While my (husband's) grandfather was sick, I took something really small upon myself as a zechus for his refuah shelaima. The situation did not look good and from a medical standpoint there was nothing left to do. The doctors gave him six months to a year to live and all that was left to do was to pray. And pray we did.
Kabballos. It's an interesting thing. Why do we take things upon ourselves as a zechus for ourselves or other people? Why do we do it?
I knew why I was doing it. Yes, I was doing it as a zechus for my grandfather's refuah...so that he should get better and outlive the doctors prediction. But what would happen if that was not meant to be? What if Hashem had other plans?
When we take something upon ourselves for a specific reason, as a zechus for a specific thing and then we do not get what we wanted, we are in big danger. We are playing around with something very serious-our emunah in Hashem.
Do we believe that when we do something good and ask Hashem for something in return, he will definitely give it to us? If He does not give it to us-be it acceptance into a specific school, camp or seminary, the job or shidduch we want within the time frame that we ask for it, or a yeshuah in a personal matter-will we stop believing in Him or in the power of our good deeds?
That can be very dangerous.
We don't understand Hashem's ways. We don't understand why He says yes sometimes and no at other times. Why is it that sometimes when someone does a segulah (warning: hazardous word!) or a specific good deed as a zechus for something they want, does it sometimes work and sometimes it does not?
First, it is not meant to "work". This is not a business deal. Hashem does not operate the way a vending machine operates. Put in a coin, press a button and get what you want.
Is that what we are here for? To try to manipulate Hashem into giving us whatever we desire?
Of course not.
We are here to work on ourselves. To become better, more giving, caring people. People who follow the Torah, do the mitzvos and keep the halachos we are meant to keep.
So when we take something upon ourselves, we need to remember WHY we are doing it. We are saying more tehillim so we can connect to Hashem more. We are giving tzeddakah so we can become more caring, sensitive and benevolent people. We learn more halachos so we can start to keep them. We say brachos properly and slowly so we can increase our appreciation to Hashem for the good that He gives us.
If Hashem chooses to give us more good after we did something extra, kol hakavod. That's wonderful. But that's not why we should be taking these good things upon ourselves. That shouldn't be the goal.
Because what happens when we do not get it? What happens when Hashem has other plans?
We loose faith in the whole system. The system that we set up for ourselves that is not real, that is not true.
I'm sure there are people who can go on and on with stories of tried and true segulos...things that they say "worked". And guess what? For all those stories, I am sure that there are stories of segulos-those same ones-that people did...and did not "work". I know plenty of them. For whatever reason, Hashem did not send that yeshuah, did not send that shidduch, give that couple a child, cure that sick person...and either it had to wait or it didn't happen at all.
My grandfather passed away on Friday.
When I took that teeny thing upon myself, something I knew was doable yet would take work and constant concentration and focus on my part, I don't think I thought about the end result. If he would make it or not. I just wanted his life to be prolonged, for him not to feel pain...for him to be healed. I knew I was asking for a miracle. And I knew that Hashem could do anything.
But...now that it's over, will I stop? Will I be angry at Hashem for not giving me what I wanted? Do I have any regrets for taking something not-so-easy upon myself?
And I will continue doing what I've been doing. I will not stop. It will be a zechus for his neshama to go higher...and it will also have an affect on me. I will become a little different by keeping at it.
If this kabballah helps me be different, follow one halacha the way it was meant to be done, increase my awareness of Hashem in my life in just a small way, it was worth it. I have no regrets for doing something and not getting what I wanted. Of course, I wish he would be healed, I wish my grandfather could come back to life and we'd have more time to spend together...but that part is in Hashem's hands.
I needed to do mine.
And I did.
And I will not stop.
Hashem gives, Hashem takes...yehi sheim Hashem mevorach. May Hashem's name be blessed.
May this post be a zechus for the neshama of David ben Aharon a"h to go higher. May you continue to look down at us with pride and may the mitzvos we do every day elevate your soul.