Gratitude & Grief Thanksgiving 2014

Dear friends,

It’s been a few weeks since you heard from me as I’ve been traveling and visiting family which includes helping out after my daughter’s back surgery.  We thank God for a successful surgery while we continue to pray for complete healing.  Her sciatic nerve is severely damaged and while the incision and fusion in her spine is healing well, the surgeon has informed us that the nerve may take several months to heal.  If any of you have suffered with sciatica, you have an idea of the kind of pain involved.  We are asking in faith for the healing of the sciatic nerve so that Susan can resume her life which includes taking care of her two young children.  I would deeply appreciate your prayers with us for the healing we know the Lord our Healer is so well able to accomplish.  Thank you!

In addition, since our last communication together, Israel suffered a devastating terrorist attack inside a synagogue in Jerusalem.  Four Rabbis were brutally murdered and several others injured; some are still hospitalized.  Four new widows and twenty-four new orphans in Jerusalem.

This morning I received a copy of the following email which was sent out by the widows of the four Rabbis who were murdered.  I want to share it with you for two reasons: 1) because of its powerful message and 2) because as many of you will be celebrating the holiday of Thanksgiving tomorrow in America, their message sparks the most central reason for a consistent attitude of gratitude, not just one day a year but every day.  Family and friends are the greatest treasures we have after our relationship with God Himself. At the risk of sounding morbid, though that is not my intent, none of us have any guarantees.  When those men gathered in Synagogue that morning to pray, the last thing anyone expected is that they would never again return home to their loved ones.  Grief is real and profound, yet in the midst of it, read what these godly women wanted to say to the rest of us on the first Shabbat after their husbands’ murders.

“With tears and broken hearts from the blood that has been spilled, the blood of the sanctified ones, our husbands, the heads of our homes. We turn to our brothers and sisters, everyone from the house of Israel, in whatever place they may be, to stay united (to merit) compassion and mercy from on High. We should accept upon ourselves to increase the love and affection for each other, whether between a person and his fellow, whether between distinct communities within the Jewish people. We beseech that each and every person accepts upon himself or herself at the time of the acceptance of Shabbat, that this Shabbat, Shabbat Parashas Toldos, should be a day in which we express our love for each other, a day in which we refrain from speaking divisively or criticizing others. By doing so it will be a great merit for the souls of our husbands, slaughtered for the sake of God’s name. God looks down from above and sees our pain, and He will wipe away our tears and declare: ‘Enough to all the pain and the grief.’ And we should merit witnessing the coming of the Anointed one, soon in our days, amen, amen.

Signed, Chaya Levine, Breine Goldberg, Yakova Kupinsky, Bashi Twersky and their families.”

As we ponder the blessings we have received in our own lives, I can only echo their exhortation.

Let us love each other, refrain from division and negativity, look to the heavens and pray as they have that all of us will soon witness the appearing of our long awaited Messiah.

I thank God for your friendship.  May the blessings of heaven abound to you and yours.