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Have you experienced loss? Have you experienced comfort for your loss?

Thursday, 18 July, 2013 - 12:08 pm

This Shabbos is called Shabbos Nachamu, the Shabbos of comfort after the 9th of Av, the commemoration of the destruction of the Bais Hamikdash the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. 
What does it mean to be comforted? 

A quick google search returns a variety of descriptions focused on emotion; "a feeling of relief or consolation", "a state of ease and satisfaction of bodily wants".

In reality true comfort is more of an intellectual event than an emotional one.  Of course it translates down to emotion where the loss is experienced most acutely. But the actual comfort is an intellectual coming to peace with the circumstances.  This doesn't mean that we have a specific rational explanation for why the specific loss occurred. But we do have a general rational explanation for why loss occurs. 

 Perhaps it's G-d's way of challenging us to uncover deeper potentials. Perhaps the loss is setting the stage for something greater (as in clearing away the space of a building in order to build something nicer in its spot).  Or it is an understanding that we Human Beings have limited understanding into the workings of the Almighty.

In all cases the rational thinking leads to a greater faith that ultimately overrides the emotion of pain. 

So the process begins with studying and understanding the philosophical and theological questions associated with loss, pain, good and evil.  Then once we have contemplated this, we have a choice to focus on the emotion or the intellect.  Wherever, we choose to put greater emphasis is where the experience will ultimately be.  If we focus on the emotion we will experience the pain of the loss.  If we focus on the intellect we will rise above the physical pain and ultimately experience the deeper purpose in the loss and suffering.

Rabbi Kushi Schusterman

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