Difficult Times

Difficult Times


With aging comes challenges which may limit our choices and activities. These include health challenges, financial difficulties, family estrangements, and the loss of loved ones. The Jewish tradition both acknowledges the pain while urging us to relish the joys available to us. The wisdom acquired in our lives can help us to navigate away from the shoals of despair. As Isabelle Allende said; “We all have an unsuspected reserve of strength inside that emerges when life puts us to the test.”


Strengthen me, Holy One, on my journey through illness; Steady my steps on this difficult path. Bring me through signposts of remedies and therapies, secure in Your guidance as I face these changes. You are my strength and my hope, the author of my healing. You are my promise and my courage, guiding my helpers as I move toward healing. Guard the encouragement of simple improvements, every day praising Your loving concern. Make me Your partner, Divine Physician, restoring me for Your name’s sake.

Alden Solovy all rights reserved © 2019


Isaiah 46:4

Even to your old age and gray hairs I am the One. I am the One who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.

Proverbs 24:16

The righteous fall down seven times and get up.


Things shouldn’t be so hard
A life should leave
deep tracks:
ruts where she
went out and back
to get the mail
or move the hose
around the yard;
where she used to
stand before the sink,
a worn-out place;
beneath her hand
the china knobs
rubbed down to
white pastilles;
the switch she
used to feel for
in the dark
almost erased.
Her things should
keep her marks.
The passage
of a life should show;
it should abrade.
And when life stops,
a certain space—
however small—
should be left scarred
by the grand and
damaging parade.
Things shouldn’t
be so hard.

Kay Ryan from The Niagara River, Copyright © 2005


Psalm 92

The righteous will flourish like the palm tree:
They will grow like a cedar in Lebanon.
Planted in the house of the Eternal,
They shall flourish in the courts of our God.
They shall yet yield fruit even in old age;
Vigorous and fresh they shall be,
To proclaim that the Eternal is just!
[God is] my Rock, in whom there is no injustice.

From Psalm 40

Steadfastly I have hoped for You, Yah;
You turned to me and heard my pleading.
You raised me up from the dark pit;
You saved me from sinking into quicksand.
You steadied my feet on a firm rock;
You prepared my steps.
You put a new song in my mouth:
Praise to You, our God.
Let the crowd see and show respect and also trust Yah.
Serene is the person who has put their trust in Yah
And didn’t turn to big shots and pretenders.
Countless miracles have you done Yah;
Your concern has been for our good.
I will still talk about You,
Even though it is beyond my capacity to express myself fully . . .

You, Yah, do not withhold Your compassion from me;
Always, always let Your truth be my protection. . .

I am poor, down and out;
Keep me in Your care.
You, my Savior, my Refuge, my God –
Don’t tarry now.

translation by R’ Zalman Schachter-Shalomi z”l


Bridge Over Troubled Water

Esai Einai, El HeHarim MeAyin Yaavo Ezri . . .

אֶשָּׂא עֵינַי, אֶל-הֶהָרִים מֵאַיִן, יָבֹא עֶזְרִי

עֶזְרִי, מֵעִם יְהוָה– עֹשֵׂה, שָׁמַיִם וָאָרֶץ.

I lift up my eyes, unto the mountains, from where, from where does my help come?

My help comes from the Holy One creator of heaven and earth.

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