A few nights ago, in the wee hours on the morning, as I sat rocking my cold-suffering 2 year old, I had a thought. Here I was, tired as could be, trying to soothe my congested child. At first all I can think about is how tired I am and a bit annoyed to be awake at such an hour. But, after a few deep breaths and gazing at my snoring son, I began to see some meaning to the position I was in. My son is miserable, and this is especially true for this little guy whom relies on a clear nasal passage for his self soothing nightly thumb sucking. He is miserable and exhausted, but he cannot sleep. And so he cries out for his mommy, me. While I do not have a remedy readily available, I can offer him comfort until he falls asleep.
And in the dark, I start to think; isn’t this a situation we often find ourselves in? We encounter a painful situation and we cry out to our Creator. ‘Please Hashem, help me’ we plead. We daven, pray, very hard for Hashem to remedy the situation, to heal us, and make us feel ok again. Sometimes the answer comes and we are restored. But, sometimes there is no apparent answer. Instead we grow close to Hashem in our moment of pain and distance, and we feel that He is there, even when there is no obvious perfect solution.
For example, we, as a collective Jewish people, just went through another Tisha B’Av. Yesterday we fasted and remembered our holy Temple which lies in ruins in Jerusalem. For all these years we have been praying, asking, beseeching Hashem to ‘renew our days as of old’ and bring us back to Jerusalem and the Holy Temple. And all this time the answer has been ‘no’. But, in this exile we have drawn closer to our G-d. Our prayers, although unanswered, have been heard and the connection is there. This past Shabbos my husband and I were discussing the deeper meaning of Tisha B’Av. I heard a really nice shiur by Mrs. Shira Smiles on Naaleh.com about how on Tisha B’Av we are actually given the opportunity to draw close to Hashem. Just as the month ‘Av’ means father, this is a month that Hashem is Our Father, caring for us and comforting us in our exile.
So while I cannot magically make a cold disappear, I can offer comfort and love. Just as we are in Hashem’s arms, we can hold our children close and make them feel loved and comforted. And sometimes this is all we (and our children) need.
Here is the Mrs. Shira Smiles class I mentioned: