Happiness & Hardships

Happiness and hardship- most chapters in life contain a bit of both. 

Moses begins one of his final addresses to the children of Israel in the most unusual way: 

Deuteronomy 1:9: Thereupon I said to you, “I cannot bear the burden of you by myself.

10 Adonai your God has multiplied you until you are today as numerous as the stars in the sky. — 11 May Adonai, the God of your ancestors, increase your numbers a thousandfold, and bless you as God promised you.

12 How can I bear unaided the trouble of you, and the burden, and the bickering!


I was struck, not only with how exasperated Moses is with the Israelites in the first and last verse of this section, but how, in the middle, he blesses them. Blessing and curse- Moses’s speech, and most moments in life have some, or much, of both.

And then there are those moments of just one- moments of elation like a wedding or the birth of a child, or moments of profound uncertainty and loss, like the loss of a job or the death of a loved one. How can our joy be a source of healing? How can we draw on others’ love and support in a time of loss?

In moments of joy, can you remember hardship? In moments of difficultly, are you strong enough to ask for help? 

This is a sermon about blessing and curse – Moses teaches that these go hand in hand. Both can bring healing and strength.


Aaron Miller


Rabbi Aaron Miller joined the WHC clergy team as Assistant Rabbi in 2011. He officiates at services and life cycle events and provides pastoral care and counseling. He also leads 2239, WHC’s nationally acclaimed young professionals community, and directs 12 Jewish Questions, a WHC adult education program designed to spark a love of Judais...

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