I have another “blueberry bush” moment to share with you. 🙂
It has been an extraordinarily cold winter down in Texas! We have had snow and lots of ice! A few weeks ago, as I was dropping Ori off at her preschool, she excitedly yelled, “It’s raining, Mommy!!! I knew it wasn’t raining but I heard the sound of water falling as I was unloading the kids. When I looked up, I realized the sound was coming from icicles melting off the roof of the building!
I was immediately impressed with a spiritual lesson. I have been experiencing what has felt like a torrential downpour of emotional rain. Alex and I have been seeking and praying for direction for our future… where we should live… where he should work. We both have wished to be closer to family and plug into an observant community. Despite a lot of effort on our part, no doors have opened and despite asking for direction, it hasn’t fully come. The feelings of loneliness, uncertainty, and brokenness (getting to the point where I can say… Ok, G-d, not MY will but YOUR will be done) has spurred a lot of spiritual growth in me.
Even though periods of testing are not usually our preferred means of spiritual growth – Hashem uses them to melt ice off our hearts. When the ice is gone and our hearts are penetrable, His Torah can take hold of us and we become sensitive to the needs of others.
I came across this quote that articulated this truth beautifully and reaffirmed this lesson to me:
“We read in the Shema, “These words shall be upon… your heart.” R. Menachem Mendel the Kitzker Rebbe, asks, “Why does that verse state ‘upon your heart? It should say, ‘in your heart.’ The answer is that often a persons heart is to hard to accept these words. They are always there, but the heart is not able to receive them. But when the heart cracks, the words fall in.” (Song of Teshuvah, Rav Moshe Weinberger)
“This concept applies to each of us in different ways. We should be in a continual process of spiritual growth. Our hearts should break as we become aware of our sin; as we reflect on our investments in the secular things of materialism, our poverty toward spiritual matters, and our apathy and laziness regarding the work of the kingdom. As the heart breaks, it cracks – and that is when the words of G-d can come in and change us once again.”
These verses come to mind…
“You shall remember the entire road on which Hashem, your G-d, led you these forty years in the Wilderness so as to afflict you, to test you, to know what is in your heart, whether you would observe His commandments or not.” Ex. 8:2
“Hashem, your G-d, will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, to love Hashem, and preform all His commandments that I command you today.” Deauteronomy 30:6
“Because your heart is soft and you humbled yourself before Hashem when you heard that which I have spoken about this place and its inhabitants and cried before Me, and I, too, have heard – the word of Hashem.” 2 Kings 22:19
“You examined my heart, You searched at night; You tested me – You found not – my thoughts do not transgress the words of my mouth.” Ps. 17:3
“Hashem is close to the brokenhearted; and the crushed in spirit, He saves.” Ps. 34:19
“And rely upon Hashem for your enjoyments, for He will grant you the desires of your heart.” Ps. 37:4
“Hear, O G-d, my cry, listen to my prayer. From the end of the land I call unto You, when my heart grows faint. Lead me to a rock that is too high for me (to climb alone). Ps. 61:2-3
“He is the healer of the brokenhearted, and the One Who binds up their sorrows.” Ps. 147:3
“Trust in Hashem with all your heart and do not rely upon your own understanding. In all your ways know Him, and He will smooth your paths.” Prov. 3:5-6
May we draw ever close to Hashem as the ice melts away. May our hearts break so that His Words can fall in and change us.