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PESACH THEME SECTION: Standing at the Crossroads

Egyptian slave or servant of G-d? Mired in materialism or sustained by the spirit? Trapped by social convention or bound to the Creator with chains of love? Millennia after Yetzias Mitzrayim, the questions still pulse through our souls. Facing them, we face ourselves.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Instead of wearing my finest YomTovoutfit and a freshly set sheitel, instead of sitting regally at the head of a stunning Seder table, I lay in bed, weeping. Anger and rage rushed through me, over me; my tears threatened to drown me. I refuse! I absolutely refuse! I could not, would not, sit through another Seder, thank Hashem for incredible miracles, sing Hallel, smile — when I was still incarcerated in my own Mitzrayim. I was tired, weary, angry at saying thank You, thank You, thank You when my life was a pain-filled parody. After suffering for many years, I had pulled myself out of an abusive marriage. I was left drowning at sea, without any family support, children in a terrible state, and an abusive ex who continued to hound me. When he finally remarried, I sighed in relief, grateful that he’d be busy with his own life and leave me alone. Instead, he teamed up with his new wife, and my suffering reached untold levels. My children were badly affected from the sorry state of affairs. I was left cleaning up everyone’s garbage — and financing it too. It was way too much. Eventually, I dried my tears and dragged myself out of bed. I put on my sheitel, pasted a smile on my face, and looked at myself in the mirror, hard. I couldn’t continue living in this place of anger and resentment. I had serious work to do. I stared at myself and committed to creating my own inner miracle. I felt strangely light as I headed to my friend’s Seder. After Pesach, I embarked on a deep journey. I learned that my anger was only covering up another emotion: tremendous pain. Feelings of deep stabbing hurt, betrayal, and abandonment by Hashem. I tried so hard to stay strong and continue, yet again and again, I was thrown down. The problems piled up taller and taller. And then my friend saw an ad for a class on Jewish Positive Thinking byChayaHindaAllen. She suggested we get together a group of friends and start it. By that time, I was ready to try anything. And suddenly, I was stuck. I was stuck facing my deepest issues. How could I believe that my life would be good if it was so bad until now? How could I believe things would change when things only seemed to get worse? But mostly, how could I trust Hashem would give me good, if I didn’t truly believe that He loves me? And so began the most serious work of my life. Harder than all the (crucial!) therapy I had been to, harder than all the courses I had ever taken. I needed to believe — and feel — that Hashem truly loved me.

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