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Shevat 27

May there not be anguish nor grief nor sighing on the day of our rest (Siddur).

It is noteworthy that the Hebrew words for these types of distress are all in the singular: an anguish, a grief, a sighing.

Many years ago, when my brother was gravely ill, I visited a rabbi in Israel and asked for a berachah(blessing) for his recovery. As I left, the rabbi said to me, "May you have many worries."

Noting my astonishment at this unusual berachah, the rabbi said, "When you have many worries, then things are in order. It is when you have only one worry that things are bad.

"You see," he explained, "life is never free of worries. Ever since Adam was expelled from Gan Eden (paradise), life has never been without problems, but these are the normal stresses of everyday life.

"If something extremely bad occurs, people forget all their usual daily worries and become totally preoccupied with this single, truly serious problem. For example, your worry about your brother's serious illness is pre-eminent and has displaced all other worries, because they all pale in comparison.

"My wish for you is that you have many worries, so that none be of such magnitude as to obscure all others."

Today I shall...

try to realize that the fact that I can list a number of things that are unpleasant is actually a favorable sign, because none of them is so severe that it obscures all the others.

With stories and insights, Rabbi Twerski's new book Twerski on Machzor makes Rosh Hashanah prayers more meaningful. Click here to order...

Published: May 21, 2009

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