web analytics
August 21, 2014 / 25 Av, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat (L) visits the JewishPress.com booth at The Event. And the Winners of the JewishPress.com Raffle Are…

Congratulations to all the winners of the JewishPress.com raffle at The Event



Matir Assurim — A True Teshuvah Story

Dumas-041114

“In every generation we are obligated to see ourselves as having personally gone out of Egypt.” – The Haggadah                 

Ellen Shaefer was searching for relief. She was so uncomfortable and yet, just when she thought she had found a normal facility, she saw there was no door! People could see her. She was exposed. Like any human being, she needed privacy and this repeating experience continued to be horribly humiliating. The need was always the same, only the scene had distressing variations.

Sometimes she discovered a “communal bathroom:” a long, barren, primitive place with peeling paint and guards at the entrance to the windowless, stinking room with twenty holes in the floor. There was absolutely no separation, no division whatsoever between one privy and the next. The guards weren’t looking in her direction; their backs were facing the fields beyond. This offered no comfort since they could turn around at any second.  Her anxiety suddenly made her wake up.

This disturbing degradation was a recurring nightmare.  Why was she having it?  What did it mean? The images were so real, but why was she haunted by memories that were not hers?

Ellen Shaefer was a quiet girl.  She kept her inner world to herself, not even telling her parents about what had started soon after their first visit to Israel.  They didn’t need to know how terrified she had been at Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem.  It was there that she had encountered the terrorizing photos of unspeakable horror, including the most startling one of all, the one of her! A little girl with the same large, brown eyes as hers, staring mournfully.

She was only nine years old when the nightmares of places she had never been, began to pursue her.  Running frantically through forests, her heart pounding, about to burst, nearly paralyzed by fear that she would stumble, fall and be caught. Or she was dashing past a maze of buildings, passing one dead-end alleyway after another, soldiers chasing her as she desperately searched for somewhere, anywhere, to hide…

In her waking time, childhood games of hide-and-seek were very serious for her. She knew that hiding successfully meant life.  She found safety wedged between the wall and furnace in their basement, or on the uppermost shelf in the closet under the stairs. Squishing herself above the thick heating pipes gave her a perfect look-out position from where she could watch her siblings searching for her.  Storage cellars with trap doors under woven rugs, a small door in the ceiling in her brother’s closet that led to the attic, the unobtrusive, dusty cubicle behind the wall facade in her neighbor’s home, the unused milk delivery shunt that connected the kitchen to the outer courtyard of the old brick house – these were all choice spots that Ellen intuitively knew were excellent hiding places.

Strong endurance was also crucial for survival, so Ellen worked to excel in all the sports her school offered. She had to be the strongest and fastest in order to counter the immobilizing leaden leg sensation that crippled her ability to flee and escape from her pursuers.

The unwanted nightmares forced her to critically question her complacent surroundings. Growing up in what seemed like the safe harbor of America did not fool her. She was followed by the shadows of the Six Million, by the ever so subtle awareness of their vanished presence. They were no more but she was alive.  She realized with a shudder that every Jew she would ever meet in her lifetime could have been one of the murdered victims, the Jewish martyrs.  Haunted by their whispers, she lived with an eerie sense of awe and appreciation for the privilege, the gift of life, even though she didn’t actually know what the purpose was for her own life. Nor did she understand the inner restless feelings that compelled her to discover meaning. She only knew there was something beyond accumulating possessions.

About the Author: Chava Dumas is an educator, certified doula, women’s health advocate and support counselor for over three decades. She is now the author of “Preparing for Pesach B'simchah! 40 Lifesaving Lessons to Help You Make It to the Finish Line!” – more than 272 pages of helpful advice for success in keeping a perspective on what really matters, Torah hashkafa, Rabbinic guidelines, humor, true stories and fun. It’s more than how to make and live Pesach with depth and simchah – it's about how every day can be a special celebration of the gift of life!


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.

One Response to “Matir Assurim — A True Teshuvah Story”

  1. I Thing of Jonathan Polard…

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
An IAF fighter jet on the way to a mission.
Israel Confirms: 3 Top Hamas Military Commanders Killed in Gaza
Latest Judaism Stories
Azrielli Tower - Shema Yisrael

A bit of (non-Jewish) history can help us understand this week’s Torah portion: In the early 1500s, the Catholic church was being fundamentally challenged by movements which claimed it had monopolized religious power and used to enrich the church and its officials. The most radical of these movements were a particular sect of Anabaptists. Anabaptists […]

Leff-081514

“When a mother plays with her child there is an acute awareness of the child. But even when the mother works at a job or is distracted by some other activity, there is a natural, latent awareness of her child’s existence.

Business-Halacha-logo

“Guess what?” Benzion exclaimed when he returned home. “I just won an identical Mishnah Berurah in the avos u’banim raffle.”

The-Shmuz

While it’s clear to you and to me that a 14,000-pound creature can easily break away from the light ropes holding it, the reality is that it cannot.

An Outcast
‘He Shall Dwell Outside His Tent’
(Moed Katan 7b)

Question: The Gemara in Berachot states that the sages authored our prayers. Does that mean we didn’t pray beforehand?

Menachem
Via Email

Based on the opinion of the Ramban, the Territorial School believes that leaving any territory of the Land of Israel in the possession of non-Jews is a violation of a biblical mandate.

“But they told me to come in today,” she said. They gave me this date months ago. It’s not my fault if it’s the wrong day.”

Tosafos there takes issue with Rashi’s view that the letters that are formed in the knots of the tefillin are considered part of the name of Hashem.

Blind obedience is not a virtue in Judaism. God wants us to understand the laws He has commanded us

What does Hashem want of us? That we should protect each other and the awesome heritage He gave us.

Israel is the only place where we have the potential to fulfill our mandate as the chosen people.

The innkeeper smiled and replied, “Why do you think we are dancing? We are dancing because G-d destroyed the Bais HaMikdash!”

One of the manifestations of the immature person is a sense of entitlement.

More Articles from Chava Dumas
Dumas-041114

She was followed by the shadows of the Six Million, by the ever so subtle awareness of their vanished presence.

    Latest Poll

    Do you think the FAA ban on US flights to Israel is political?






    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/holidays/matir-assurim-a-true-teshuvah-story/2014/04/11/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: