Day Four: Caring for the Caregiver
The Torah hints at two distinct types of prayer: Tefillah (prayer) and bakashah (requests). Rabbi Reuven Chaim Klein teaches that, "Rabbi Simcha Maimon (a prominent Rosh Yeshiva in Jerusalem) offers two approaches to explain the difference between tefillah and bakashah. Firstly, he explains that tefillah refers specifically to the “flattering” aspect of prayer in which we praise God, while bakashah refers to the “wishful” aspect of prayer in which we ask for our needs from God. Secondly, he explains that tefillah denotes formal, institutionalized prayer with set formulae and rituals, while bakashah refers to a more personal expression of prayer and request from God."(https://ohr.edu/7177)
It isn't easy to ask for what we need. Making a bakashah, a request for my needs means that I am lacking, struggling, missing something from my life. The very act of bakashah can make me feel vulnerable and weak. Many times, attitudes and beliefs form personal barriers that stand in the way of caring for yourself. Not taking care of yourself may be a lifelong pattern, with taking care of others an easier option.
You may not wish to “burden” others or admit that you can't handle everything yourself but there are times when we all need the help of a friend, a family member, a neighbor and, yes, God.
Kids are really good at asking for things that they want but did you know there's a difference between what we want and what we need?
The first task in removing personal barriers to self-care is to identify what is in your way. For example:
Do you think you are being selfish if you put your needs first?
Is it frightening to think of your own needs? What is the fear about?
Do you have trouble asking for what you need? Do you feel inadequate if you ask for help?
What Do I Do?
We're all living through challenging times right now. Donʼt wait until you are overwhelmed and exhausted or your health fails. Reaching out for help when you need it is a sign of personal strength. Be prepared with a mental list of ways that others could help you. For example, someone could take the person you care for on a 15-minute walk a couple of times a week. Your neighbor could pick up a few things for you at the grocery store. A member of your temple community could prepare a meal for you. When you break down the jobs into very simple tasks, it is easier for people to help. And they do want to help. It is up to you to tell them how.
And don't be afraid to ask God for help also. You won't necessarily receive the same help a friend can offer but you might just receive something else, just as valuable - patience, strength, hope, comfort, and peace.