One of the reasons I wanted to start this blog was to give people encouragement that G-d actually really loves us, even when He’s sending us some very hard tests. I don’t write those words lightly: the last year, I’ve had 1 forced house sale (we ran out of cash); 2 house moves (one after 3 months, as our landlord was a jerk); 1 failed business; 1 big schools crisis (because my girls refused to wear socks); 3 months of utter misery and loneliness, and about a zillion nervous breakdowns where I thought I was going bonkers.
The hardest thing to take, throughout this time, was the feeling that G-d was punishing me for something, and I didn’t even know what. For a good few months, as our internal and external circumstances kept clunking from bad-to-worse-to-terrible-to-the-worst-its-ever-been-and-there’s-still-more-to-come, I was torturing myself thinking that G-d was simply punishing me. I couldn’t understand what was happening to me, or why.
Dear reader, me and my husband do hitbodedut every day for an hour (thank G-d, otherwise I really would be stuffed.) At that time, we’d just moved to Jerusalem to open a new business that was ‘spreading the word’ about emuna to tourists in the Old City (I know, I know, I’m cringing writing that.) My husband was learning in Chut Shel Chesed full time, and we were both doing our best to ‘improve’ and give G-d what we thought he wanted (ie, chronically depressed wannabe chareidim).
When everything started falling apart, including my emuna, I started doing one six hour prayer session after another, apparently to no avail.
After this had been carrying on for a few months, I started turning to my regular mentors for answers – and they didn’t have any for me. Or if they did, it was along the lines of: “G-d is punishing you because your husband didn’t shave his hair off and grow his beard longer, when he decided to have payot.”
Once I heard that particular explanation for my troubles, something very deep inside me cracked. Because I knew, with every fibre of my soul, that G-d could see how sincere I was, and how much I was trying to be good. To even suggest that G-d would ‘punish’ me – or anyone else, for that matter – over something so trivial and external as my husband not shaving his head clearly showed me that the person who was telling me that had no idea how much G-d really loves His creations.
Thank G-d, Rav Arush and his blessings kept me and my husband going, spiritually, until the real answer came a couple of months’ later, in Uman. In Uman, G-d finally showed me what all the craziness had really been about: I had a very big ‘gap’ in my soul that needed plugging if I was ever really going to be happy, and THAT’s what had been going on.
Once I got that, I felt that G-d loved me so much, and that He really had pulled off a very difficult spiritual surgery in the kindest, gentlest way possible. OK, it hadn’t felt like that at the time, but with hindsight I really got that He had no choice.
So now I’m on a mission to tell you, dear reader, and anyone else who’ll listen, that G-d really does love us. Sometimes, we have to go through excrutiating circumstances for spiritual reasons that are hidden from us, and it can feel like G-d is mamash trying to kill us with suffering and misery.
This generation has so much left to fix in our souls, that it can sometimes feel like ‘the operation was a success, but the patient died.’ That’s where simple emuna comes in. That’s where honest, heart-felt prayer comes in. That’s where blessings from tzadikim like Rav Arush and visits to tzadikim like Rebbe Nachman come in.
I don’t know where I’d be without all these things.
It got me through the ‘surgery’ until I reached the recovery period.
I know we’re all going through it at the moment (and if we’re not, we’re lying). But it’s not a punishment, it’s a soul-correction. If you can believe that, it’ll give you the strength to continue, until G-d shows you why it all had to be that way, and that He really loves you, me, us, the Jewish people, so, so much.