Finding the Positivity

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Art by Rivka Krinsky

Pesach happens to be my favorite holiday, despite the many tedious preparations. I see all the hard work which must be done as a tool to force me to do all the real spiritual work which also must be done.

I always try to be mindful to look forward to the seder and to make sure to show up like a mensch, and not like a shmatta. The only way to do this is to plan in advance for Yontif, to not leave anything until the last minute and to truly enjoy the process. To constantly keep in mind that all the physical preparations are mere reflections of the spiritual preparations we are undergoing.

Each and every year, we need to revisit Mitzrayim, and we need to leave it all over again.

As you create order in your home—cleaning, cooking and organizing—remember that you are creating order in your life, and preparing to be free. This will undoubtedly create an opening to connect with Hashem and, by extension, with the entire world. 

It would be so good to only have to do this one time, and be totally set free, but that is not the purpose of the holiday. Each and every year, we need to revisit Mitzrayim, and we need to leave it all over again.

As Jews, we must have the strongest foundation in place so that when the inevitable hits (what appears to be darkness), we can always access our spiritual tools. We, as a nation, have so much inner strength, and we are all equally equipped to deal with any challenge which comes our way.

I truly believe and know that every mitzvah is a means of connecting to Hashem—it is a pipeline, and it’s there to enrich our lives. We know we’re meant to serve Hashem with joy, and if we are doing a mitzvah but joy isn’t accompanying it, then it is clear we are doing something wrong.

Photo by Devorah C

So how do we serve Hashem with joy? By learning and educating ourselves. Knowledge is power, and we must try to derive meaning in everything we’re doing and find purpose. We are so blessed to be surrounded by a wealth of information and resources, and we must make it a priority to access them. We all want and deserve to live our best life.

We also need to get to know ourselves and understand our limits, and to recognize what brings us joy or what brings us farther away from that joy. If having too many guests and making that extra dessert is going to suck out all our energy and bring us to the seder lifeless, then we should reevaluate and get our priorities in check. We cannot settle; we have to strive for greater and greater each and every year.

This year, my father was diagnosed with a rare form of Alzheimer’s, at the young age of 62. 

At first, I struggled to come to grips with this shocking and scary news. I tried to access my inner strength and apply all the tools which I have developed over the years. But it seemed that this year would not be one of freedom.

I have been truly put to the test, and I am having a difficult time practicing what I preach. Yet, I am determined not to give up, as I know deep down in the depths of my heart that I can handle whatever challenges arise.

Imagine a world where we trusted in Hashem, and truly embraced everything that He, in His infinite wisdom, has given us.

While it will inevitably be a long road for me and my family, I want to share with all of you one idea which I know everyone can relate to. I have been forced to learn this new and vital lesson:

Are we allowed to say enough is enough? That I don’t want to be challenged anymore? Maybe we can, and I have had moments recently when I felt like this.

Another part of me, however, has begun to whisper words of encouragement and hope. At first, I could barely hear the message, but soon the voice got louder, and the message is beginning to resonate.

“Take the challenge as an opportunity,” says this voice. “Don’t despair,” it continues. “There is hope—just don’t give up.” Slowly, slowly, I have begun to see positivity, even in this new and dark reality.

It is so crystal clear to me that in every single moment I need to be present, aware and grateful for what I have. This new challenge is yet another reminder that life is all about appreciating the time we are given before it’s too late. I am now doing this with my father, breathing in every moment while I still can.

And I am striving to do this in all other areas of my life, so that the darkness will give way to light, and so there will be meaning, even though there will also be pain.

Imagine a world where we trusted in Hashem, and truly embraced everything that He, in His infinite wisdom, has given us.

We need to live in each moment, and seize every opportunity.

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