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Every breath

הרב חגי לונדין מבקר פצוע

* Translation by Yehoshua Siskin ([email protected])

These are tense days. There are rumors, worries, arguments, and speculation about what will happen later on. When will this end? Rabbi Hagai Lundin from the city of Sderot published a short piece titled “To Take a Deep Breath” as follows:

“We have already been at war for a month and a half. Following the initial shock and our first response, followed by our well-organized counterattack, we have reached a daily war routine.

These are difficult days. Keeping our spirits up over time may be no less difficult than bracing ourselves to confront the horror that occurred. For the soldiers on the front lines, there is a feeling of doing something that is vital and necessary, but in the rear, on the home front, the challenge is often greater: mourning the dead, consoling the bereaved, fearing for our dear ones on the front lines, taking care of the family at home, experiencing general uncertainty and financial hardship — all these may give us a sense of being choked.

‘Kol Ha’neshama tehallel HaShem’ is the last verse in the book of Psalms. The verse literally means ’Let every soul praise HaShem.’ Yet the word neshama, meaning soul, is close to neshima, the word for breath. Indeed, our sages have explained the meaning of this verse as follows: ‘To thank HaShem for every breath.’ To focus on every breath we take each moment, whether through actual breathing, as in long, slow breaths, or through the little enjoyments that come during each breath we take in our daily routine — in finding extra-curricular activities for our children, in doing small acts of kindness, in praying, in reassuring family and friends. All of these are rays of light that give us strength.

Anyone who has considered how they have functioned during this time will reach the conclusion that despite not always being at their best, they have done the very best they could do, and that’s quite a lot.

What we are currently enduring will end one day and we can already see signs of the resolution that will come in its wake. We would like to see this resolution come without any pain, but this is not in our hands which, after all, is another kind of consolation.

With God’s help, evil will be destroyed and good will triumph.”


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