UP load! Uplifting thoughts from Na’aleh by Rebbetzin Shoshie Nissenbaum

16 02 2016
My dove, in the clefts of the rock, in the covertures of the steps, show me your appearance, let me hear your voice, for your voice is pleasant and your appearance is comely.’ יוֹנָתִי בְּחַגְוֵי הַסֶּלַע בְּסֵתֶר הַמַּדְרֵגָה הַרְאִינִי אֶת מַרְאַיִךְ הַשְׁמִיעִנִי אֶת קוֹלֵךְ כִּי קוֹלֵךְ עָרֵב וּמַרְאֵיךְ נָאוֶה:

Am Yisrael cerainally imbodies the proverbial “caught between a rock and a hard place”. Each one of us identifies with this on a personal level as well as a national level.

The “Terror Wave” as its being called, has conjured up a kaleidoscope of thoughts and emotions. Looking at the face of Hadar Cohen, at her natural chen, at her eyes so full of joy and hope, my mind begins to wonder into the world of “what if”. What if it would have been my child. . what if it would have been me. . the “what ifs” begin to invade me, consume me and spread their guilt. And than someone whose been standing behind my shoulder unnoticed during my sojourn into “what if” land, asks: “Mommy, who is that girl? “ What a question! Who is that girl? She is a girl who stopped a catastrophic terror attack with her life. She is a girl who has loving parents, siblings, and friends who are so proud of her bravery and so pained at her tragic death. How do I explain to an already fearful eleven year old, what happened. (i.e. How to I explain to a 39 year old fearful woman what happened!) I respond to him in a calm Mommy, matter of fact voice, which is completely incongruent with my emotions. “This girl is Hadar Cohen, she noticed something strange about three Arabs trying to enter the Old City of Jerusalem, she stopped them and they hurt her very badly, but Hadar and her fellow policemen stopped all of the terrorists. Let’s daven for her friend who is also very hurt Rivital bat Penina”. Not exactly the most factual recounting of the events, but much better than CBS. I was hoping that that would end the conversation. I shut the computer off, in wistful thinking that I could just shut off emotions. Of course Eliezer wanted to know if she would be ok and I slowly broke the news to him that Hadar passed away. And again, I find myself caught between wanting to break down and cry and the responsibility of being the stable adult in the lives of precious and fragile children. And the dance begins. As I begin to sway between the different emotions, a pattern begins to emerge. The pain can dance with love, hope can lift despair, grief can coexist with appreciation as these emotions swirl and tap around my heart, I begin to understand the dance of Klal Yisrael, the dance of Miriam HaNavei. The steps of coming closer to Hashem when we are in the clefts of the rock. Of knowing that He hears our voice as sweet even if I sing like a raven (ערב as in sweet is similar to work עורב a raven), He sees us a beautiful even when we don’t perceive ourselves as such. Hashem Yisbarach, allows us to function on two contradicting ways at the same time. We can be stuck and we can be hopeful. Life doesn’t need to be departmentalized. By turning to Hashem, who is above time, and talking it out with Him, bringing all our emotions into our tefilah (both formal and non-formal) create for us an island of stability in the midst of raging waters. כאב, which means pain also means כאב like a father. When in pain we turn to our Father in Heaven. So, if you were hoping to find the magic answer or quick fix tikkun here, sorry, I don’t have any to offer. I have no suggestions of what Kabblot to take upon oneself or what to fix or where to go. I have only one suggestion, don’t switch off the feelings of pain. Take them to Hashem, find comfort and stability in knowing that He heard you and perhaps one day when the veil of concealment is lifted we will understand that all that we thought was bitter was really sweet.




4 responses

21 02 2016

Thank you for this beautiful piece. Your description of how we can still connect to Hashem even through pain and suffering coincides with the idea that Klal Yisrael is compared to the moon. Just as the moon waxes and wanes but always returns to its original position, so too even at our lowest point we can raise ourselves up with the hope that Hashem will redeem us and bring us back to our former state.

17 03 2016
Renee Bodner Reinharz

I just went into this blog for the first time, although I am a long-time Naaleh fan. Can we know who is the writer? (I’m not a “blog” person so if that’s not an acceptable request, forgive me.) If I want to quote from it, I’d like to know who I am quoting. In addition, I was taught that in the world we live in, it is especially important to know our sources, to be aware of whose ideas we are allowing to infuence us. Is this an anonymous Naaleh member? A Rav? One of your illustious speakers?
Thanks and Gut Shabbos –

17 03 2016

Thanks for your question. The article is by Rebbetzin Shoshie Nissenbaum and we have updated the post to include her name as the author.

4 04 2016
Mr. Cohen

Rabbi Efrem Goldberg said:

There is no Jewish holiday and no Jewish experience that more divides the “haves” from the “have-nots” than Pesach.

The contrast between those experiencing Pesach with endless menu options, midnight BBQ’s, quinoa sushi stations, and round-the-clock tea rooms and those who literally don’t know how they will buy matzah or wine, let alone meat, is startling and staggering.

Give Proportionally to What You Spend on Your Pesach
by Rabbi Efrem Goldberg, 2016 March 29

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