Shalom and thank you for turning to us. You wish to know if the curse that your husband uttered at one point in his life caused the heart tumor which caused the stroke…the truth is that we cannot know the cause. Only G-d can know the cause… What is for sure is that you definitely have been experiencing difficulties with physical health and other domestic challenges. It is not easy!
The Torah outlook and way of life is to encourage a forward look on life. The Hebrew word for ‘trial’ (as in trials and tribulations) is ‘nisayon’. This shares a root with the Hebrew word ‘nes’, which means miracle, but also means flag. A flag is something that is held high on a pole and clearly visible. So it is that the difficulties – trials – that G-d sends us are meant to promote our spiritual growth and help us go higher – closer to HaShem. (G-d). So if you have experienced difficulties, as you shared, it is part of the spiritual growth process. My spiritual mentor taught me that until you make a mistake, you have free choice. Once you have made the mistake, it is Divine Providence. This is not something that human logic can really fathom, but the fact is that G-d controls everything on the one hand, while we have free choice on the other hand. As I said, once a mistake has been made, the element of free choice is no longer there, since the mistake already happened. What does this mean to us? It means that we must go forward and do the best we can. G-d put us here to deal with the very situation that we find ourselves in.
There exist ways to bring healing to these past traumas, and this may have a positive effect on your husband’s health as well. Since you are concerned that the mezuzah was not treated appropriately, you could try to make sure that – firstly – that particular mezuzah and any others in your home are checked by a person qualified to check them. (There are scribes who write holy texts such as mezuzahs, Torah scrolls, parchments for Tefillin, and Megillah scrolls. Such a scribe must study further and specialize in the field of checking mezuzot in order to be qualified.) When an expert checker or a competent orthodox Rabbi sees your home, he can determine whether or not your mezuzot are placed everywhere that Jewish law indicates they should be placed, and in the correct manner, since there are laws regarding the manner of placement as well. For example, sometimes a mezuzah is taken down to be checked and it is discovered to have been inserted into its case upside down G-d forbid.
Once your own mezuzot have been taken care of, (according to Jewish law they need to be checked at least twice every seven years, and actually it is desirable to have this done every year during the month of Elul – the month of the Jewish calendar which precedes Rosh haShana, the Jewish New Year,) you are in a position to reach out and share this mitzvah with others, friends, neighbors and/or extended family. When you perform a mitzvah sincerely, and even influence others to do so, you are creating positive spiritual energy which can help heal and bring you and others to a better place. Working on the specific mitzvah with which there was a problem can help rectify the spiritual energy that was misdirected.
In Pirkei Avot Chap. 1:6, it says: “Make for yourself a Rabbi and acquire for yourself a friend…” The expression ‘make for yourself’ could be pointing to the fact that we must make an effort – to connect ourselves to a true spiritual guide, a knowledgeable authority who we also feel that we can freely communicate with. Why ‘acquire’ a friend? It is good to be involved socially with at least another person, and if possible a community of people, who share our spiritual values and goals in life. This way we strengthen each other, and the combined efforts bring about greater and better results than what would happen when each person is on his or her own. For this to happen we have to reach out and make sure we are giving to others, thus the expression ‘acquire’ is appropriate. Having true friends and a Rabbi or a mentor is an invaluable tool for making the most of the challenges life brings, especially when you use these resources to help you determine what your long term and short term goals are, and how to go about trying to reach them.
Two more important spiritual tools are forgiveness and joy, and each of these helps bring about the other, and bring about healing. When we can forgive ourselves and those who have hurt us for past mistakes, we are more free to be happy. When we work on being happy despite the difficulties, we are more able to forgive. The way to forgive is by remembering that most people want to be good, but often lack the right tools to do so. The way to work on happiness is by remembering that the Torah instructs us to be happy, it is something we need to try to do regardless of our circumstances, and if we try to focus on being grateful for whatever has actually gone right in our lives, it helps us to be happier.
We hope this has been helpful and that you feel free to share any more questions or comments, and wish you all the best!