strength and clarity. Realize that this is a form of geula 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 teshuva can flow in to 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 under-estimate those little victories along the way.
4) Through fervent, sincere tefilla, we have the power to change our mazel.
Leah was supposed to be Eisav’s wife. But after offering countless prayers and shedding countless tears, she become Yacov Avinu’s primary wife, instead– the mother of half of the shevatim, including both the Davidic dynasty (from which Moshiach comes) as well as the Kohanim. She is also the one physically buried next to Yacov Avinu. According to the midrash, after seeing through ruach hakadosh 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, Rochel, would still merit to have two of the shevatim.
In parshas, Veschanan, we learn that HaShem had to force Moshe Rabeinu to stop his intense davening to be allowed to enter Eretz Yisroel. Had he continued, Moshe would have successfully changed the decree.
Such is the power of tefilla.
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 that 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 mazel of the entire world.
7) HaShem is my “Helper, Savior, and Shield”
In sefer Tehillim (35:1-3), Dovid 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 possuk:
And Avraham was ninety-nine years old, when he was circumcised…
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 Tanhuma, Bereshis Ch 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 emuna, your prayers will be answered.
According to various sources, when a person davens for emunah peshuta, simple faith, his prayers will always be accepted.
9) Every geula 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. This is hinted to in the verse:
The eyes of all are to You,
they break [the blocks and bad middos that prevent them from seeing and receiving blessings in their life]
and You give them their food [physically and spiritually] in it’s time
וְאַתָּה נוֹתֵן–לָהֶם אֶת–אָכְלָם בְּעִתּוֹ
10) Simcha equals connection to HaShem
Simcha happens when we embrace the imperfections in our lives, knowing that they are exactly what we need at the moment, because we are on journey, and without these experiences we can’t move forward. Who is the Master Conductor of that journey? The Ribbono Shel Olam.