There’s a well known teaching in Chassidus that says that any descent or challenge that we experience is for the sake of a greater ascent. In Hebrew it is Yerida l’Tzorech Aliyah. It is a teaching that I keep in mind in different areas of my life, including in my closest relationship, marriage. When conflicts arise and we have differences of opinion on things, we may feel aspects of the relationship are on a descent. If we seek to understand each other better, that difficult moment can help us ascend.
As individuals, we each have our own needs. Sometimes fulfilling the other’s needs can feel uncomfortable, unnatural, or even inconvenient. Communicating our needs isn’t something that we are taught to do. We might disagree and struggle to find a middle ground or compromise, which can lead to arguments and feeling disconnected from the person we desire to feel the deepest connection with.
These are the times that reaching for this teaching can be beneficial. Asking ourselves the right questions is essential. Questions like, “What can I learn from this experience or interaction? How can I grow from this struggle?” can help us to ascend. It can give us hope and empower us to move through these challenges with a growth mindset. It may be difficult for us to see this as an aliyah, an ascent, but it is an opportunity for us to grow.
When we’re in the midst of a difficult moment, it’s hard to reach for, “Oh this is for my good. This is for my aliyah!” How can we, when things feel hard, scary, frustrating, confusing, or conflicting?
These “descents” can be physical or emotional difficulties we seek to improve upon in our daily lives, relating to our partner, children, family, friends, or career. The cycle of our lives is filled with descents followed by (hopefully) ascents, resembling our immersion in the mikvah waters. As we descend into the mikvah waters, our thoughts should be focused on renewal, improvement, change – our aliyah.
When we are in Niddah, our couple can feel an emotional or spiritual low, like a descent. Not being able to have a physical connection with our partners can add to that descent. By looking forward to our Mikvah night with some anticipation and excitement and in taking the time to emotionally connect to each other, we can relieve some of that feeling of disconnect and actually create a spiritual closeness.
Alas, the Mikvah night arrives! We descend into the divine waters, only to rise up and ascend to a higher level. We can emerge from the water, feeling elevated, renewed, and with an opportunity to be closer to our partner. When we connect with the beauty of the cycle of Taharat Hamishpacha and this mitzvah, our yeridot, descents can help us grow and potentially rise to higher levels. Isn’t that what we all want?
When I am met with a challenge I first begin by looking for the good around me and everything I have been blessed with in my life. This keeps me feeling some joy which allows for more openness. Then I do something that fuels me and fills me with good feelings, usually exercise and movement. I try to begin with the faith that Hashem has placed this obstacle here for my good. I try to think of it as a springboard, like the ones we used to jump on in gym class as kids and we would be propelled to the next place in the room. I loved those jumps and still do! Having faith allows for an openness for whatever is about to come and trusting that Hashem will bring us to something that is only for our best. Have a great day!
#growthmindset #trust #openness #emunah #leapforward