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January 16, 2017 / 18 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘pain’

My Journey Out of Pain

Thursday, December 29th, 2016

None of the pain killers helped.

I had tried a whole variety, including one a friend had told me had serious consequences. “Like what?” I’d asked. “Death,” she’d responded. But my trusted pharmacist said the drug was safe, so I took two. The pills didn’t hurt me (as far as I know) but they didn’t help either.

I was desperate. I’d already seen the doctor, the physical therapist, and the acupuncturist. My lower back and leg pain just got worse.

Finally, I went to the orthopedist. He was booked solid, but the secretary said I could go and wait. I went with my husband; I was in no position to drive. I waited for over an hour. I couldn’t sit at all, and standing was almost no better. I paced, and davened as I passed the fish tank and the secretary’s desk over and over.

I was afraid I would never recover from what I had thought was a minor pulled muscle I suffered doing Pesach cleaning. It didn’t seem so bad at first, but as the weeks went by, the pain got worse and worse. It woke me in the middle of the night.

When I finally got in to see the orthopedist he asked a few questions and offered me pills or shots. The shots, he said, were more effective. I hate needles. (Who doesn’t?) I didn’t hesitate. Shots, please!

The two shots really did help. The pain wasn’t eliminated, but was much better. The orthopedist prescribed big guns pain killers. As instructed, I took one at night, and the next in the morning, both after big meals.

I got so sick to my stomach. I didn’t know it possible to feel so fiercely nauseated. I lay in bed with my dishpan nearby for hours. What could I do? I prayed. And prayed. And finally, I did a cheshbon nefesh.

I’d been reading a book about back pain which said that the real cause was pent up anger. Was I angry at someone? Well, I had a short list of people who I felt had wronged me, but… it was a short list.

I decided that this was not the time for rationalization. I said out loud that I truly forgave who I needed to, by name. Then I committed to contact them, and ask to set things straight between us.

I committed to do a little cheshbon nefesh every night, asking myself how I did that day on my ben adam l’makom, ben adam l’chaveiro, and ben adam l’atzmo (how I did on my relationship to Hashem, to others, and to myself).

I also committed to do more chessed. We have a wonderful tsedaka organization in our neighborhood, Lemaan Achai, and although I am the collector for my building, I decided that I needed to do more.

I thought, of course, of all my failings, but I thought that if I determined to never speak a word of lashon ha-ra again I would fail. I chose to do things I thought I could follow through on.

Eventually, baruch Hashem, the nausea subsided. (Here’s a hint if you must take the type of pain killer which is hard on the stomach – take an antacid beforehand.) I switched pain killers and took antacids beforehand.

I contacted the people I needed to. I got no response from two, but the third, one of my children’s former teachers, wrote a nice note back. I asked for more duties at Lemaan Achai, and was given the job of running the furniture gemach. And I started a short cheshbon nesfesh when I said Shema at night.

Don’t think that I am perfect. I am far from it. But I was so scared with the nausea and pain double whammy, I was smacked into action.

The pain changed; it travelled. I went to a craniosacral therapist, who told me I had a slipped disc. I continued with physical therapy. I stopped taking the pain killers since they did not really help. The pain was less than that night I saw the orthopedist, but was still insistent.

A main obstacle was the inability to sit for long. I felt embarrassed when I’d go to a lecture or a Shabbat meal, and after forty minutes or so I would have to stand. I cringed when people looked at me with pity in their eyes and asked if I was okay. Of course, they were being kind, but I hated being pitied.

Then, I went to the birthday party for a friend (I stood during the speeches) and met a medical massage therapist named Avigayle. Unlike the p.t. who told me that her goal was not for me to be able to sit a long time, Avigayle told me I would get all better! She lent me a book about emunah and told me that I should put my faith in Hashem more.

She stood me in front of the mirror, and showed me how to adjust my posture so that my shoulders would be even, and my knees unlocked. I was diagnosed with scoliosis as a child, and have had poor posture for years. Avigayle showed me to focus on standing properly, “So you don’t get to be a hunched over old lady!”

I think of myself as a person with a strong sense of emunah. Of course I know that everything is in Hashem’s hands. But after reading the book, I realized Avigayle was right. I really needed to put myself into Hashem’s hands, and believe with all my heart that He would heal me.

I realized that the trouble I was having was Hashem’s way of giving me a catalyst to start doing exercises to strengthen my muscles now, and to learn how to modify my posture so that I won’t be in pain when I am older.

I often talk to Hashem, but Avigayle encouraged me to talk more. So I did. I told Hashem over and over that I could be a better mother and wife and a better servant to Him if I could function better. And, in my requests for myself I added a friend who has had nearly Job-level troubles.

In addition to the spiritual work, I also did my exercises. And I saw improvement slowly, and then almost from seemingly out of the blue, I felt I was back to my old self.

I washed dishes tonight. Did you realize that takes a little bending? The p.t. forbade me from any bending or lifting; doing either had been painful. I thanked Hashem for giving me the ability to wash those dishes. I would so rather be able to do them, than not.

Baruch Hashem my pain is gone. I didn’t know if I would ever be able to say that! My pain has been replaced by a tremendous sense of hakarat hatov.

Jolie Greiff

Soul Talk – Coping With Tragedy: Turning Pain Into Power [audio]

Tuesday, December 6th, 2016

Tragedy and crisis can catch us in an unexpected moment and change our lives forever. How can we most effectively respond to and live with the effects that loss and crisis bring? How do we maintain our faith and rebuild our lives?

Join Rabbi David Aaron and Leora Mandel for a life changing Soul Talk where you will be given tools and perspectives for Coping With Tragedy By Turning Pain Into Power.

We welcome your thoughts and questions: soultalk@israelnewstalkradio.com

Soul Talk 04Dec2016 – PODCAST

Israel News Talk Radio

Keep the Hebron Show Going

Monday, September 23rd, 2013

It happened again.

In 2002, on the first day of the huge Sukkot celebrations, early evening, an Arab terrorist opened fire near the Avraham Avinu neighborhood. As a result, Rabbi Shlomo Shapira from Jerusalem was killed.

Fast forward: Sukkot, September 2013, eleven years later. Almost the same exact time. An Arab terrorist shoots, killing an Israeli soldier, near the “Beit Merkachat” intersection in Hebron. As with Rabbi Shapira, the soldier never really had a chance. A bullet penetrated his neck, leaving an entrance and exit wound. Medical personnel did everything humanly possible. But it wasn’t enough.

Prior to the killing, I could define today as “interesting.” Actually I really don’t know if that’s the right word to use.

More than 10,000 people arrived in Hebron Sunday, filling Ma’arat HaMachpela, walking the streets, visiting the Avraham Avinu neighborhood, all having a good time. One of the day’s highlights was the opening of the Cave of Otniel ben Knaz to Jewish visitors, an event occurring only very few days during the year. This, because the site is located on the “Arab” H1 side of the city.

On holidays, such as today, the 300 meter walk from the “Kikar HaShoter” checkpoint to the holy site is heavily protected, allowing visitors, escorted by soldiers or police, to view and worship at the cave.

But earlier, prior to its opening, I’d received notification of trouble. A firebomb was hurled at soldiers in the area. Rock-throwing, an almost normal occurrence in Hebron, was starting. But the security forces had the situation under control, and dozens and dozens of people walked back and forth to the place.

Me, too. Today was the first day of our special VIP tour. A busload of Hebron friends and supporters visited our newly initiated Tel Hebron overlook, on the roof of Beit Menachem, in Tel Rumeida. They also heard a short talk from Mrs. Tzippy Shlissel (whose father, Rabbi Shlomo Ra’anan, was killed by terrorists in Hebron), and then, too, participated in the walk to the fascinating Cave of Otniel.

I had the privilege to escort a wonderful woman whom I’ve known for about 15 years, Mrs. Ruth Simons, 91 years young, but you’d never know it. When we arrived at the Cave, she climbed up the stairs on her own two legs, entering the site for the first time in her life.

But, honestly, on the way there, and on the way back, I wasn’t entirely relaxed. I’ve done this many times before, and people here, well, sometimes we develop “antennas” which pick up vibrations in the air. And the vibes were definitely there.

Everything and everyone were in place – soldiers, border police, regular police, but, at the same time, booms from stun grenades and rubber bullets being shot at distant attackers, filled the air. It wasn’t, as it usually is, a quiet walk. I was very impressed by my guests. Ruth and her family, who didn’t seem phased in the least. They took it all in stride.

But my insides, my gut, didn’t like it. It is a disgrace for Jews to have to walk down a street to the tune of stun grenades exploding, not too far from them, on a Jewish holiday. Or on any day, for that matter.

But we did it, and that was that.

Later, our guests were treated to a delicious lunch at the Yeshivat Shavei Hebron sukkah and then visited Machpela. After they left, I recalled, for some reason, Rabbi Shlomo Shapira’s murder, as I walked past the site of that terror attack, back to the office.

A little while later, at 6:30, I received a call from my son, who works with security in a community outside of Hebron, asking about the shooting.

“What shooting?”

“There was a shooting and someone was hit.”

It didn’t take long to get preliminary details, where, when, and the victim’s condition: very critical. Together with a few others, we watched soldiers and police running back and forth, huddling, talking in whispers. Ambulances, their red lights flashing, driving by, in all directions. There wasn’t too much else to do, except wait.

Later tonight we’ll meet, and talk, to discuss our reactions.

The first reactions are easily expressible. First, our shock and pain at a young soldier’s death, as a result of an Arab terrorist sniper’s bullet.

David Wilder

Torture

Sunday, August 11th, 2013

Why do we inflict torture on each other so much? We have been doing it from the earliest of times. In Syria rival groups are inflicting the most indescribable and barbaric pain on each other (and let us not forget that Assad’s sub-humans started torturing and castrating children). If the reason for this cruelty were to try to get information that might lead to saving lives, this might arguably leave some room for mitigation. But all I see is primitive sadism and barbarism regardless of what the victims themselves may have inflicted on others. I am completely opposed to any torture. It says something very disturbing about those who inflict it.

Torture is not just the inflicting of pain. We can do that to ourselves in the gym. Military training often forces recruits to undergo deprivation and pain. Endurance athletes willingly drive themselves to suffer. Some sports, such as boxing and extreme fighting, are calculated to cause pain. What we mean by torture is the intentional inflicting of pain by one human on another simply out of sadism or because a state or power has authorized it. There is a nuance. Torture that will inevitably lead to death where there is nothing one can do to stop or reduce the suffering as opposed to torture that might be ended if certain goals are achieved. But they are both evil.

In the ancient times, if you conquered a king or tribe, inflicting pain was both an incentive for victory and an expression of superiority. It gave the victors total control over the vanquished. The more pain you inflicted the happier were your gods. I won’t go into the psychological pathology of this sort of cruelty. Sometimes it was payback for resisting and avenging your own losses. But the most common aim of such torture (other than human sadism, something that has been replicated in recent scientific experiments) was to so terrorize one’s opponents that they would capitulate without a fight. Romans impaled, and left to agonizing and prolonged death, hundreds of thousands of their captives in order to discourage revolt. Genghis Khan inflicted incredible agony on conquered cities to deter others from resisting. There was no escape, nothing one could do to stop the long, drawn-out agony.

Medieval monarchs would hang traitors, then while they were still alive, take them down and castrate them. Then slice open their torsos and pull out their organs for public display. King Edward I, who expelled the Jews, was very keen on hanging, drawing, and quartering. Perhaps there is a connection between being an anti-Semite and being a sadist! They were still burning traitors in the early nineteenth century in England. Twenty thousand spectators witnessed the last one. Impose a terrible death on traitors and others will be less likely to try. That’s what Germans under Hitler did, as well as every other hell associated with that infamous era.

Just as barbaric was the torture used as part of the judicial process. If a suspected criminal survived a ducking in the river or having his body pierced or mangled, this would prove he was in either forgiven by God or in league with the devil. While if he died that was atonement or punishment. You could not win. There is a recognizable change in a victim’s state when he knows he will die regardless. Judicial torture was only banned in England and the USA towards the end of seventeenth century. Confessions achieved through torture were, and sadly still are, often accepted throughout the so-called civilized world, although the methods are slightly less gruesome and less visibly degrading. But that’s not because we humans are any less cruel. Just that we fear public exposure. Gangsters, dictators, and ordinary evil people who feel themselves above or beyond the law continue, around the world, to torture to death thousands of ordinary human beings each year.

I suspect the survival of torture for so long owes as much to the Church as to human nature. Early Christians were tortured by the Romans to such an extent it seems they thought it only fair to do the same to their own theological enemies. The “Holy” Inquisition thought torture would eradicate its own heretics. As a sideline, it might encourage someone to convert to Christianity. Torture persists in some because they were founded on the belief not only that they are the possessors of the sole truth, but also that they had a mission to force it on everyone else if they could. Why is it that before they slash and kill, Muslim fanatics yell out “Allahu Akbar”, implying it is the will of their God? I guess if you think nonbelievers will burn in hell forever, aren’t you doing them a favor if a quick burn now or a slit throat is nothing in comparison?

Jeremy Rosen

If He Is Released, I Will No Longer Be Able to Live

Thursday, August 8th, 2013

Editor’s note: Adi Moses was eight years old when she was injured in a Palestinian terrorist attack that killed her pregnant mother and five-year-old brother.

You know the story of my family. In 1987 a terrorist threw a firebomb at the car my family was traveling in. He murdered my mother and my brother Tal, and injured my father, my brother, his friend and myself. It is a story you know. But me, you do not really know. I was eight years old when this happened.

While my father was rolling me in the sand to extinguish my burning body, I looked in the direction of our car and watched as my mother burned in front of my eyes.

This story did not end that day in 1987. This story is the difficult life I have led since then. I am still eight years old, hospitalized in critical condition. Screaming from pain. Bandaged from head to toe. And my head is not the same. No longer full of golden long hair. The head is burnt. The face, back, the legs and arms, burnt. I am surrounded by family members, but my mother is not with me. Not hugging and caressing. She is not the one changing my bandages.

In the room next door, my brother Tal is screaming in pain. I call out to him to count sheep with me so he can fall asleep. Three months later, little Tal dies of his wounds. I am seated, all bandaged up, on a chair in the cemetery and I watch as my little brother is buried.

For many months I am forbidden to be out in the sun because of the burns, so I wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts to school. In July and August as well. And under the clothes I wear a pressure suit meant to [prevent hypertrophic] scarring. It is painful and hot and itchy.

Here I am at twelve years old, undergoing another operation to correct a scar that limited movement in my leg. And then I am celebrating my bat mitzvah. And my mother is not at the celebration. So I cry quietly at night and write to her.

I grow older. I don’t like that people in the street stare at me, don’t like it when the cashier at the supermarket asks, “Oh, child, what happened to you?” I don’t like it that every such look and every such question make me run and cry.

I reach the age of fourteen and still live in Alfei Menashe. I have a father, an older brother and friends, I am a good pupil. But I also have unbearable scars. I do not have a mother. So I lay in the road and say to myself that if a car comes, whatever happens, happens. But it doesn’t happen. So I pick myself up and return home. All those years of adolescence, my friends’ preferred activity is to go to the beach. But I don’t go because I have scars. Because I am burnt. And I am ashamed.

Then I am eighteen and want to enlist but I am not drafted. The army refuses to take responsibility for my scars. So I volunteer in the military and serve for a year and a half.

At college I meet new people who, of course, ask me what happened to me. I respond “terror attack.” And they always answer “wow, really? I thought hot water spilled on you when you were little.”

Today I am thirty-four years old, exactly my mother’s age at the time of the attack. From now on she will forever be younger than me. And still, at least four times a week I answer questions about what happened to me.

I am thirty-four years old but the last few days I have returned to being that eight-year-old facing that burning car and waiting for her mother to come out of it. Yitzhak Rabin, who was minister of defense at the time of the attack, promised my dad they would catch the terrorist. And they did. And they sentenced him. To two life sentences and another seventy-two years in prison. And you Cabinet ministers? With the wave of a hand you decided to free him – he who caused all of this story.

Adi Moses

A Nation Of Ballerinas

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

Readers are always asking me how I have the strength to open my heart, to tell my personal story, my struggles, my pain. My saintly father, HaRav HaGaon Avraham HaLevi Jungreis, zt”l, taught us that whenever we have difficult challenges we should share them with others, so that they will be strengthened in dealing with their own tests. My father learned this from our Torah, which relates to us all the painful struggles of our Patriarchs and Matriarchs. “Ma’aseh avos siman la’banim – that which befell our forefathers is a sign for the children” – so that we too might be fortified.

Ours is a generation that has been overwhelmed by “tzarus” – real problems. And yet ours is the “me” generation. We are absorbed with ourselves. We see only our own needs. Very often it happens that when we hear about the tzarus of another, we shrug our shoulders and dismiss our neighbor’s pain.

Here is another lesson we learned from our forefathers: No matter how terrible their pain, no matter how much suffering they endured, they felt the hearts of others, prayed for them and shed tears for them. That too is part of ma’aseh avos siman la’banim. Their responses are our guiding light, teaching us that when we feel despair we are to focus on the needs of others, and this will help us to resolve and deal with our own crises.

Many of you will recall that back in April I wrote an article from my hospital bed in San Diego titled “I Will Keep Dancing.” In it, I described how the nurses had dubbed me a “prima ballerina” as they observed me take my first painful steps.

I asked myself, “Are they mocking me?” But no, they couldn’t be, they were so kind and respectful. They were non-Jews who reverently called me Rebbetzin, and made every effort to pronounce that foreign word properly.

I thought about it and it occurred to me that Hashem was sending me a message. “Esther bas Miriam – don’t you know you are a ballerina? Yes, you may be in a valley but you must skip your way to the mountaintop. Hold on, don’t lose control. Swallow your tears and keep going.”

My daughter reminded me, “Ima, you rose from the ashes of Hitler’s inferno, and so of course you are a ballerina. You will rise again, keep on dancing.”

And so I did. We Jews are all ballerinas. We may fall, but we rise with glorious strength.

I share with you now my new dance. I was on a European speaking tour. My first stop was Paris. Thousands came to listen. We had an awesome Kiddush Hashem. Jews young and old, male and female, secular and observant, all gathered under one roof. The audience was standing room only. Hearts were reawakened to a greater commitment to Torah and mitzvos.

And then there was also the pain, the terrible test that faces Jews of every generation. Our brethren in France are in need of a lot of chizuk – strength. The hatred of Jews is constantly escalating. Tragically, I found the same conditions in communities throughout Europe. Europe has become “Eurabia.”

My last stop before returning to New York was Budapest, where I had the zechus – the merit – to conduct a Shabbaton. Incredibly, three hundred seventy-five people showed up – a spectacular achievement in Hungary. After Shabbos, I was on my way to the gravesites of my holy ancestors, going back many generations, when suddenly my dance was put on hold. I became ill and ended up in a hospital in Budapest. Need I tell you, a hospital in Budapest wouldn’t have been my exact choice as far as hospitals go. But then I remembered yet another teaching from the Patriarchs.

Our father Jacob was finally on his way back to Eretz Yisrael after twenty-two years in exile. He suffered, struggling and going through all manner of trials and tribulations. And yet he never gave up his faith. He was the ultimate “ballerina.” Finally, he came home to Eretz Yisrael. He hoped, he prayed, that now in his old age he would have peace, tranquility and serenity.

But no sooner did he arrive than the most awful calamity occurred – his sons sold their brother Joseph into bondage and told their elderly father that he had been killed by a wild beast.

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

Pollard Collapsed in Jail over the Weekend

Saturday, December 1st, 2012

The committee to release Jonathan Pollard says the Jewish spy was hospitalized after he had collapsed in prison. His condition is unknown. His wife was informed by the prison authorities a short while ago.

A source inside the committee told Ynet that over the past few weeks Pollard has been suffering great pain, but it is not yet known if the that was the cause of his collapse.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/pollard-collapsed-in-jail-over-the-weekend/2012/12/01/

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