web analytics
November 28, 2014 / 6 Kislev, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
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.



Feminine Soul

Dear Mrs. Weisberg,

The present era is particularly harsh, especially for the families in Israel. When I was a student at the Hebrew University some 15 years ago, a classmate of mine admired my little boy. Yet she said she could not bring a child into the world who might be blown up by terrorists. I felt sorry for her at the time, but now I realize that her decision was a moral one. A year later, she did have her own child. It seems that the instinctual need for children superseded her moral decision.

I think back on the Hebrew slave women who insisted on bringing children into the world against their husbands’ refusal. Who was morally correct? If Hashem has decreed that we must undergo 300 years of slavery, or 300 years of being blown up, do we have to help Him? Do we have to be his partner in forcing suffering on innocent children?

I want my children to have hope in a brighter future. Reality to me seems otherwise.

Yet I did force my children to live in this world, cruel or not, and I want them to have the most positive outlook possible. How do you deal with these dilemmas yourself as a parent?

Sara


Dear Sara,

You touch some very interesting questions in your letter. I can almost feel your pain, sensitivity and empathy in every word that you write. You are hurting for the pain and suffering of so many people. You feel the suffering is unfair and do not want to be a part of it. I commend the depth of your sensitivity and caring.

But I also feel that caring and sensitivity needs to be directed productively, rather than just “giving up” on it all and saying to G-d, “We want no part in such a world.”

The issues that you bring up can be asked about any form of pain that we encounter in life. Our world is full of pain. For some reason, the world was set up in such a way that sometimes we only grow through these “growing pains”. Every time a child learns how to ride a bike, he invariably skins his knees. When a child begins school, he is full of anxiety and emotional separation pain. Does that mean we stop the child from learning to ride a bike or from attending school? Do we say to G-d, “Sorry, we don’t want to be a part of such a world, where wherever we turn there inevitably is some pain or hardship?” Of course, not.

The pain that you describe, however, runs deeper than normal growing pains. It is a pain that we see absolutely no purpose in, and we feel, as a result, utter helplessness and hopelessness. However, the fact that we cannot identify a purpose to this pain does not mean that there is none. It means rather that we are limited in our comprehension and constrained by the here and now.

Though we may understand this rationally, this doesn’t lessen our emotional reaction. The history of our people is full of hardship, and you are wondering why we should be a part of it – it seems too much to bear. How can we go on after witnessing it?

Think of the Holocaust survivors, who witnessed the most horrible scenes and destruction. I’m sure they wondered how they could ever find room in their hearts to continue living. Yet, they picked up the pieces and put their lives back together - rebuilding and growing. What is it that allowed these individual to put their lives back together?

I think that they found love. They reached out. They saw that their survival was a reason to live to their fullest, to achieve their utmost. They found the room within themselves somehow to continue.

What gave them the strength? Or for that matter, what gives the strength to the mother in Israel who survives terror and whose family is torn apart, whose babies have died, whose relatives were maimed or left handicapped for life? What gives them the ability to go on?

A common thread in each of these lives seems to be how they push themselves, finding that room within themselves to love and to give more. These heroes respond to hatred, violence, pain, destruction and horrible havoc by finding love, finding a meaning and purpose to go on. They’ve been squeezed to the limit, but they’ve discovered more room to reach out to others and create love, purpose and meaning.

So, though we can say to G-d, “We don’t want any more of this plan of Yours,” ultimately, we are just denying and hurting ourselves. This does not mean to say that you have to accept suffering with happiness. We must do whatever we can to eradicate the evil and suffering. Moreover, we must continue to pray, beg, demand and object to G-d for all the suffering that He allows in our world. In fact, He desires and is waiting for such prayers. Even knowing that ultimately we “grow” from the suffering, we beg G-d to stop it, because being Infinite, He can find another way to help us grow without this pain. We do not, nor should we justify any evil or any pain. But, by the same token, the way that we must react is by fighting this evil, by squeezing ourselves that much more ? even when we feel squeezed to the limit – to discover somewhere deep down a greater love to extend to another.

I admire your sensitivity and care for others. But don’t use it to give up on life. Use it rather to do more, help more, love more. In this way, you can achieve the greatest fight against evil – and cause the ultimate end of evil when only peace and happiness will fill our world, with the coming of Moshiach.


Chana Weisberg is the author of “The Crown of Creation” and “The Feminine Soul”. She is the dean of the Institute of Jewish Studies in Toronto and is a scholar in residence for www.askmoses.com. She is also a columnist for www.chabad.org‘s Weekly Magazine. Mrs. Weisberg lectures regularly on issues relating to women, relationships and mysticism and welcomes your comments or inquiries at: weisberg@sympatico.ca

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 “Feminine Soul”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
IDF Chief Rabbi Rafi Peretz delivers lecture.
IDF Chief Rabbi: Nothing is Holy to Muslims on Temple Mount except Al Aqsa
Latest Sections Stories
Collecting-History-logo

Not as well known, however, is Keller’s involvement with Jewish and Israeli communities.

Rabbi Maurice Lamm

Creativity without clarity is not sufficient for writing. I am eternally thankful to Hashem for his gift to me.

This core idea of memory is very difficult to fully comprehend; however, it is essential.

Sometimes the most powerful countermove one can make when a person is screaming is to calmly say that her behavior is not helpful and then continue interacting with the rest of the family while ignoring the enraged person.

“Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples shall divide within you.”

Divorce from a vindictive, cruel spouse can be a lifelong nightmare when there are offspring.

There were many French Jews who jumped at the chance to shed their ancient identity and assimilate.

As Rabbi Shemtov stood on the stage and looked out at the attendees, he told them that “Rather than take photos with your cellphones, take a mental photo and keep this Shabbat in your mind and take it with you throughout your life.”

Yeshiva v’Kollel Bais Moshe Chaim will be holding a grand celebration on the occasion of the institution’s 40th anniversary on Sunday evening, December 7. Alumni, students, friends and faculty of the yeshiva, also known as Talmudic University of Florida, will celebrate the achievement and vision of its founders and the spiritual guidance of its educational […]

The yeshiva night accommodates all levels of Jewish education.

Recently, Fort Lauderdale has been the focus of international news, and it has not been about the wonderful weather.

Rabbi Sacks held the position of chief rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth for 22 years until September 2013.

More Articles from Chana Weisberg

We’re on one of those really long family road trips. The kind that parenting experts advise will imprint fond memories on your children’s psyche. (How’s that for guilt?) And the kind on which you never leave home without a bottle of Tylenol and your favorite cup of strongly caffeinated, black coffee.

We’re on one of those really long family road trips. The kind that parenting experts advise will imprint fond memories on your children’s psyche. (How’s that for guilt?) And the kind on which you never leave home without a bottle of Tylenol and your favorite cup of strongly caffeinated, black coffee.

Last week, I bought a new brand of detergent.

It promises to remove all stains, even those stubborn, impossible to remove ones–or your money back. Guaranteed.

Last week, I bought a new brand of detergent.

It promises to remove all stains, even those stubborn, impossible to remove ones–or your money back. Guaranteed.

From the great synagogue in Tel Aviv to his performances in the role of Jean Valjean in the hit Broadway show Les Miserables, Dudu Fisher is an international star singer and cantor.

From the great synagogue in Tel Aviv to his performances in the role of Jean Valjean in the hit Broadway show Les Miserables, Dudu Fisher is an international star singer and cantor.

He looks at me with such a wistful expression in his clear blue eyes. His young shoulders are sagging and he appears to be carrying the world’s burdens.

He looks at me with such a wistful expression in his clear blue eyes. His young shoulders are sagging and he appears to be carrying the world’s burdens.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/jewess-press/feminine-soul-2/2004/10/27/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: