Stress is the single biggest thing that makes people sick.
For many of us, Summer can anyway be a stressful time, but when you throw in kidnappings, murders, sirens and rockets, you have a classic recipe for almost all of us to be feeling a lot of stress.
The single best way to reduce our stress is to understand that absolutely everything that's happening right now is being orchestrated by Hashem.
Hashem is behind the Hamas; Hashem is behind every single rocket. Hashem is doing everything for our good. One of the Israeli students at Chut Shel Chesed told the yeshiva the story of what happened to his parents, up in Haifa, last week.
They didn't have a security room, so when the azaka went off, they took their copy of the Likutei Moharan, and they went and sat in the kitchen with it. The rocket hit their home, and demolished everywhere except the kitchen, which didn't suffer any damage.
Another story my husband heard from the yeshiva was that there was a woman who saw the rocket coming through a window, but didn't have time to go anywhere or do anything. She literally saw it explode right in front of her face, and the shrapnel go everywhere - but the window she was standing next to didn't even shatter.
Hashem is doing miracles for us
We are experiencing miracle after miracle right now. How can so many rockets be fired into open spaces? Where are these open spaces, in the middle of places like Ashdod and Rishon LeTzion?? Both places are jam packed full of people and high-rise flats - yet rocket after rocket is hitting fields, or parking lots, or kindergartens - just after all the kids have left.
After four years of living in a village near to Kiryat Malachi and Ashdod, I've had a lot of experience of sirens. There are two things I can say about them: firstly, the affect is cumulative. After a week of sirens, you start to feel much more jumpy and panicky, even if nothing is doing any damage, G-d forbid. Just feeling the 'thud' as they explode miles away really wears away your nerves.
The second thing I can tell you is that you start to realize you can't run away from Hashem - and especially not this time around, when every place in the country is being rocketed. The siren is one of the best tests of emuna ever invented, because when that siren goes off, you can't fake your reaction. Either you're with Hashem, or you're not.
Hashem is the only reality
The three rules of emuna tell us that:
1) Ein Od Milvado - Hashem is doing everything; He's pulling the strings behind Hamas and the rockets
2) Hashem is doing everything for our very best - He wants us to trust Him, and to believe that He's only and ever good
3) He's trying to give us a message. He wants us to change or improve something.
What's the message?
Rav Arush says the message is that we need to work on our emuna, and especially our 'yirat shemayim', which literally means to see G-d in everything, including the Arabs and the rockets and whatever else is going on in our life.
The reality is Ein Od Milvado. Hashem's running the show, He loves us, and we really have nothing to worry about if we turn to Him. But the reality is also that we're still all physically feeling very washed out and stressed and tired from the situation, and sometimes, even a bit scared and overwhelmed.
So in the next post, I want to talk about the physical, tangible stress we're feeling in our lives, and what else we can do, as well as talking to G-d and working on our emuna, to help us and our families to stay calm, sleep OK and keep our immune system functioning the best it can, given all the stress we're all under.