Double strength…writes Rabbi Michoel Gourarie

June 3, 2016 by Rabbi Michoel Gourarie
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This coming Shabbat in Shul we complete the entire book of Vayikra (Leviticus).

Rabbi Michoel Gourarie

Rabbi Michoel Gourarie

There is a custom on these occasions for the congregation to proclaim and shout out the traditional phrase:

Chazak Chazak Venitchazeik – be strong, be strong and we will become strengthened.

What is the significance of this declaration? Why the double phrase – be strong, be strong?

There are two sources of strength. The first is from obvious good. When things run smoothly and we appreciate our blessings, we tend to be optimistic, uplifted and invigorated. We are motivated to keep growing and progressing.

But there is another source of even greater and deeper strength – darkness and challenge. These are the times, when faced with adversity, that we are confused and uninspired.  These are the experiences that can drag us down and set us back.

But somehow we have a G-d given ability to derive even greater strength at these times. With a spirit of resilience and determination we manage to turn challenge into opportunity or failure into a learning experience and a catalyst for even greater growth.

We pray every day for G-d not to test us. At the same time when we do encounter challenge we somehow muster the strength to turn darkens into even a greater light ensuring that from fragility and vulnerability will emerge greater determination and resolve.

Chazak chazak, be strong, be strong”– only when we cherish the good times and transform the challenging ones – “Venitchazek we will be truly strengthened.”

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