Light in the Darkest Hours | IFCJ
Skip Navigation
Jerusalem

Light in the Darkest Hours

default image for holy land moments posts

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise- in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? - Psalm 56:3-4

This past November, dark clouds hovered over Jerusalem. In one sense, these were good clouds. We had received only half of the country's normal rainfall, and this meant that much-needed rain was on its way. In another sense, these were ominous clouds. Fear and sadness had descended upon Jerusalem. The month saw a wave of terrorist attacks. Terrorists drove cars into innocent civilians waiting at bus stops. Terrorists, who were local grocery store workers, burst into a synagogue with axes and knives. Random stabbing attacks on the streets of Jerusalem. How can we protect against such attacks? How can anyone feel safe?

Fear came upon Jerusalem, but also a healthy dose of faith.

An amazing thing happens when we realize that we are completely vulnerable and not in control of our lives; we recognize that God is. When we truly understand that it is not within our power or our government's ability to ensure our safety, we realize that only God can. Our darkest hours can bring the most light when we realize that God is our only source of security and protection.

This is what King David experienced in Psalm 56. He was caught between a rock and a hard place. He was forced to leave Israel because King Saul, out of resentment and jealousy, had decided to kill him. David left Israel for the Philistine city of Gat where he hoped to remain anonymous and live in safety. However, upon arrival, David was immediately in even more danger than before. The Jewish sages teach that the person minding the gate of the city was none other than a giant named Yishbi, the brother of another famous giant - Goliath! Yishbi immediately identified his brother's killer, detained him, and asked the king's permission to kill this enemy of the Philistine people.

So there David was - in grave danger on all sides. He wasn't safe back in Israel and he wasn't safe out of Israel. How did he react? "When I am afraid, I put my trust in you." He turned to God, his only hope for salvation.

In the introduction to this psalm, we are told that it is "A miktam." The sages teach that the word miktam can be broken into two words: mach meaning "humble," and tam, meaning "perfect." When we are in such frightening experiences as described in this psalm, the upside is that we can become humble and perfect. Humble because we recognize our insignificance and God's omnipotence; perfect because we learn to trust in God.

Just as recent rains have brought growth and blessings to Israel, may the recent tragedies also bring about great faith and even greater salvation.

With prayers for shalom, peace,

Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein
Founder and President

LATEST DEVOTIONAL

Bring Back the Joy

January 16, 2019

We are wired to be joyful and content – it’s only when our worry-filled thoughts get in the way that we sabotage the joy that is rightfully ours.

Read More

NEW TEACHING RESOURCE

Abraham Limmud Promo Box

Abraham: Our Patriarch of Loving-kindness

Abraham’s belief about one God who is Father of us all -- monotheism -- was not widely recognized during his lifetime. His ideals and values form the basis of the civilized world today. Learn more about Abraham, the first of the avot, the patriarchs.

Download Now

HOW TO HELP

Lena, elderly woman, praying hands, floral brown and red scarf, hands folded beneath her chin, sitting next to window with curtain.

Bless God's People

God promises to “bless those who bless [Israel].” You can take part in His promise by being a blessing to a lonely elderly Jewish person like Lena who has nowhere else to turn. Your gift today will help provide food, medicine, and shelter to someone in desperate need. We cannot stand idly by as the elderly like Lena suffer through the last years of their lives. Join us in helping these forgotten survivors with your best gift today.

Donate Now