Beliefnet
Positive Judaism

If you are reading this letter, it’s because you are like me and most people I know. You are living with major and minor personal challenge and looking for practical ways to live well. As Reinhold Niebuhr teaches: ”God, give us grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed, courage to change the things which should be changed and the wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.”

Reinhold teaches us that the power of courage can lead to important personal growth. We all know people who are living positive lives and simultaneously enduring incredible challenges. Often, people who pass through their valley of the shadows can emerge saying, ““it changed my life for the better.” I hope this is true for you.

Here are five important qualities to medidate upon to overcome major personal challenge in a positive way: bravery, courage, perseverance, honesty, and resilience. And I wish you well on your journey to recovery and positivity.


  1. Bravery (gevurah) is the ability to face physical and non-physical threat, difficulty, or pain.

“Eternal One, hear my prayer: Let my cry come before you. Do not hide Your face from me. In my time of trouble; Turn your ear to m; When I cry, answer me quickly. -Psalm 10:2-3”


  1.  Courage is the willpower to achieve goals in the face of internal or external opposition.

“As the Psalmist teaches, Though I walk through the valley of death, I shall fear no harm, for You are with me. – Psalm 23″


  1. Perseverance (malacha) is the ability to complete the task and to persist in the face of obstacles.

“Personal effort and perseverance contribute the major part to eventual success. In fact, any negligence or laziness is rated as sinful when circumstances seem to have called for exertion of the self.  -Akedat Yitzchak 25:16”


  1. Honesty (emet) is about speaking truth and having real integrity and being able to take responsibility for one’s actions, feelings, and affect on others.

“Moses our teacher commanded on the matter of integrity. As it is written: “You must be wholehearted before your God (Deuteronomy 18:13) -Sefer Ma’alot Hamidot”


  1. Resilience (koach) is that despite the situation, able to remain active, energetic, focused, and flexible. Able to bounce back.\

“Praised are You, Eternal One, Creator of the universe, who has made the human form in wisdom and created in it a system of openings, arteries, glands, and organs that is marvelous in structure and intricate in design. Should only one of them fail to function by being blocked or open, it would be difficult to stand before you. Wonderous fashioner and sustainer of life, source of our health and our strength, we give You thanks and praise.  – Asher Yatzar prayer”

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