web analytics
April 28, 2015 / 9 Iyar, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post


Life In Fragments

I’m relaxing on the sofa watching Shira, my 11-year-old, patiently teaching baby Sara Leah how to build a tower with her blocks, when the tranquil peace is suddenly shattered. Sara Leah has noticed an intriguing, sharp object on a high shelf. She climbs up to grab it, only to have it swiftly pulled away by her older, vigilant sister. Sara Leah wails loudly and inconsolably. Innovative Shira sprints to action and finds a colorful new book to read to her sister.


Within seconds, this minor tragedy has been averted as Sara Leah nestles comfortably on Shira’s lap, engrossed in the tale.


The scene reminded me of how just a few months back, I took Sara Leah to the doctor for her scheduled inoculation. One moment she was screaming over the pain of the shot; but the next she was contently sucking on her lollipop treat that I had brought precisely for this purpose, her head snuggled contentedly over my shoulder.


Toddlers, even more than older children, are notorious for their changing moods. One moment they are in absolute bliss over a new toy or activity, only to be followed by a state of utter distress because something is being denied them. And vice versa.


It’s not that Sara Leah’s pain was not real. At that point, when the object was taken away, her whole world had collapsed. The denied toy might be trivial, but for that moment, it became her passion, need and obsession.


She didn’t consider how trivial the forbidden object was compared to her parents’ love for her. She didn’t think about the warm home that surrounds her, her many toys and prizes, or all the other far more wonderful things in her life. To her, her world had just caved in because she was unable to get that little something that she so craved.


On the other hand, even when she was suffering real pain over the needle’s prick, the coveted piece of candy immediately distracted her, enabling her to forget her suffering. Her worldview suddenly turned positively jubilant, merely as a result of a newly acquired lollipop.


A child is imprisoned within the moment. She cannot see beyond it.


The context of past and future is lost on her because her mind has not yet sufficiently matured to assimilate a continuity of past to present, or the concept of future. Nor is there an appreciation of context – of this denied pleasure vis-a-vis for all other toys or belongings that she owns. Sara Leah, like all children, sees only what is before her – this moment, this toy, this lollipop.


Sara Leah has a vision and perception that is fragmented.


Sitting on the couch watching Sara Leah’s fickle moods reminded me of my own limited perception. Just last week, I was having a bad day, everything was going wrong and my dour mood reflected it. Then, at the end of the day, a small gift and kind word suddenly changed it all, as my mood – just like my baby’s – suddenly turned positively optimistic.


Why my vacillation between a sour mood and the sudden jubilant change? Because adults, too, have a fragmented vision – similar to a child’s -due to our state of living in galut.


Galut is usually translated as “exile.” But galut is not simply a state of banishment from our land or our inability to live as practicing Jews.


Galut means being imprisoned within a fragmented perception of reality on all levels – fragmentation in time, space, self and community. It affects how we view ourselves and others, and all the events in our lives. It is our inability to see the underlying unity in all of reality.


We don’t see the connection between events in our lives, the people in our lives, or even aspects of ourselves. We view people as separate from us, rather than as part of a unified, symbiotic whole. We view time and events as separate and disjointed with no theme of a purpose. The past is a “memory” that is not lived with in the moment, and there is no concept or vision of a future. The here and now is all that is real and palpable.


That is why those small issues in my life become so overpowering on those days that I am in such a lousy mood, and cause me (and others) so much suffering. And that is why Sara Leah, on her own baby level, too, can’t overcome being denied one object until she is granted the diversion of another.


When I am imprisoned within the moment, I am unable to see beyond this particular problem that I am confronting, or the streak of bad luck that I am currently experiencing. These negative aspects of my life are senseless to me, and thus painful.


Geulah (redemption), on the other hand, is seeing the wholeness, unity and underlying G-dliness within creation. It is the perception of the connecting thread and the unifying force in everything – people, places and events. It is viewing each event as leading up to a purpose and having a mission and reason; while understanding that there will be a grand finale when all these loose ends will be wholesomely tied together.


That is why the Hebrew word for exile, golah differs only in one letter from its counterpart, geulah – redemption. Golah is missing the aleph (one) contained in geulah. It is lacking the perception of Oneness – the unity, the wholeness, the Divine underlying purpose of its creation.


Without the aleph, we behold the very same world, but it is a world of fragmentation, purposelessness, restlessness and frustrations.


Happiness and fulfillment are lacking because there is no appreciation for the role of the people and things around us. Insert the aleph, though, and context, mission, reason and unity emerges.


Every mitzvah that we do within galut empowers us to draw down this “aleph of geulah” awareness into every facet of our world.


Mitzvah means connection. Every mitzvah uncovers the concealed purpose of this moment, or of this created matter, and thereby connects us all to our Creator.


Because drawing down this aleph consciousness is something that is in the power of each and every one of us.


One day at a time. One mitzvah at a time.


Chana Weisberg is the author of several books, the latest, Divine Whispers-Stories that Speak to the Heart and Soul. She is also a columnist for www.chabad.org’s  Weekly Magazine. Weisberg lectures worldwide on issues relating to women, faith, relationships and the Jewish soul. To book a talk for your community or for information on her books or speaking schedule, please contact: 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 “Life In Fragments”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Israeli rescue volunteers confer with Chabad emissary in Kathmandu, Rabbi Chezki Lifshitz.
Power Blackouts, Supply Shortages Hampering Rescue Efforts in Nepal
Latest Sections Stories
Teens-Twenties-logo

The poetry slam required entrants to compose original poetry with powerful imagery and energetic rhythm bringing their poems to life – making it palpable to the audience.

Teens-Twenties-logo

“I was so inspired by the beautiful lessons I learned and by the holiness around me that I just couldn’t stop writing songs!” she says.

Schonfeld-logo1

But Pi Day is worst of all
I want the extra credit bad
But trying to remember many numbers
makes me sad.

Several thousand Eastern European Jews had escaped Nazi death and Soviet persecution by fleeing to Shanghai, China.

Now that we’re back to chometz, it’s just the right time to give thought to our wellbeing. Who doesn’t want to lose a few bulky matzah-and-potato pounds? Who wouldn’t like to eat smarter and feel better? If you’re like most people I know, these are probably the first things you’d like to address. It’s time […]

My mother-in-law and I have had our problems since the beginning of my marriage.

It was Lia van Leer who changed the image of filmmaking in Israel so that it is now seen as an expression of culture and not mere entertainment.

“People who never buy cookbooks are getting this one,” said Victoria. “They read it cover to cover and find it so interesting.”

We have recently witnessed how other minorities deal with even perceived danger aimed at their brothers and sisters. They respond in great numbers.

The Hebrew Academy students took part in all categories and used successful and innovative techniques to achieve their goals.

“The objective behind establishing small communities as places for relocation was a remedy for the excessive cost of housing and education in the large New York metropolitan market,” Mr. Savitsky explained.

Jewish Democrats did not entirely trust the son of Joseph Kennedy, a man broadly considered to be both anti-Semitic and pro-Nazi.

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/life-in-fragments/2006/03/29/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: