Dear Readers,

I recently went to celebrate the engagement of a young woman in our community. Several months ago, on the holiday of Simchat Torah, she approached me to ask me for a blessing that she should meet her soulmate. A little high on the happiness of the holiday, I wholeheartedly blessed her that she should find her bashert (intended) before the end of the year. She told me that she felt the sincerity of my words, and that it infused her with belief and hope.

My father taught me about the power of a sincere brocha, a blessing. As a wise and beloved rabbi, he is so often called upon to give blessings, along with his sage advice. Over the years, so many of his blessings—some truly miraculous—have come to fruition. He would humbly tell me that we are all shluchim, messengers of a Higher power. He taught me never to be stingy with wishing good upon others because as G‑d’s beloved children, we have unbounded powers.

After wishing the young couple a future of happiness, my husband and I went to make another visit. Friends of ours have just learned that their teenage daughter has an illness. She had been experiencing pain in her knees for some time, and recent tests confirmed that she has a growth (further tests will determine whether or not it is benign). The parents are understandably apprehensive, and my husband and I felt that we should stop by to offer hope and comfort.

Life is full of such occasions. We go from times of celebration to times of fear and worry, often giving way to despair or grief. Only with the passage of time does the cycle begin again as the wheel of life turns, and we have new occasions to rejoice and celebrate.

Throughout this cycle, there is one comforting thought: G‑d is with us, embracing us, and wants only our good. We do not understand the hard times or the reasons for the pain or sorrow, but we can be comforted in knowing that G‑d is not abandoning us. His love for us is even more effusive than the love of a parent for their only child.

These are the words that I told my friend as she was trying to win over her despair and think positive thoughts. These are the words that I told the young woman as she yearned to meet her intended life partner. And these are the word that I tell myself—sometimes several times a month, sometimes several times a day—as I go through my own personal challenges.

We are now preparing for the holiday of Passover. This is the holiday of our birth as a nation, when we became G‑d’s beloved, chosen people. May our liberation in this special month be experienced by all of us collectively and by each of us personally.

Chana Weisberg

Editor, TJW