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Second Chance

Family First Contributors

Not all missed opportunities are lost forever. Sometimes, we are given the gift of a second chance. Nine stories of renewal & restoration

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

 Mishpacha image

 

T hey lost the opportunity of Korban Pesach
because they’d been impure —
But they asked for another chance,
and were granted Pesach sheini

In life, too, not all missed opportunities
are lost forever
Sometimes, we are given the gift
of a second chance 

9 stories of renewal & restoration

 

Let There Be Light

Leora Klinberg 

I slept through the seminary part of seminary.

I was drawn to the shadows that live in the corners of the city. You could find me hidden beneath wild trees, wedged between cramped streets, atop cluttered rooftops where the stars shine brightest.

The night was alive, its heartbeat thumping under my feet, and at 18 I didn’t even try to fight the pull, the tentacles of darkness that spun around me, wrenching me down and away, disconnected. As the months passed, I became ever more nocturnal, waking at dusk bright-eyed, ready to begin again.

Dawn would find me huddled in a sweatshirt on my dorm room balcony, the sun’s face blazing downward, causing my cheeks to grow red and warm with shame. I was stunned by the light’s ability to illuminate all my faults. The shadows would cling to me; stuck behind my eyes, they’d pull at my lids slowly and I’d crawl into bed, utterly exhausted by my own duplicity.

I grew up in an open, out-of-town family, but I attended a mainstream Bais Yaakov for high school, which left me with one foot in each camp. I vacillated between two worlds constantly throughout my schooling, living life in a state of turmoil, never quite fitting into either realm. Sometimes it seemed I was one person by day and another by night.

I managed to get myself into a very good seminary, and by the time I left for Eretz Yisrael, I was adept at navigating two very different lives, though the process drained me. Part of me was drawn to the edgy figures in my life, the ones who promised something more exciting than halachah class.

 

Relationships were formed that were not easy to break, new friendships made, others left behind. The classes I did attend were often inspiring, but I was busy. Too unfocused, too engrossed in other things to concentrate on growth.

There were many moments of darkness that year, but there were also moments in the dark with just the moon and the stars and G-d, where I received flickers of clarity that only the night can bring. Those moments were beacons of truth, pinpoints of joy. Shabbos meals with families who were living a life I couldn’t fathom, yet envied at the same time. Glimpses into the homes of true bnei Torah. Conversations with people I grew to respect for their strength, their lives burning with emes.

But they were just flashes — sparks of fire that didn’t carry enough momentum for me to make lasting changes in my life. I floated through the year until the end, when I looked back and shuddered.

I spent the last days of seminary wallowing in darkness far thicker than that of the night; the regret was impenetrable.

I’m sure many girls miss seminary once they arrive home, but I was devastated. The journal I kept at the time is a terrifying read — the depth of my pain seems to jump off the pages.

I enrolled in a frum college program and kept myself busy, tried to put on a happy face, but remorse hung like a veil before me, separating me from my peers. I hadn’t finished taking in what my seminary year was supposed to give me — I hadn’t even really started. I desperately wanted to walk the streets of Yerushalayim in the light. I wanted a do-over. I cried until February, begging Hashem for an opening, a way to start again. (Excerpted from Family First, Issue 589)

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