I was lucky enough to live in Israel for a period of time about a year and a half ago. The time I spent there is full of incredible memories, ones that I will never forget. I’m sure that anyone who’s lived in the Holy Land can confirm that living in Israel brings a person to a whole different level. There is something in the air there, something electric.

During my time there, my husband and I visited the northern part of Israel several times to pray at the graves of famous tzaddikim buried there. However, one specific day stands out in my mind. It was Lag BaOmer, the anniversary of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai’s death. On that day, tens of thousands of people ascend the mountain of Meron to pray at his grave. It is an awesome sight to behold, a medley of singing, praying and dancing that goes Living in Israel brings a person to a whole different levelon all night long.

Before I went, a friend of mine told me that she had gone the year before to pray for a child. She felt that the holy Rabbi Shimon had brought her prayers directly to G‑d, and shortly thereafter she conceived. She showed me which psalms she had said on that day, in the hope that perhaps I would be helped as she was.

The sight that greeted me when we got to Meron was one I was not prepared for. I was overwhelmed by the scene of thousands of people from all different walks of life, all singing, praying or dancing. I found a spot to stand in in the shade (no small feat) and began to pray. I said psalm after psalm, but something was wrong. The emotion that I was so sure I would feel just wasn’t there. I tried, but something was holding me back. Frustrated, I stopped my prayers and took a moment to reflect. All around me, women were wailing, sobbing into their Tehillims (books of Psalms). On my right, an older woman was shaking, as tears fell like rainwater down her face and onto her Tehillim, her hands, everywhere. On my left was a young pregnant woman, also shaking, her face in her prayerbook. Yet I felt empty. And then I realized why. These women all around me, they looked as though they had big problems, huge issues that needed salvation.

I, on the other hand, had everything going for me, thank G‑d. The one thing I did not have was a child.

So The one thing I did not have was a childwhat?

Okay, okay, I know how that must sound.

But, really, I was blessed with so so much in my life, while others had so little. Why did I have to focus on the one thing I didn’t have?

I continued to pray then, not for me, but for the people around me. “Please, G‑d, answer the prayer of this old woman on my right side. I don’t know what it is she is praying for, but please, please help her,” I beseeched, and I continued to do so for all the weeping souls around me.

And then, I felt at peace.

On the way home that evening, I mulled over the powerful emotions I had experienced that day. Yet something still bothered me immensely.

We all receive nisyonot (challenges) in our lives. I strongly believe that no one’s life is perfect.

I had all I needed at that point in my life, and all I was missing was one thing. Perhaps if I’d pray for this one thing so, so hard, G‑d would answer my prayers and send me a child. But what if that meant that something else in my life would “go wrong,” since no one’s life is perfect? And how was I to know if I would be able to handle a different challenge? I was dealing so well with this test G‑d had dealt me, most of the time, and I couldn’t conceive giving up on anything in my life. Why should I rock the boat by beseeching G‑d to remove this challenge from my life?

I realize this may sound like skewed logic, but it made perfect sense to me.

In addition, something else was nagging at my brain, keeping me from feeling what I thought I would that day, keeping me from letting myself go and praying like never before. All these women around me were praying as if their lives were wretched, and perhaps they were. But I had a good life. I felt like a spoiled brat at a birthday party who wants the biggest slice of cake. Relax, Zehava, I kept telling myself. You will get what you need; G‑d knows what He is doing.

I was truly bothered by these thoughts and feelings of guilt. When I voiced my thoughts to a good friend, her response was emphatic: “As human beings, we believe G‑d is great and that He is our father. He loves us, and He wants to give us everything! There is nothing wrong with you wanting everything! In There is nothing wrong with you wanting everything!fact, you should be reaching for everything! Who is stopping you? Why shouldn’t you have it all? It’s not a matter of fair or not fair. You have every right to reach for the stars. You have every right to have a perfect life. Just because no one has a perfect life, it does not mean we shouldn’t ask for one.

“In addition, you do not know what nisyonot you will face in the future. Perhaps a bowl of cereal spilled all over the floor will be your challenge. You cannot pick and choose what you’ll experience in the future.”

Her words gave me such peace. Yes, we should all reach for the stars. We should all strive for perfection.

We have to trust that G‑d is great, and He knows what we need and what we can handle.