Question:

Dear rabbi,

I smoked cigars for six years and am now concerned with the worst health. No diagnosis has yet been made but I suspect laryngeal cancer and have great fears of treatment.

Jewish many thought discusses the dangers of smoking. I lived with many friends and had good times. It was not a cigarette and I felt strength in my faith.

Goals now are diagnosis and hopefully treatment. Given my new thoughts and dreams I fear G-d and wonder about severe disability. Life may change drastically.

Got the message now. Still it felt like part of my derech at the time. My days gave me a strong feeling Hashem enjoyed the days I spent in the now sad given fate.

I am scared and worry about family support and faith. I was encouraged to enjoy the cigars because it kept strife from religious humor to less concern perhaps in family that is not orthodox. Many feelings were at play.

Still, this is a difficult time. I have been looking for cancer resources and hoping for support. My hard fate may have just begun. I must find emunah but I turn scared feelings to any thought of very hard surgery.

It would not have been worth misery to ever smoke but somehow one does not predict his demise. Lucky would be a lesser treatment.

How can I come to grips with my faith and possible total loss if I face laryngectomy. It may be too soon to assume fully it is a fate but I have had dreams and horrible past fated note that keeps suggesting it is a real possibility. I remain dedicated to Torah and Hashem may be helping me to overcome some of the terror. Keeping many safe from smoking is a priority. It was hard and I have quit.

Hope forever can forgive. Fun years were great yet history has very bad gift. This is one.

Shalom. Any sources or help in managing the current mood would be help.

B’shalom

Answer:

 

Being diagnosed with cancer can be extremely scary, shocking, and depressing. Even suspicion of cancer is very scary.  What we need to do, is to look for strength and encouragement, and to find the positive parts of this difficult situation.

First of all, until you have a clear diagnosis, and even if the diagnosis is c”v not what you want to hear, you can always find strength in prayer. G-D listens to our prayers, and when we pray with a full heart, we come closer, we feel closer to Him, and that in itself is comforting. As Dovid Hamelech said, “Even when I go in the valley of death, I do not fear because you are with me”.  It is specifically during these trying times that G-d is so much closer to us. I have a friend that went through a terrible crisis, of having his son slowly died of cancer. When he got up to speak at the funeral, he said something that made a strong impression on me. He said, “H-shem, we just went through a very difficult period, and now that period is finished. Throughout this time, although it was terribly trying, but I felt that you were there with me, and you were at my side. I ask you now, although this period has finished, please stay at my side and let me continue to have this close feeling”.

Another source of strength is to work on strengthening your emuna. There is a wonderful hotline called chazak that offers many short lectures, stories etc. for life’s challenges, and may be very helpful for you. Their number is  1-718-258-2008. In particular, I would recommend listening to Daily Emuna, by Rabbi Dovid Ashear.

The trying times are sent by H-shem to help us grow. The Mesilat Yesharim (chapter 1) says that our purpose in this world is in order for us to grow from the tests and difficulties. After the difficult period passes, if we utilized it correctly to draw ourselves closer to H-shem, we will come out of it on a much higher spiritual level. Therefore difficult times, in a way are an opportunity.

Another idea that will give you strength is to try concentrating not on the problems and difficulties that you have, but on the positive things that you have in life. Thre are many gifts and pleasures that we have in life. For example, if you have a wife, children, friends, you can see, you can hear, you can take a deep breath of air and enjoy it. Maybe at some point, take a piece of paper, and spend ten minutes writing down 25 things that you have in life. Then when you get to 25, continue it until fifty. Then read the list (out loud) to yourself, and thank H-shem for what you have. (By the way you can continue this list for as long as you want). You will find that this may do wonders to help you lift your spirits, and it is also a sigulah that you should have a refuah shelaima.

Please let me know what your name is so I can daven for you.

H-shem should send you a refuah shelaima. and you should have many long happy years.

Tags: Emunah sick Teshuva

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