Last night I was feeling very pressured by all the significant things going on in my life in a very short period of time that require my attention. My husband plays tennis twice a week, draws and plays guitar so he has some really good ways to unwind. But I don’t do any of those things, and last night I was trying without much success to think of what I enjoy doing that would be relaxing and renewing. I googled for a list of relaxing things to do to get the brainstorming started but none of the things on the list really spoke to me.
In the middle of feeling all this pressure last night, someone emailed me with an invitation to join her on a trip to Tiverya (Tiberias) today. My first thought was, that’s the last thing I’m interested right now when I’m much too close to overextended without taking on any additional activities or trips! But I emailed back and asked her what she was going for.
This morning I got her response – she was planning a trip to the grave site of the Sheloh Hakadosh because today is erev Rosh Chodesh Sivan and it’s a particularly auspicious time to say a prayer he composed for success in raising your children, and praying his prayer at his gravesite is even more powerful! She remembered me mentioning having some education related concerns that I was dealing with and thought I would appreciate being able to go. She was more right than she knew!
As soon as I got this message, I had instant clarity about what would be helpful for me in relieving the pressure I was feeling – to go to this particular grave site today! I thought how amazing it was that Hashem sent me the answer to what I was looking for the night before through this woman’s email before I even was able to recognize it as what I needed.
Who would have thought a year ago when I posted about this special prayer that this year I would have the amazing merit to be standing next to the grave of the incredibly holy person who composed it? Not me. I didn’t even have any idea where he was buried. I was happy enough just to remember about the prayer in time to say it! And this year Hashem sent me the opportunity to go, just at a time when I really needed it.
I had a very powerful davening there. Really powerful. Sometimes you have to work hard to connect when you’re praying in a formal way, and sometimes everything just flows from your heart. Raising children takes so much energy in every way and particularly after making aliyah – when all family members simultaneously go through some degree of trauma – there are so many areas to ask for help with!
I don’t really have people to talk to about all that I’m dealing with – because of the time difference, technological challenges of using Skype and voip phone lines and everyone being busy, I’ve hardly spoken to my closest friends since I moved here, and even if I could, there are things I’d be unable to share because to do so would be a breach of my children’s privacy. This has been a real loss for me at a time when having good friends who really know me was more important than ever before and being able to talk with them is something I’m very aware of missing. While I usually keep in mind that G-d is always available to help me, I sometimes forget that He’s there to listen to me as well! And I really needed that.
I somehow didn’t think that there would be many people there, but there were busloads of people being dropped off and picked up, and the streets around the grave site were closed off to traffic. It was very full but not so crowded as to be claustrophobic (which would be a big detractor for me since I don’t concentrate well when there are people squeezed in close all around me). There was a very special atmosphere and I felt so fortunate to be able to experience being there. This is really the best of what living in Israel is about – feeling tangibly closer to G-d and to the people and history of the Jewish nation.
After we finished our prayers we stopped for something to eat at the boardwalk area – it was supper time by then – and it was really nice to relax outdoors with the pleasant breeze blowing, enjoying delicious freshly made pizza while enjoying adult company. It was an added dimension of renewal for me, as was the beautiful drive there and home. The Galilee is a stunning part of Israel, and I especially enjoyed seeing the Kinneret (Sea of the Galilee) – when viewed from up high, it’s even more beautiful and picturesque (what makes it that beautiful shade of blue?).
I hoped to post this earlier in the day so you’d have time to say this prayer if you wanted to, but we went directly from there to our monthly video shiur, and I didn’t get home until 11 pm. But there’s still a few hours to go for those of you in the US (and that’s where most of you are!), so here’s the link for the prayer in both English and Hebrew – http://artscroll.files.wordpress.com/2010/05/prayer.pdf.
May we all be blessed with joy in raising our children!