Chazal tell us that spiritual growth does not happen in leaps and bounds. The real battle, the choice between truth and falsehood, life and death, happens in the smallest possible steps – teeny, tiny, micro-movements, not miles.

There is a well-known, often-quoted midrash: The Holy One, blessed be He, said to Israel, “My sons, open for Me an opening of t’shuvah like the size of a needle, and I will open for you openings big enough for wagons and carriages to pass through [or like the gates of the sanctuary]: Midrash Shir HaShirim (5:2).

Rav Dessler brings an interesting insight about it: We usually understand the idea of “Heavenly Aid” in the sense that Hashem provides us with the means by which to serve Him…This may take the form of a good environment, a good teacher, etc. [i.e., the person is put into situations that will help him grow further]… But Heavenly aid can also come in another form… [J]ust as the needle point refers to an inward spiritual reality – the complete penetration of the heart’s obstruction, even if to a tiny extent – the Divine response must be of the same nature… an inward reality in the heart. This is how the world is run. A person makes a choice [to come closer to Hashem] and bores a hole the size of a needle point into the obstruction around his heart… and the “great gate of the Sanctuary” develops from this. This is God’s response to our actions… We only need to begin, and Hashem will complete our task (Strive for Truth, Vol. 3, pg. 91-92).

When we make even the slightest real effort to come closer to Hashem, what results is a small opening in our heart. Always. Without exception. Though we may not feel much different after spiritual growth in Judaism the moment it has passed, on a spiritual level a lot is happening. From that small, little impression, Hashem makes a hole the size of a gate in our heart so that the light of t’shuvah can flow in and we are empowered to further our spiritual growth. This, too, is always, without exception, and regardless of where you currently are in life.

This means a seemingly insignificant movement on our end can in fact be great leaps and bounds spiritually. It’s like holding a very long stick in your hands. If you move the stick even slightly on one end, the movement on the end, the side that you are not holding, is much greater. This is how Hashem created the world!

So, don’t underestimate those little victories along the way. And don’t get down on yourself because you feel that you don’t have the personal strength and stamina to change and grow… Because the truth is that no one is strong enough to do anything in this world alone – not even the Avos. There is a beautiful midrash on the pasuk: And Avraham was 99 years old when he was circumcised…(B’reishis 17:24).

And Avraham said to [Hashem], “And who will circumcise me?” He said to him: “You yourself.” Avraham took the knife and took hold of his foreskin, but he was afraid because he was old; he was shaking. He said to Him, “Ribbono Shel Olam, I am an old man.” What did the Holy One do as it were? He stretched out His Hand and took hold along with him. (Midrash Tanchuma, B’reishis, Ch. 3)

At every moment we are faced with choices, between good and bad, truth and falsehood, Hashem versus our own belief on how the world should be run. If we choose correctly, even if only for an instant, the spiritual result is way greater than the effort we have made. And should we feel overwhelmed and unable to follow the truth we know in our heart of hearts, Hashem is right there with us ready to help us along the way.

(Material was previously published on

List of People Who Need a R’fuah Sh’leimah

(a complete recovery)

Please recite Psalms 20, 30, 88, 121, and 130.

Yeshayahu Yosef ben Zari

Rachamim ben Sa’eda Mazal

Alter Shmuel ben Chavah Leah

Meir Yaakov ben Esther

Yehudah ben Dinah

Chaim Avraham ben Shifrah Zisel

Yosef ben Basya

Yehudah Yudel ben Miriam Gittel

Yisachar Dov ben Chayah Brachah

Refael Aharon ben Devorah

Meshulam David ben Alta Hendel

Moshe ben Chasiya

Rafael Avraham ben Ivonne

Tinok ben Tzivia

Gideon ben Ludmilla

Yishai ben Moriasha Tovah

Yosef ben Miriam

Rafael Moshe Yehudah ben Feiga Necha

Yerachmiel Daniel ben Tovah Basha

Chaim Meir Binyamin ben Chanah Sarah

Pinchas ben Feiga Dinah

Yitzchak Mordechai ben Rose Nizha

Chaim Menachem ben Leah

Yechiel HaLevi ben Rachel

Moshe Shmuel ben Freida

Sariel Yosef Yitzchak ben Bat-Chen

Lev David ben Chanah

Nisan ben Rachel

Yehudah Uriel ben Yafah

Isaac ben Esther

Tzvi ben Miriam Rachel


Rivkah Fruma bas Leah Baila

Irina Ester Chayah bas Yafah

Yafah bas Basanda

Chayah Sheva bas Sheina Reizel

Hadassah bas Hennah Rivkah

Ruchamah Perel Malkah Leah bas Chanah Serel

Hinda Zalma bas Sarah

Esther Hadasah bas Devorah

Sarah bas Ilanah

Rechamah bas Feiga Rivkah

Tinokes bas Efrat Tehilah

Efrat Tehila bas Nina

Chayah Esther Yirat bas Feige Dinah

Tziporah Yeta bas Yehudis

Rachel bas Hinda Reizel

Efrat bas Sonia

Gila Glikel bas Feige

Chayah Rachel bas Yafah

Bilyura bas Shurah Shoshanah

Naomi Leah bas Nena

Sarah bas Chanah

Rinah Basya bas Shifrah Rus

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who need a r’fuah sh’leimah
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