For even one hour

Even if my tear-drenched, perched on the edge of my bed seeking relief from the pain, tearing my heart out for the umpteenth time today- prayers only gave me this burst of good feeling and health for– I’d say three hours now– it was worth it.

I hope it stays. I not only hope, I pray. I really really want it to. But even a small taste of relief, gone tomorrow, is an answer to my prayers from G-d. Even if He can’t take away the full burden, for reasons only He knows, He lightened the load a little for me.

 

The though I bring to you today is this: In a strategy game I play sometimes, if you make a fatal move you can reverse, undo, and try to choose a better one. You don’t get that in real life, unfortunately (but yet fortunately, more on that later) but the closest most of us will ever get is during these next ten days of teshuvah. We get an opportunity to look back at what we did, restart, and use the new year well. And if we do, it wipes the slate of the past clean.

Wishing all of you that 5776 be a year of growth, healing, blessing and light in all areas of life. See you at the Bais Hamikdash!

Change is good

When I cry out to G-d in a fit of frustration, it seems that the most often comment is– “Why so soon after the last test?! Can I not be allowed to breath freely or smile without worry for a minute?!” It seems that the tests come one after the other– as soon as one finishes, the next is less than a day away, and sometimes hours or even only 30 minutes past the last one. And I’m not talking about little things. I’m not going to get into an objective ‘is this an issue or not’ because we could spend all day topping each other; but to me at least, these are very big things. Things outside my ability to handle that can often take months to resolve.

The past two days have been the first two days of school. And, looking back, I really have had that break I asked for. Sure, I spent the first day back telling people not to hug me because my guts might fall out onto the floor (yes, I really was feeling that sick at first, and it was beyond hilarious when I said it to an over-enthusiastic teacher); I had a dilemma with my lunchbox and a horrible time with my safa diagnostic test, and I still don’t have my new headphones. But all of these, in the grand scheme of things, are pretty minor. Most importantly, I had the resilience to treat them as such.

But I’ve never laughed so much on the first day of school before. Ever. Or nearly any day, in fact. It turns out I can take better care of myself then I though, and so my health’s basically been stable. (To the utter shock of the resource room director, who’s known me for a while.) I won’t say the past two days have been so easy, but they’ve been amazing fun, amazing growth, and a lot of a lighter load then I’m used to getting from Above.

No doubt, even if I wasn’t ‘due’ for another test right now, writing this will seal the deal. But that’s ok. It won’t erase what a wonderful start of the year it’s been. I hope I’ll cherish these simple sweet memories for a while.

It’s ok to get upset when bad things happen. For me, acknowledging it’s hard, and that each test pushes me past what I think I can do, even as I usually come out ok, is how I get the strength to pull together and move on with life. But there’s a flip side. You have to knowledge the good. Believe it or not, I just did.

Thank you G-d, from the bottom of the healthy heart You gave me, written with the fingers that feel pretty good today, recognized with the amazing brain You gave me to use, on the computer that works well, for a day that was good not just in hindsight, but right here and now.

Tisha B’Av update 2

It’s early afternoon here, but Tisha b’Av’s over in Israel. (They’re singing at the Kotel, and it gives me the chills.) I’ve cried myself dry over the past few weeks, and now I’m not sure what to feel. Cold. Last year, I wrote in my journal

this year we fasted for the last Tisha B’Av.

And I can write it again, this year, with equal faith. And again, try to hope it’s true.

But if the rest of the year, as Mim writes, is about the future, and hoping every day, today is for thinking about the past. For me, it’s about thinking, ‘We had a whole year to try. We tried. And we hoped. And we yearned. But guess what? It’s time to wake up and realize that we didn’t get it right this year.

And even if the Moshiach came tomorrow, that wouldn’t change the past thousands of years. All the tragedies. If so many years of history are hard to comprehend, think about this year. We can never totally erase the impact of this, or this, or this, or anything else on the news.

Like I said, I’m not sure what to say. Today is a combination of mourning the past and working towards the future. A day of hope, and a day of despair. Not only hope, because we too need to work to make the Redemption happen, not just rest on our laurels. Not just despair, because without hope, we will fall to depression. This life wouldn’t upset us so much if we had nothing better to hope for. But today, we need to stop saying, “Tomorrow,” and instead ask

“What about Yesterday?”

Because if we don’t think about the past, how can we think about the future?

Still clinging on

Waking up this morning was a real shock to the system. It hit me, suddenly. Today is Friday. The fast is in 48 hours– less, even. Somehow, I didn’t think I’d still be here. Moshiach, where are you? We were supposed to meet yesterday!

That’s the one hard thing of constant belief and optimism, of still being a complete Maamin no matter what. You will get let down. And it hurts. If you intensely believe that the Redemption will come that day, watching the sun go down can shatter you. Even as you think, ‘so tomorrow, then,’ a voice says, ‘why not today?’ Even as you say ‘there’s one more weekday until Tisha b’Av,’ it’s easy to think, ‘we’re running out of time. We had a week and now we have a day.’

I don’t give up. Even when a car horn in the silence makes me stiffen and my heart pound. Even when there’s Shofar blowing somewhere in the building, and someone jokingly yells ‘Moshiach,’ and even as you scowl for them making fun of something so sacred, you wonder if they could be right. And you cry when they’re not.

This turned into a very long good morning. But you understand, don’t you? What it’s like to have a shattered spirit but still cling to hope. One can’t always just say, ‘So if not today, then tomorrow,’ with a smile. If the ‘not today’ doesn’t cause pain, where will you get the strength for the ‘tomorrow?’ Sometimes, the roller coaster of hope and despair gets the better of me.

But today, I’ll go down fighting. Moshiach won’t just randomly show up. He’s waiting for us to bring him in.

Scared, but with faith

Tisha B’av scares me. Lucky mentioned it, so I’ll elaborate

I looked at the calender and saw that this year, the actual date of the ninth of Av is a Shabbat. The fast is on the tenth of Av this year. And that seemed really surreal to me. On the one hand, it’s the saddest day in the Jewish calendar year. Postponing the fast doesn’t change the date of all the sad things that happened. (Also see the rest of Chabad.org on the subject.) On the other hand, it’s Shabbat. We’re commanded to rejoice. Even if you can forget the date, the fast is lurking right around the corner, reminding you to drink plenty of water and not eat anything that will make you feel sick the next day.

And then I was thinking how if the Shabbat Project ever did another one this year, this would be the perfect week for it. But no, that would never happen. Something really drastic would have to happen for them to whip together a worldwide Shabbat campaign at such short notice. And then it brought me back to where I started.

Drastic things do happen. Like last year. And last year, we promised ourselves that this would be the last time we fasted and mourned. And I believed it. It seemed impossible to me that the world would not wake up and fix things. That we would not wake up and fix things. That I would not wake up and fix things.

Tisha b’Av scares me beacuse I’m scared of living in another year of Galus. We can’t last much longer. S0 G-d, who cares too much to give up on us, shakes us to wake us up before it’s too late. And those shakes HURT. Bombing, wars, mass antisemitism. We confuse the symptoms for the disease, but really, though life is calmer now, we’re still facing the same core problem. And already, we’re being shaking up again. Thank G-d, the bombs landed an unoccupied area. Thank G-d, nothing terrible happened during the protest in London.

But how much longer before we’re shaken up again? That’s what scares me, even more than seeing our nation fall more every day. These symptoms tell us how bad things are. But in and of themselves, they are sooo painful.

I’m not writing this to give up hope. Not at all. I may feel desperate, but I haven’t given up yet. If we take this message to heart, there will be no need to fear anymore. I know I say this every year, but it needs to be said again. G-d will keep on shaking us. And we will not give up.

Please help me. We’ve all made mistakes this year. But we’ve learned that we can come together, and the echos of last summer’s unity still live on. Wake them up!

אני מאמין באמונה שלמה בביאת המשיח .ואף על פי שיתמהמה, עם כל זה אחכה לו בכל היום שיבוא I believe with complete faith in the coming of the Moshaich. Even if he delays, I wait for him every day.

It sounds so simple. But maybe if we truly believe this, it will be easier for us to take the final step forward in all our actions. If we remember this, that Moshiach is on our doorstep, that he is just waiting to know the time is right for him to enter…

Another New User

Welcome to Lady Ziva, another new member of the team. We’re so glad to have you. Every new person has what to offer and I’m looking forward to seeing what special things you can share with us. You already made my day for signing up!

Thank you, Mim, for recruiting such a royal staff!

Remember that the contest is still running from our previous new user post.

Congratulations to Mim, Lady Ziva, and Princess Sarite and all our other readers for whom summer has officially started. Though school is out, the world at large is still filled with kindness in spite of (or even maybe because of) the heat. Keep your eyes peeled!

New User

Welcome to our newest user, Princess Sarite. Welcome to the team, we’re so glad to have you.

Mim told me that she promised her a big treat for signing up. I’d like to sweeten the deal.

The next three people to sign up and chime in on what her prize should be will also get a reward.

Hurry, hurry!

Thinking about others

Play breakout was at our school  this week. I got a fairly minor part, but this isn’t about me.

Even though I had promised myself that I wouldn’t get upset, that for various reasons a big part wouldn’t be practical for me, and that if I was honest, I simply couldn’t act well enough, it did hurt a little. The mains are well, so amazing. Really cool this year. You know what I mean- if our play was a 5000 page novel, I’d read it just for them.

So when someone, (not a close friend but I’m working on getting along with her,) asked me what part I had, I couldn’t keep a slight note of regret out of my voice.

She told me what I’d been telling myself all along, but she made it seem real. “You know, it’s really the little parts that make a difference. They’re the ones everyone remembers. In Aladdin, the genie has an even smaller part than the tiger. But without him, there would be no story.” Of course, I’m paraphrasing, but how could I remember something so perfect word for word?

I thanked her for her sincere words and walked away, remembering that at least I got a part at all. And it wasn’t even just two lines. And then I remembered something.

“So, what about you? What part did you get?”

“Oh, me? I’m (insert main part here.)”

Unbelievable.

Hy”D

No news is good news. That’s not always true. Snow days are good news. Babies born are good news. The arrival of Moshiach, speedily in our days, will probably be the most hotly posted good news on the internet.

But there is a element of truth to the saying. When I got greeted this morning with ‘Have you checked the news yet?’ as I have heard so often in the past year, I only felt dread and fear.

I still only know the bare details- but enough to feel sad and sickened.

After the tragic kidnappings, we all thought- this will be our last tragedy. We keep being proven wrong. Why?

The achdus levels we have now are amazing. We are so close, so near to our ultimate goal. How many more tragedies do we need to shock us awake? Even if Moshiach came (may it be so) right today, things would never be exactly as they were. We could not erase the shock, the loss of life, the grief of their families and of everyone. But we can ensure, with every drop of goodness and kindness that we posses, that it never happen again.

We are so close. Please, my friends, let us eradicate every last drop of sinat chinam in our hearts. We have gone so far from Sinat chinam- hating one another. All we need is Ahavat Chinam- to love one another.

Remember the story of Kamsa and Bar Kamsa? If we could create a world where we could ensure that that would never happen again- Moshiach would belong in that world. We just need to love one another- to be polite, respectful, to temper the criticism, teasing, and arguing with a handful (or a heart-full) of understanding, friendship and patience.

Please, my friends.