Based on Rebbetzin Heller’s Question and Answer Series on Naaleh.com
I am childless, happily married, about to turn 50, and quite honestly, am feeling very ‘lost’ since I got laid off from my job almost a year ago. I can see the story of Lech Lecha and feel Hashem has said to me, pick up and go… But where? What is my mission? Why am I here? If a woman’s primary function is to be a mother, what is the purpose of a woman who will never be one?
“Lech Lecha” means go to yourself. Hashem sometimes presents us with situations that force us to figure ourselves out and move beyond who we were before. A person can do this on several levels. “Artzecha,” your land, the part of you that’s earth-like: lazy, depressed, or tied down to external order. Hashem has forced you into this by taking your job away. You can no longer submerge yourself in routine material efforts.
“Moladetcha,” your inborn traits. Hashem made you infertile and thereby moved you beyond the biological destiny of most women. “Mibeit avicha,” your father’s home. A father provides a child’s form – the ideas and principles that shape his life. You need to step beyond this and discover new vistas. In order to find yourself you have to know your abilities and what is accessible and needed in your particular area. Think about what you’re good at and what you like to do. That may be where your destiny is.
You may argue that you need a job that pays, and that doing what you like isn’t going to be all that lucrative. You still need to make room for it. It may mean combining it with a regular job, but begin to walk in that direction. In addition, work on developing birur. The idea of birur means finding the element of divinity in a situation and letting that become primary, even when it isn’t primary in terms of substance or time. For example, if you are a real estate broker, you can focus on concerning yourself with people’s needs and taking pleasure in helping them. Obviously this is not a broker’s key motive, but if you succeed in making birur a part of your life, you can transform ordinary work into something eternal.