web analytics
November 26, 2014 / 4 Kislev, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
IDC Herzliya Campus A Day on Campus

To mark IDC Herzliya’s 20th anniversary, we spent a day following Prof. Uriel Reichman, IDC’s founder and president, and Jonathan Davis, VP for External Relations, around its delightful campus.



Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

Whitney Houston: Didn’t She Almost Have It All?

Whitney Houston

Whitney Houston

Wikipedia says it this way: In 2009, Guiness World Records cited her as the most-awarded female act of all time. Her list of awards includes two Emmy Awards, six Grammy Awards, 30 Billboard Music Awards, and 22 American Music Awards, among a total of 415 career awards as of 2010. Houston was also one of the world’s best-selling music artists, having sold over 170 million albums, singles and videos worldwide.

So, didn’t she almost have it all?

Like all addicts, she knew what was missing – big time.

Rabbi Shais Taub, in his wonderful book God of Our Understanding: Jewish Spirituality and Recovery from Addiction, writes:

Our somethingness is not our true essence. Oneness is our true essence. Not that it bothers all of us equally. Some people can live with it. Some people can’t…. The real problem that lies at the core of addiction is that addicts are people who are in dire need of a relationship with God but are able to substitute fulfilling this need with a behavior that is essentially self-destructive.

The real problem is that a hollow sound reverberates within our souls once our awards get placed on the shelf. Awards, applause, and notoriety only take away the loneliness very briefly.

Drugs, alcohol, , illicit sex, gambling – and of course that whole bag of potato chips – can take away the pain of loneliness for only so long. And then the yearning for that elusive unconditional love only grows more and more intense. And the search gets ever more frantic, with the pain being so unbearable it needs to be kept numbed, so that it can’t be felt at all.

Addicts are those who can’t live feeling alone, which really means apart from God, the only source of unconditional love there actually is. Some people, it seems, can handle the separation, but those more sensitive – with their souls more exposed, and aware of the great love that is missing in their lives – cannot.

We may think babies or pets can love us unconditionally, but that’s not real love; they are just trying to get their needs met. Physical beings can’t love unconditionally – only spiritual entities, with unlimited capabilities, truly can.

If we acknowledge the loneliness that is widespread, and then mine beneath the loneliness, we can discover that each of us is never actually alone. We are all on this amazing journey together – with all of our souls connected and amazingly intertwined.

We are all here to help each other through, revealing the full potential of each of our souls. Whenever the Oneness becomes clear, the love keeps reverberating. Whitney Houston, a sensitive and extraordinarily gifted person, felt what was missing in her life strongly, as indeed many of us have. Being extremely talented, beautiful, powerful or wealthy can, however, lead to extreme anxiety if the source and purpose of one’s great gifts are not embraced over and over again.

Whenever we forget and are cut off from the source of all our blessings, we experience a similar estrangement. This time, we saw it magnified to superstardom size. The pain that comes from feeling isolated – as opposed to feeling spiritually in union with the origin of all blessings – became unbearable.

The cause of all of our addictions is the suffering we experience when our souls become blocked off from the infinite whole of which they are an essential part. Abuse causes that blockage to occur, as the intrinsic value of those victimized – their godliness – becomes negated.

When that connection gets obstructed, addictions are the desperate attempt to seek whatever temporary relief can be found. Relief is sought to escape the despair that results from the perceived loss of that vital bond.

Even all the awards in the world can’t make that kind of hurting end.

We thrive when we experience the deepest pleasure from the most intimate relationship possible – the one between our essence and its Source. When that relationship is viewed as severed, our gratitude dries up too, as we no longer understand from where all our gifts come.

A powerful God-given voice flowed through her. A stirring message can still resonate.
Bracha Goetz leads a spirituality group at Jewish Recovery Houses, coordinates a Jewish Big Brothers and Big Sisters Program in Baltimore, and has written sixteen children’s books including “Remarkable Park” and “Let’s Stay Safe!” She can be contacted at bgoetzster@gmail.com.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

2 Responses to “Whitney Houston: Didn’t She Almost Have It All?”

  1. Hinda Bayla says:

    Well said. If only G-d would reveal him/her self to us in an easier way.

  2. Estherhadas says:

    Bracha – you lead a spirituality group and that is nice but addiction isn’t just a spiritual disconnect. Certainly not in Whitneys Houstons case. Whitney had a strong connection to G-d even in the thoes of her addiction. It was the pain that kept her going back – the pain of the critics saying her singing was, “too white.” The pain of dimming her own light within her marriage in order that her husband shouldn’t feel less b/c he was not as successful and instead of cheering her on, he took advantage of that light being dim and added to her feelings of less then, even tho she was on top of the world when she met and married him. It was that old voice from the critics and most probably from her husband as well that said, “Whitney, you are not good enough, you are not enough.” It was the pain of people accusing her of being somehow powerful when all she did was a job she loved, a job she did extraordinarily well, a job that brought so much joy to so many people all around the world.

    I am a nurse and an addictions therapist and I just can not believe you minimized any pain that Ms. Houston felt and simplified her addicition by saying she had a spiritual disconnection when that is simply not true. People are more complicated than that and someone in the public eye as Whitney was, that comes with it’s own negativity and constant violations of privacy as well. Whitney had concerns about her voice not being what it used to be, the press writing about that and some audiences reacting to that. She was healing from a broken marriage with a husband who was not faithful and afterwards, she had legal trouble from her ex-husband as well who was looking for spousal support even tho their pre-nup specifically stated that neither one would recieve spousal support in case of divorce and she was trying to raise her daughter, whom she loved with all her heart and soul – Whitney loved being a mommy. When did this woman get to exhale?

    If you iisten to her last album, you will hear her connection to G-d shining through in the song, “I Look To You.” And also, “I Didn’t Know My Own Strength,” both songs which had a significant influence on me and gave me strength at a low point in my own life. Being “beautiful, powerful and wealthy” was not Whitneys downfall and I don’t think she thought herself as “powerful.” I think she knew she was pretty but she also had self doubts, as we all do.

    Addiction has many pitfalls and it is a disease of falling off the wagon and getting back on – most folks need more than one rehab in order to get it and stay sober. One also has to change people, places and things surrounding them – Whitney needed to change her environment, who was around her, who worked for her – who always had their hands in her pocketbook looking for more. Last but not least, you did not address how some doctors need education in addiction. If more doctors had this education, the ones who treat celebrities wouldn’t be so star struck and interested in the person liking them – giving out perscription drugs inappropriately (or as in Michael Jacksons case, sugery anesthesia for sleep). Doctors who treat celebrities need to be their medical doctor not their friend and they should know – when someone has been to rehab once, twice, three times – they can not have narcotics of any kind and that includes drugs like valium and xanax. It also includes OTC drugs like benedryl.

    What an addict and or alcoholic needs in order to heal are daily 12 step meetings, a sponsor, therapy and yes, a spiritual connection. However, a spiritual connection alone is not enough to help keep one sober; one also needs *human* connections and support within a recovering community, the love and support of family and friends.

    We like to lay blame at the feet of the rich and famous and say that it is some kind of selfishness, greed, and or “power” that “makes them” addicts. This is simply not true. Addicts/alcoholics are poor, middle class, black, white, Jewish, etc. When we take the time to educate ourselves, then we can start to understand this disease of addiction much better than we do now. When we start to view celebrities as people, human beings like you and I who have their own issues, problems and concerns, joys and pains, then we can let go of that pedastal of celebrity and our own resentments about that. We might begin to truely understand that people in the public eye are just that, people.

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
A look inside the IAF war room
IDF to Stop Persecution of Observant Soldiers With Beards
Latest Indepth Stories
Israeli Ambassador to Egypt Chaim Koren presents his credentials to President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi on Sunday, Sept. 14, 2014, at the presidential palace in Cairo.

Egypt’s al-Sisi is in an expansionist mood. He wants Israel’s permission to take over Judea and Samaria.

Looters in Ferguson wore masks to avoid being identified -- but the kafiyehs worn by some provided a clue to possible identities.

Cries of justice for Michael Brown drowned out any call for justice for Police Officer Daryl Wilson.

got your back

Cloistered captain Obama, touts his talents and has the temerity to taunt Bibi,his besieged ally

Gush-Katif-082412

Former PM Ariel Sharon succinctly said, “the fate of Netzarim (Gush Katif) is the fate of Tel-Aviv.”

“What’s a line between friends?”

Unrest in YESHA and J’m helps Abbas and Abdullah defuse anger, gain politically and appear moderates

A “Shliach” means to do acts with complete devotion and dedication in order to help bring Moshiach.

The pogroms in Chevron took place eighty five years ago, in 1929; the Holocaust began seventy-five years ago in 1939; the joint attack of Israel’s neighbors against the Jewish State of Israel happened sixty-six years ago… yet, world history of anti-Semitism did not stop there, but continues until today. Yes, the primitive reality of Jews […]

“We don’t just care for the children; we make sure they have the best quality of life.”

“Why do people get complacent with the things they’re told?”

Arab opposition to a Jewish State of any size was made known by word and deed in the form of terror

Operation Moses: First time in history that non-blacks came to Africa to free blacks from oppression

As Arabs murder and maim Jews, Jordan’s leaders bark the blood libel of “Israeli aggression.”

Perhaps attacking a terrorist’s legacy broadly and publicly would dissuade others from terrorism?

R’ Aryeh yelled “Run, I’ll fight!” Using a chair against terrorists to buy time so others could flee

Riot started when Muslim students wore the Pal. kaffiyeh and Druze students demanded them removed

More Articles from Bracha Goetz
Whitney Houston

Wikipedia says it this way: In 2009, Guiness World Records cited her as the most-awarded female act of all time. Her list of awards includes two Emmy Awards, six Grammy Awards, 30 Billboard Music Awards, and 22 American Music Awards, among a total of 415 career awards as of 2010. Houston was also one of the world’s best-selling music artists, having sold over 170 million albums, singles and videos worldwide.
So, didn’t she almost have it all?

Suzanne called me today about the newest humiliation she had just experienced. At the gym, a personal trainer loudly reprimanded her for trying to help another person with some equipment, and he did so in front of nearly everybody who was working out there.

This is a handy little jingle for parents to keep in mind, but even though it’s short, my rhyme is not for little children. In order to adequately prepare our children we must first be aware of the red flags ourselves. Then we need to schedule an “annual check-up” with our children and clearly and calmly bring up the subject of personal safety.

Over 30 years ago, Rebbetzin Chana Bracha Siegelbaum had not yet found the world of wisdom in the Torah.

Over 30 years ago, Rebbetzin Chana Bracha Siegelbaum had not yet found the world of wisdom in the Torah.

They’re usually especially friendly and charming. They often do plenty of public acts of chesed. This is done in order to look good and gain respectability and positions of authority – and unquestioned access to potential victims. And the fact is, they can do really nice things because they may actually be kind and intelligent people in some ways. But not in other ways.

Chaya’s older yeshiva-bochur brother told her that there was no problem with his touching her body. He told her it wasn’t against the Torah, and he seemed to know a lot more Torah than she did at the tender age of 6. He continued to touch her first over her clothes, but as the years passed, the abuse progressed to actual rape. Eventually he got married and started a family, appearing to function just fine to nearly everyone in the community. However, he left his younger sister, now in her late twenties, crippled – emotionally, sexually and spiritually.

I had recently had the opportunity to sit down with Rabbi Alexander Seinfeld, author of the new book, The Art of Kavana (Devora Publishing, July 2009) and discuss what it means to truly focus on yiddishkeit.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/whitney-houston-didnt-she-almost-have-it-all/2012/02/22/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: