13 Tamuz 5779 / Tuesday, July 16, 2019 | Torah Reading: Pinchas
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Growing Rains    

Growing Rains

The times when we are pressured, when life is going exactly the opposite of how we would like it to go, when we’re failing test after test - these are all moments of growth…


I’m so sad to say that winter is over here in Israel. Within one week after Purim, temperatures soared from the low 40’s to the low 80’s. Crazy! I was so enjoying the cold weather! On the other hand, I am very, very relieved that my kids can go outside to play, instead of fighting in the house all afternoon long, especially when there's Pesach cleaning to do. That part is not so much fun. Nonetheless, I still miss my gray skies and fog breath.


As I wrote in “Pulling Weeds,” the rains here have magical growing powers. During winter season, Israel gets all of the rain that Hashem will give her until next fall. So we hope and pray for lots of good rain.


Most people around here are not from Miami Beach, so they can’t appreciate the gloomy winter weather as much as I can. My husband, who’s from Chicago, can’t revel in the novelty of heavy, dark skies and torrents of icy rain. He doesn’t look forward to the chance of hail or freezing winds like I do. Maybe something’s wrong with him.


So the other day I had an amazing realization. I found myself wondering why Hashem chose to make winter the fertile season in Israel. There is much less sun than in the summer, and temperatures are much colder. You would think this would not be conducive to the growth of the trees and plants. Wouldn’t it make more sense that summer be the fertile season, with its long, sunny days and clear skies?


Behold, the flash of light: our darkest times are our times of greatest growth! The times when we are pressured, when life is going exactly the opposite of how we would like it to go, when we’re not feeling well, when we’re failing test after test - these are all moments of growth!


We just can’t see the effects yet.


Growing is not an easy process, hence the term, “Growing Pains.” So I’ve combined that concept with the beautiful, rainy winter and came up with the ingenious and Nobel Prize-worthy term, “Growing Rains.”


Rains in Israel come at a time when the weather is at its least user-friendly, when flus are on the rampage, when the sun sets at 4:00. Hashem wants to remind us that times of growth don’t come with sunshine and butterflies. They come with pain, heartache, and mistakes.


Rebbe Nachman teaches us that the times we think we are sliding backwards are actually times of growth for us. What we perceive as us standing on a backward-moving walkway is actually a spiritual ascent to the next level. The reason things appear dark is because at the bottom of this higher level, the light and illumination is hidden.


Therefore, don’t despair! Those moments when you think your world is falling apart are actually the moments that will catapult you into the next spiritual stratosphere! Be happy for those times as much as you can! I know it’s difficult, and many times nearly impossible to be happy during these moments of concealed growth.


Therefore, we must activate our emuna powers and force ourselves to be happy and thankful! What is the other option? To be miserable? In any case we will still have to suffer through that particular challenge. So wouldn’t it be to our benefit to at least try to work on our emuna and trust in Hashem?


Rebbe Nachman says that happiness is a choice. We must choose to be happy. He couldn’t be more right. It is human nature to be drawn to sadness and complaining. Therefore, if we want to be happy, we must work to overcome our nature! And how do we do that?


By asking Hashem to help us!


With Hashem’s help, our growing rains will be much more bearable, and with His blessing, we’ll see the results sooner rather than later. Listen to Rav Shalom Arush's amazing CD (narrated in English by Rabbi Lazer Brody), Turn Pain into Gain.



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Feel free to send Racheli your questions, particularly in the areas of marriage, dating, child-rearing and women's role; write her at racheli@breslev.co.il

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