For me, the hardest part of having a child in a treatment program is not knowing. You’d think that the last year of this pandemic would have taught me to “let go and let G‑d.” Apparently, I still need to achieve a deeper awareness of exactly Who is in charge.

When I wake up in the morning, there are a few seconds of serenity before I remember and the knot returns. It locks itself deep in my belly and lets up only when the distractions of life are greater than the feelings of the heart.

Not knowing what is happening. Not knowing if she is healing. Not knowing if she is making good choices. Not knowing if she is slipping. Not knowing if she will be OK. Not knowing if she will make a full recovery. Not knowing what the future holds. Not knowing what her future holds. Not knowing if she is being safe. Not knowing if she is in pain. Not knowing if she is even there. Has she run away? Is she alive? Is she safe?

Each unknown is a knot in my belly. A double knot and a triple knot, all so knotted up that I wonder if I will ever be able to truly untangle this mess. That is another thing that I don’t know.

Shabbat is a breath of fresh air since it is a respite from the worrying. The knots are still there but they are softer and more subtle. There is another “not” that unknots the other knots—the fact that there is not a thing I can do about the situation.

The weekday gives me the illusion that I can control something in this process. It isn’t true, but my brain hasn’t figured that out just yet. As long as I think I can do something about the situation, I need to either actually be doing something, or at least thinking or worrying about it, as that too feels to my brain like I am doing something.

Shabbat is a break from that. Shabbat feels like a loving embrace from G‑d He is saying, “Lean into Me. Let go of this and let Me handle it. You see that you can’t do anything about it; I assure you I am doing everything as I intended. Don’t worry. I got this.”

They say when Moshiach comes it will be a yom shekulo Shabbat, “a day that is all Shabbat.” Mystically, this is understood to mean times of great revelation, but for me it is something that I know I can attain even now by having the respite of Shabbat all week long. All I have to do is accept the truths that I already know.

I have seen His embrace and direction.

He stepped in and rewarded our relationship with our gem so she called us when in crisis rather than doing something far more dangerous, G‑d forbid.

He stepped in via human angels and got us through the ER in record time, despite the 50 people ahead of us. This same angel got us a placement in the top hospital in the world. He guided us by way of a podcast to give us clarity on where to go next. He is guiding and holding us every step of the way.

I need to really let go and fall into His embrace. That is what that slogan from the program means, to “let go and let G‑d.” Not lip service, but the real thing. He knows what He is doing. He is orchestrating each step of our journey. He did this. He wanted this. He is doing this for our daughter’s good and our good.

A wise person recently asked me, If G‑d asked you before you were born about your upcoming life. If He asked you...

“Do you want to marry the person you married?”

I would answer “Yes” without hesitation.

“Would you do it again?”


“I have a special gem of a soul that I want to give you as your child, and I am going to give that child some difficult journeys to traverse. It will require you to dig deep inside and trust that I know what I am doing. I will be there every second of the day holding her hand and yours. What do you say?”

“I would say ‘yes,’” I confirmed.

Well, G‑d did have this conversation with you. Kabbalah teaches us that G‑d consults with the souls of people before they arrive on earth. He shows them their life and asks them to sign off on it. You just need to dig deep in your soul, remember it, find it, believe it, and pray to unpack it, but that conversation did happen.

May we in fact experience a day that is completely Shabbat.

The author is a rabbi in North America. This is part of a series of articles chronicling his daughter’s ongoing struggle with addiction and mental illness.