It is now more than three years since my diagnosis of ALS.

Here are some of the things that keep me going:

First, I realize that I am not being punished. Rather, I have been placed in a unique position so I can accomplish the unique mission I have been charged with by G‑d.

Second, I have made it my way to ask forgiveness when I am wrong or when I do something hurtful. It is hard, but it has saved me from heartache and aggravation, and it has made life more pleasant for the people in my life.

Third, and most important, I recognize that G‑d is in control. I don’t have to obsess over what I am going through. He knows what He is doing; it is all from Him. And as long as the focus is on G‑d, life is meaningful.

In the portion of Chukat, we read about the passing of Miriam and the well of Miriam drying up. We read how the people were thirsty, Moses hit the rock, and water came out once again. We were so close to the Holy Land, but couldn’t get in since Edom wouldn’t allow us passage through their land.

Then Aaron passed away and the second war against Amalek began. Finally, we were forced to turn back and take the long way around the land of Edom. Disheartened, they turned against G‑d and Moses. “Why did you bring us up from Egypt to die in the desert?” they asked. G‑d sent snakes to bite them, and many died. Realizing that they were wrong, they asked for forgiveness and that Moses pray for them, which he did immediately. G‑d told Moses to make a copper snake and put it on a staff. Anyone bitten would look at the snake and live.

This is followed by miracles and victories.

Even though life was getting more and more difficult for them, the expectation was that they remain loyal to G‑d and to Moses.

The first lesson found here is that we are different and special. We are the Chosen People for a reason because G‑d sees what makes us unique. The world sees that we are special as well, and they expect us to keep to higher standards. This is why when a Jew does something wrong, it is a bigger deal than when a non-Jew does the same act. When our faith is tested over and over again—through pain, struggles, suffering and letdowns—we have it in us to remain strong in our faith and belief. We know that G‑d is in control, and that He knows what He is doing. We understand that every setback is really a stepping stone to something much better. We need to rise above in every situation and when we don't, we let down G‑d, the world, and worst of all, ourselves.

The second lesson is that when we realize that we are wrong, we ask for forgiveness. And when we are asked for forgiveness sincerely, we should forgive immediately.

The copper snake was placed on a staff so that you had to look up to it, and so, you were looking up to our Father in Heaven. This is the key to being the special people we are; we are connected to G‑d and realize that everything is from Him. When we fully comprehend that, the miracles and victories begin.

This is the story of our lives: the struggles, the suffering, the miracles and the victories. The main thing is to keep our focus on G‑d.

With that said, it is time for Moshiach to come and for the suffering to end. May he come soon!