Curled up in a ball, shivering. I was trapped in the ice-cold world of jealousy. Every friend’s and stranger’s growing baby bump screamed G‑d’s abandonment. Every mother holding her child made my empty arms feel too heavy to hug myself with.

G‑d will bless you in all that you do.”What if I am already free? Had I not made a vessel for Him to bless? G‑d, did you have me in mind when you made this promise?

I stumble upon an ancient Jewish law in Shulchan Aruch Harav, on the morning blessings.1 It is G‑dly wisdom, waiting for me to unpack.

As one recites the morning blessings and they come across one they have not been blessed with, they can still praise G‑d, as “these blessings were not instituted in appreciation for one’s individual pleasure alone. Rather, we bless the Holy One, blessed be He, Who created whatever the world needs. [Even] if a particular individual does not derive [a certain] benefit, others do. This is the common practice; no one should deviate from it.”

G‑d, how are you asking me to praise you even for the things I don’t derive personal benefit from? Simply because others do? What does it mean to marvel at G‑d’s kindness when it isn’t directed at me?

A young mother laughs with her 2-year-old at the park. She gently brushes her daughter’s red hair out of her wide blue eyes.

As I watch, my mind compares it to my own life, my lack and yearning, the scene becomes too much, and I turn to leave. And yet, I am being challenged to enter a paradigm shift. There is no going back.

It is too painful to live in this fake illusion of separateness. I crave truth; I crave G‑d’s reality.

What if my lens wasn’t about me versus others? What if I was just open to seeing G‑d’s kindness in the world? Fulfilling the needs of this world. Praising G‑d for giving pleasure to his creations.

What if I am already free? The chains feel tight because I got comfortable in their embrace. I forgot to pull them off. I forgot the call of redemption.

The world gets still; my lens is clear and focused.

The joy of a mother in touching her daughter with such tenderness. My chest melts and I laugh along with mother and daughter as the toddler smashes her hands through the neatly built sandcastle.

“Thank you for your kindnesses, for knowing what Your world needs.” A tear escapes my eyes almost unnoticed. I am lost in the beauty of G‑d’s goodness.

My mind pulls me back to self, “But it isn’t fair, you don’t have that.” It screams. Yet the Alter Rebbe’s words are aspirational, “No one should deviate from this practice.”

Is it cruel to ask someone who doesn’t have a certain blessing to thank G‑d for it as others do enjoy that blessing? I don’t know. But I have walked the other path. It is cruel to live in a world feeling so separate from others’ joy. To feel like an island.

Perhaps the law is teaching me to choose the way to walk. Either walk a lonely path where my blessings are mine, and others’ blessings are exclusive to them. Or I can choose to walk a path of abundance, where everyone’s joy is my joy. Everyone’s benefit is my own.

No one has the monopoly on joy. It is someone’s joy that G‑d is giving them. But it is equally here for me to experience. To experience G‑d’s joy in giving His creations what they need. No one can stop me from feeling that joy. Except for this mind.

“Blessed are You L‑rd, Our G‑d, Who opens the eyes of the blind.” Our sages teach that this means to open my eyes from spiritual blindness.

“G‑d, I am sorry I was so blind. I was blind to Your reality. A reality of abundant joy and miracles around me. I was blind to a flow of unity between me and the people I envy the most. This unity that allows me to love her, the mother in the sandbox, even when she has exactly what I want. Because it is through seeing her joy that I can feel Your kindness being expressed.”

“Blessed are You L‑rd, Our G‑d, who Who gives strength to the weary.”

The pain of white hospital walls, of stepping into the operating room, where I must leave my friends and family and enter alone has made me weak. This mental wall of loneliness had made me weary.

Thank you for giving me strength. Strength to see that in this moment You fulfilled the verse for me, “I will bless you in everything you do.”

I journeyed hard to know the joy of motherhood.

And now I do.

I look at someone carrying their newborn as I rush by on my way to teach morning Tanya. The pangs of jealousy in my chest are my wake-up call to remember that if I am suffering, I am believing something that isn’t true.

Beyond these pangs is a deep joy. The joy of feeling a mother’s love, the Divine feminine, the Shechinah’s love for Her beloved children. If only I choose to love myself enough to allow myself to feel the Shechinah’s love.

“Thank you for letting me feel your joy in giving yourBeyond these pangs is a deep joy world exactly what it needs.”

My close friend asks me if it’s hard being with her and her baby. She has been there through all my ups and downs. Just months ago, I would have been honest and said yes or shrugged my shoulders as if I couldn’t possibly imagine what she was talking about.

Her 10-month-old pulls at my toe as I furiously type on my Mac.

“What do you mean? She is mine!” I say grabbing her into my arms and tickling her. “In this moment, I get to benefit from your blessings. Her name is Bracha. She is a blessing. It doesn’t matter whose blessing; she is a blessing for us all.

“Thank you for sharing the joy of your blessing with me,” I tell her as I add with a smile, “and for doing all the diapers.”