web analytics
September 21, 2014 / 26 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



One Woman’s Journey (Part One)


Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

Over the years I’ve received letters from all over the world in which people share feelings and thoughts they’ve experienced upon becoming became Torah observant. Usually these letters arrive not long after the writers had heard one of my speeches. No matter where a particular speech took place, and no matter whether I spoke the language or had to use a translator, the magic always works. In reality, it’s not magic at all but a little voice in the soul – the “Pintele Yid,” that spark of G-d’s Word engraved on all our neshamahs. Here is one recent letter.

Dear Rebbetzin Jungreis,

I have been on a long journey that started a few years ago when I met my husband in Jerusalem. We were both studying in Israel. My husband was already a ba’al teshuvah and I was on the road to becoming one. We traveled from a small suburban town outside Los Angeles to consult with you last year at the Hineni Center in New York.

There is a huge difference between a committed ba’al teshuvah and someone who is still struggling with some of the mitzvot. To my husband it was all clear and simple – Torah was the only way to go. But to me it was still not so clear-cut.

Both sets of our parents were secular and resentful of our commitment to Torah. My husband’s parents, however, had sort of adjusted to the new reality. My parents could not come to terms with it. My mother thought I’d lost my mind. Nevertheless she loves me and I love her and thank G-d our relationship was never threatened.

We would visit my parents regularly. At first these visits were a little uncomfortable. Their house wasn’t kosher so we’d bring our own paper dishes, plastic utensils and food. My parents took umbrage to that as well.

We had been blessed with a harmonious life, more or less, and now that harmony was threatened. Just the same, my husband and I were careful to maintain our relationships. Every Erev Shabbos we would call to wish them a Good Shabbos and our adorable little girl would get on the phone to wish them one as well.

As you may recall, what prompted us to take that long trip to New York and consult with you was my husband’s request that I take another step in my Torah journey and cover my hair. I have always tried to be careful in my observance of Shabbos, kashrut, and family purity, but covering my hair was just too much. In our community women don’t cover their hair – we are members of a small Orthodox synagogue and even the rebbetzin doesn’t cover hers. How would my friends react? Additionally, my hair is one of my best features and to cover it was just too much of a test. In other words, my vanity was involved.

Your Thursday night Torah class greatly inspired us. After that session you invited us to your office to discuss our problem. Your words entered my heart. I came to understand that I should be so grateful to have a husband who was inspiring me to go higher and higher on the ladder of Torah. Even so, that little voice kept saying “No, no, no!” and presenting me with all kinds of rationalizations as to why I should not take this step.

And now to my good news: A few weeks ago I covered my hair for the first time all day on Shabbos. You had told me that if nothing else I should at least cover my hair in honor of that sacred day. This is meant not only as a letter of appreciation but also of “nachas” – so that you may know how your words changed me, as they have changed so many others.

I’ve been researching sheitels but so far haven’t had any luck in finding an affordable one in my blonde color. So I wore a beautiful tichel that Shabbos when I took my weekly walk to my parents’ house. I was self-conscious, walking with my hair visibly covered in the neighborhood I’d grown up in, but I did it.

To my surprise, my father, who was the first one to greet me didn’t notice anything different. My mother, however, asked, “Why are you wearing that scarf on your head like a Muslim woman? Your hair is so beautiful, why would you want to do that?”

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.

No Responses to “One Woman’s Journey (Part One)”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
ISIS seized control of Quneitra, at least temporarily, towards the end of August 2014.
Israel Watching Northern Border with Syria, Lebanon
Latest Judaism Stories
Hertzberg-092614

Perhaps the most important leadership lesson Elkana taught us is to never underestimate the difference a single person can make.

Teller-Rabbi-Hanoch-NEW

“he’s my rabbi” the Black painter said with pride, pulling out a photo of the Rebbe from his wallet

Rabbi Avi Weiss, head of theYeshivat Chovevei Torah. Rabbi Asher Lopatin will be replacing him as head of the school.

The Torah notes that even when we are dispersed God will return us to Him.

Rabbi Sacks

Simply, for Rambam the number 14 (2×7) was his favored organizing principle.

One of the cornerstones of our Jewish life is chesed, kindness. Chesed can only be taught by example

Our understanding of what is and what is not possible creates imagined ceilings of opportunity for us.

This young, innocent child gave me a powerful, warm surge of energy and strength.

The Chafetz Chaim answered that there are two forms of teshuvah; teshuvah m’ahava and teshuvah m’yirah.

Question: I recently loaned money to a friend who has been able to repay only part of it. This was an interest-free loan. We exchanged a signed IOU, not a proper shtar with witnesses, since I have always trusted her integrity and only wanted a document that confirms what was loaned and what was repaid. Now that shemittah is approaching, what should I do? Should I forgive the loan? And if my friend is not able to repay it, may I deduct the unpaid money from my ma’aser requirement?

Name Withheld

A Role Reversal
‘Return, O Wayward Sons…’
(Chagigah 15a)

When the Kleins returned, however, they were dismayed to see that the renters did a poor job cleaning up after themselves.

In Parshas Re’eh the Torah tells us about the bechira to adhere to the commandments of Hashem and refrain from sin. In Parshas Nitzavim, the Torah tells us that we have the choice to repent after we have sinned.

As Moshe is about to die, why does God tell him about how the Israelites will ruin everything?

Jonah objected to God accepting repentance based on ulterior motives and likely for short duration.

This week’s parsha offers a new covenant; a covenant that speaks to national life unlike any other

More Articles from Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis
Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

One of the cornerstones of our Jewish life is chesed, kindness. Chesed can only be taught by example

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

“There is nothing new under the sun” is as valid today as it was yesterday.

The time immediately preceding Mashiach’s arrival is likened to the birth pangs of a woman in labor.

If we regard pain and suffering as mere coincidence, we will feel no motivation to examine our lives

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

Gratitude=Great Attitude. Appreciation is always appropriate.

The two words “thank you” have no time expiration; even if spoken after many years they’re as potent as ever.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/rebbetzins-viewpointrebbetzin-jungreis/one-womans-journey/2013/05/14/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: