Frustrated and bitter, Americans are turning to campaigns, protests and violent demonstrations in an attempt to ‘fix a broken system’. 10+ weeks into lockdown, with a death toll of over 100,000 and thousands of businesses shuttered for good, morale is low and the future is full of question marks.
So what’s the Torah approach to crisis-management?
As Jews, we’ve seen it all before. The circumstances are unique to our generation. But is there a proven approach to handling tough situations?
Rabbi Shaya Cohen, founder of Priority-1, suggests tapping into an age-old method. One which has proven itself time and again to be more than just another schlissel-challah segulah. A practical plan of action to help us pull through circumstances beyond our control.
The power to bring salvation
The Kaf HaChaim brings down a seemingly simple method from Reb Yehuda HaChossid, used by many during trying times to actually trigger salvation:
By making this commitment, we acknowledge that the outcome is entirely in Hashem’s hands. This in itself is a zechus to turn the situation around.
Rebbetzen Kanievsky a’’h was known to encourage this formula, as illustrated in the following excerpt from a story told by Rabbi Nachman Seltzer:
Nishmas Berabim – A Miraculous Salvation
(As heard from a father who received a call from Rebbetzin Kanievsky while his son was undergoing highly complex, critical surgery.)
I had been by Rav Chaim and his Rebbetzin many times in the past for other people. I had watched how they gave counsel to so many suffering people. Over and over. Now it was my turn…
“I know that Dovi is in the middle of his operation….” The brachos flowed from her like water from a waterfall. Her kindness and nobility touched a cord within me like nothing before or after.
“And when it’s over,” she said, “please say nishmas birov am, with many people.”
I promised to do so.
“Please Hashem,” I whispered, “let Dovi get through this time in his life whole and complete and we will say nishmas with many, many people, with joy and serenity.” … And I began to sing. Right there in the hospital as the surgeon cut away at all the evil that needed to be removed.
The people around us had never seen anything like it before. They gaped in wonder, while their spirits lifted as well. A completely different type of matzav ruach filled the hospital. A feeling of being uplifted, of acute possibility. And I knew that it was going to be good.
All in all, the operation lasted seven hours. And it was a success any way you looked at it.
Of course we went, Dovi and I, to say nishmas b’rov am, with a large crowd of people. We stood on the stage and told our story… It was incredible for everyone. And that nishmas which we recited word for word, was powerful enough to send the roof into orbit!! This was b’rov am. This was b’tzibur.
We will never forget that day as long as we live. Nobody who was there will.
So how does it work?
Committing to recite Nishmas once a crisis has been averted, demonstrates that we rely solely on Hashem to bring the salvation. The yeshuas Hashem can be easily forgotten in the aftermath, but our commitment guarantees we will maintain our focus, even once the difficulties pass.
Rather than attributing the turn-around to social distancing, proper hygiene or scientific breakthroughs, we will publicly declare our thanks to Hashem.
Acknowledging Hashem’s control of the situation is a zechus to bring salvation.
If we combine this with actively observing Hashem’s involvement in our lives, we will benefit from an extra level of menuchas hanefesh throughout this crisis – and when facing difficulties in the future.
Putting it into practice
Rabbi Cohen and the Priority-1 team have laid out three simple steps in a practical 1-Focus campaign, making this approach actionable for everyone:
1. Sign up to say Nishmas Berabim:
Join the campaign by committing to recite Nishmas publicly when you see the yeshua from this difficult situation – attributing your personal salvation to Hashem.
2. Find FOCUS:
Stay tuned-in with the motivational and practical mini-clips and material we’ll send you bi-weekly. Observe Hashem’s Hand in your life and share your stories of hashgacha pratis to spread the chizuk.
3. Express gratitude for your salvation:
Join with others in your community to say Nishmas publicly when the crisis passes. Unite to acknowledge Hashem as the only Source of salvation.
Together we will unleash the power of salvation