“Of course, you still love G‑d,” I told myself. “Because he is nice to you. You wouldn’t if you really saw what had happened.” I had started to feel bad, as if I was supposed to be so mad at G‑d regarding the events of October 7 that it would affect our personal connection.

But I just couldn’t go there.

I couldn’t throw away my sanity.

Having a personal relationship with G‑d felt selfish. “Thank you, G‑d, for this parking spot.” Or my nice morning tea. How can I feel and accept G‑d’s love when there is so much pain, I wondered. Aren’t I cheating on my people by still feeling a real intimate connection with G‑d in my personal realm?

I pushed away those chilling thoughts. That is part of the enemy's tactic, I reminded myself. They want terror. They want fear. They want doubt. The nation Amalek attacked us right after we were freed from Egypt, at a time when we knew viscerally that G‑d cared about us so much He would even split a sea for us; in fact, He had just the week before! And here they were trying to cool off those lovey-dovey feelings. “Ha, you think you're connected?!” The Hebrew word Amalek has the same numerical value as the word doubt. That is their motif. To inflict the unbearable burden of doubt.

And through the media, through the horrific scenes and horror stories, this doubt had nestled into my psyche. I was giving Amalek free rent in my head. But now, no more doubt. Not only do I have permission to have an intimate relationship with G‑d no matter what is happening in the world at large, I must. It is my duty. It is the least I can do. By granting myself that permission, I strengthen that possibility for others.

I watched this growing up, my Babi’s fury at G‑d for the tortures she witnessed all around her in the long trek to Auschwitz. And yet, a soft spot for G‑d as she lit her candles. “Thank you for saving me. Thank you for my family. Thank you, my family is healthy. Thank you for those close to me who survived.” Yes, she had her spiritual questions. She had her fury at G‑d for the horrors she witnessed done to her and those around her. But when it came to her own loss, she couldn’t deny herself that relationship. Not on Pesach, not on Rosh Hashanah, not on Friday afternoon as she baked kugel and simmered and stirred cholent for Shabbat.

Babi modeled for me this truth. You can hold both—a deep confusion for how G‑d runs His world and a necessary intimate link through prayer and feeling loved and held through life by the Divine.

When I give myself that permission, I hope I open that channel wider for all who survived the October 7th massacre and need that personal connection more than ever. I hope to strengthen that permission for every Jew who is battling PTSD, paranoia, and terror. Saying yes, even here, even now, I can have a relationship with G‑d.

Yes, I give myself permission to let G‑d in in all the small ways. I can see G‑d in my favorite cereal on the shelf. I can feel the joys of my own life. And no, it is not selfish. It is helping. We, in fact, don’t have personal lives in the way we think we do. In the sacred writing of the Holy Ari Hakadosh of Tzfat, we learn the Kabbalistic truth that the Jewish people comprise one body. Every Jew has a soul root in this spiritual body that we make up. And so, I need to be the healthiest heart, or arm, or eyebrow that I can be.

The Rebbe said our generation forms the heels of this cosmic body. I need to keep the movement, the beat, the rhythm of marching into redemption. And through personal redemption, by feeling G‑d viscerally and being willing to speak to Him and see Him in my life, I help march this shared body of the Jewish nation into victory. Into a redeemed state, a redeemed world.

So not only can I still have a relationship with G‑d that is not affected by the daily news, I must. That is one of the greatest contributions I can make to Am Yisrael—to free myself of any doubt and to know that my connection with G‑d breaks us all free.

The Rebbe and Eli Wiesel shared a deep soul bond. On a Simchat Torah night, the Rebbe blessed Eli Wiesel to start again after surviving the Holocaust and to be able to love again. At the end of his life, Eli Wiesel admitted that he had tried to live without G‑d but couldn't. At long last, he finally gave himself permission to have the relationship with G‑d that he needed. A relationship that he couldn’t go another day without.

And in that act, Eli Wiesel freed many others. In giving himself permission, he gave me permission.

And in giving myself permission, I hope to offer that invitation. The invitation to join me, as we renew that permission each day to give ourselves the closeness, the love, the holding that we crave with our Creator.