Home Forums Life: Processing Our Thoughts & Feelings Our Beautiful Shavuos “Up the Mountain” Workshop!

  • Our Beautiful Shavuos “Up the Mountain” Workshop!

  • riva pomerantz

    Administrator
    May 24, 2020 at 8:58 pm

    It was wonderful to see all the women who could attend the live webinar tonight–thank you for being there! I will be sending out a Replay tomorrow, be”H. In addition to the wonderful workshop, Shiffy Friedman, editor at Wellsprings Magazine, gave us a very in-depth view of her magazine’s submission guidelines, rates, and processes. She was VERY positive about wanting to see our members’ work and she was so excited about the community that she wants to join! I will be sending out Shiffy’s contact information and some of the great links and resources she shared on the webinar as well.

    For now, as I promised, I am opening up this thread for all of you to share your writing from tonight, or even to talk about how the workshop was a springboard for you in your creativity and/or in your avodas Hashem (the two are, of course, often very interrelated!). I am excited to hear your thoughts.

    We have an awesome speaker lined up for next month: Chaya Baila Lieber, editor at Menucha Publishers, has actually edited nearly every single one of my twelve published books! She is an editor par excellence, a writer in her own right, and the submissions director at Menucha, so she will be giving us an amazing treasure-trove of information. I will announce the details soon, be”H!

    An apology: I see that the Masterpiece system hiccuped and my message to you about the change in Zoom details basically hemorrhaged all over your Inboxes! So sorry!

    Much love and a Gut Yom Tov to each and every one of you!

  • Fayge Y.

    Member
    May 24, 2020 at 10:55 pm

    Looking forward to hearing CB!

    I don’t have the headspace to write things out, but I wrote about going into a three day yom tov with corona, my husband too. I was panicking, words like fear, panic, unknown. Then I really, really said, beyado afkid ruchi (that was my chat comment on walking the walk) and I was filled with  words like serenity, secure, and love, even with – unknown. (Ah, had I known that erev yom tov would be my last day of fever, and that my husband turned around not much later…)

    Though I might write about something else that came to me when you mentioned having a baby… (Should I start a thread on ellipses?)

    And thanks for hosting Shiffy – it was informative, fun, and meaningful. (Please admire my restraint in editing my post for this last paragraph instead of a separate post to up my thread count.)

  • Brocha

    Member
    May 25, 2020 at 4:25 pm

    Rock Bottom

    It is when I’m at my nadir,

    When each sinew screams, “Too much!”

    And my hopes say, “Maybe later?”

    It is then I feel Your touch.

    It is when I’m quite despairing,

    When my mountains loom too high,

    When my heart bids “Just stop caring,”

    I can feel that You’re close by.

    It is when my dragon’s winning

    And I just succumb to fear,

    Ice beneath me keeps yet thinning,

    But I somehow know You’re here.

    Dare my demons try to stop me?

    You come grasp me from above.

    And I know You’ll never drop me,

    As I’m standing on Your love.

    • riva pomerantz

      Administrator
      May 27, 2020 at 10:07 pm

      Brocha, this is so beautiful and it touched me so deeply. I especially love the way you ended off on such a profound note by using the mountain/Matan Torah theme to describe the nature of the connection, “standing on Your love”. Wow! Breath-taking!!

    • Kayla-Oppenheimer

      Member
      June 1, 2020 at 6:37 pm

      [quote quote=17872]Rock Bottom

      It is when I’m at my nadir,

      When each sinew screams, “Too much!”

      And my hopes say, “Maybe later?”

      It is then I feel Your touch.

      It is when I’m quite despairing,

      When my mountains loom too high,

      When my heart bids “Just stop caring,”

      I can feel that You’re close by.

      It is when my dragon’s winning

      And I just succumb to fear,

      Ice beneath me keeps yet thinning,

      But I somehow know You’re here.

      Dare my demons try to stop me?

      You come grasp me from above.

      And I know You’ll never drop me,

      As I’m standing on Your love.[/quote]

      Brocha, your poem is so moving and written poignantly from the heart. It resonated so strongly with me. At the point when things can’t get any worse and one has given up hope, that is when we feel Hashem pulling all the strings. At least for me I’ve had that experience many times in my life.

  • Word Warrior

    Member
    May 25, 2020 at 6:56 pm

    I just wrote what came to mind, here’s the gist of it:

    Hashem! You are so good to me! How is it possible? How did You do that? How did You know? We were so so so scared. How did You DO that? Why did You love me so much? How can You always take care of us like this?

    Hashem! You’re so good at taking care of us!

    We’re so warm and fuzzy 🙂

    under Your special arms

    we feel safe and cozy

    we’re so grateful

    Thank You!

    It feels just so good and safe and happy

    It feels eternal

    It feels like my mind can’t grasp

    This is Bitachon- this is trust

    but this too is safety

    it’s the smugness of the heart

    as I lean close into

    Daddy’s chest

    as I feel safe

    surrounded by

    Your arms

    I couldn’t believe Dad would offer me money when he’s almost never, ever, ever done that. Seeing 388 shekel in the bank the week before Shavuos was pretty terrifying. But I stopped and thought- this is it. This is Bitachon. Hashem, we’ll be OK. I believe You’ll take care of me, just like You always do. Fast forward a few hours, or was it a day? No, hours, I think. Hang on, I’ll tell you how many…

    Firday, May 22, 4:36 PM. Bitachon

    Friday, May 22, 7:14 PM. Salvation.

    Less than 3 hours later, Hashem answered my prayers. Hashem! AND three job offers as my maternity leave ends??? Really?? The Rav said it’s Yad Hashem- it was the Hand of G-d, they said, as they watched salvation from Egypt!

    That’s all I got to 🙂

    • riva pomerantz

      Administrator
      May 27, 2020 at 10:08 pm

      Tears in my eyes, Word Warrior! We are always in Hakadosh Baruch Hu’s embrace, but sometimes we REALLY feel that hug!! Wow!

  • Brocha

    Member
    May 25, 2020 at 9:57 pm

    If this is what just comes to mind, Word Warrior, feel free to give me a piece of your mind any time ;-). Thanks for sharing.

  • Pickupapen

    Member
    May 27, 2020 at 2:00 am

    Thanks for the beautiful presentation. Truly a gift for Shavuos! The following does not describe a single moment, but a build-up of moments. Hope that counts!

    It sometimes takes a child.

    “When’s Moshiach coming?” asks my little boy, glancing over to the window, as though Moshiach is out there in the garden.
    They’ve just come home from shul, last day Pesach, from the ‘moshiach seuda.’ I’m not sure what’s involved in this minhag of shvi’i shel Pesach but my husband went, and took Avromi with him, and that was good enough for me.
    My husband and I exchange glances.
    “We hope Moshiach will be here really soon,” I return, stupidly, because one can’t ignore the question.
    And I mean it, of course I do.
    Avromi is looking at me intently, unblinkingly.
    “When?” he demands. “Today or tomorrow morning?”
    He’s nothing if not persistent, this six year old.
    We discuss Moshiach, what might and what probably won’t happen when he does arrive.
    But Avromi’s been let down. He’s been to the Moshiach seuda, eaten lots of Matza, and now Moshiach’s meant to be here, isn’t he?
    Isn’t he?
    Where?
    When?

    My own hopes for Moshiach’s arrival become more urgent.

    But another year passes.
    No Moshiach, no Moshiach seuda in shul. Shul? Shul is a distant memory.
    But it is in the air. He must be coming soon. A dear friend’s husband has succumbed to corona. A pure korbon. Surely Moshiach is making his way here right now and they will be soon reunited?

    We discuss, argue and laugh about how we’ll all get to Yerushalayim. My four year old’s eyes grow wide as she hears of eagles, of shuls flying through the sky.

    There is a fluttering in my chest. What if? My eyes wander to the window. Perhaps, if the kids were a little quieter, we would hear footsteps.
    I reach for my siddur to daven Mincha.

    I imagine the day. Will we need to pack, or will everything somehow make its way to where it needs to go. Will I need to prepare food for the trip?

    My lips form the words. My heart beats to the rhythm. We don’t see it, not yet, but we sense it profoundly.
    I imagine the excitement in their eyes when we joyfully announce, “Children, Moshiach is here – he’s actually here!’
    I press my siddur against my face so they won’t see my tears.

    ‘Umeivi go’el livnei v’neihem..’
    May it be so.

    We don’t want to get ‘back to normal.’

    We just want to get back to You.

    • riva pomerantz

      Administrator
      May 27, 2020 at 10:10 pm

      Pickupapen, I’m sure glad you picked up yours and gave us this treat. Truly through the eyes of a child–and aren’t we all just as mesmerized and just as hopeful as children these days, as we hope, exactly as you so poignantly put it, to finally get back to Hashem. Thank you for this.

  • StoryLuver

    Member
    May 27, 2020 at 2:20 am

    I love this!!!

    Especially the last 2 lines…

  • Brocha

    Member
    May 27, 2020 at 3:22 am

    Brilliant! Yes, especially the last two lines.

  • Anagrammer

    Member
    May 27, 2020 at 3:44 am

    I triple the last two lines. And there are chills running up and down my spine. So moving…

  • Esti G

    Member
    May 27, 2020 at 3:45 am

    The last two lines.

  • Ruchy

    Member
    May 27, 2020 at 11:12 am

    Pickupapen I love it!

    Yes, I agree with everyone – the last two lines are so beautiful & true.

  • Fiction Fangirl

    Member
    May 27, 2020 at 1:16 pm

    …Those. Last. Two. Lines…Haunting.  Have you ever heard of frisson before?  Known as ‘musical chills’ or ‘shivers’.  Those last two lines induced that for me.  I can say out of the thousands of songs I’ve listened to, only six of them evoked frisson in me (accompanied by tears) and only one poem did the magic so far (I unfortunately lost that poem but think it was written by Rikki Erlich I think?  T’was in the Binah many years ago, wish I can find it again).  I classify your piece as ‘music for the heart’ and am happy to report it has been added to my ‘frisson collection’ right now.  I hope you’ll share some more with us.

  • Fiction Fangirl

    Member
    May 27, 2020 at 1:30 pm

    Word Warrior, if that’s all you got…you got cash in your pockets.  As in literal literary fortunes.  The rawness of this piece is blisteringly tender and gently hopeful.  You have a real talent for warming the heart with your sincerity.

    Oh my goodness Brocha!  I just read your piece (started from the bottom up).  Can you paint your poem?  There is so much texture and imagery.  The sentence ‘As I’m standing on Your love’ is so heartfelt.  Such simple (not!) words with such a deep meaning.  I’m feeling oddly relaxed right now…like I’ve meditated.

    You ladies are so incredibly talented *eyes tearing*.  What a wonderful way to usher in the yom tov.

  • Brocha

    Member
    May 27, 2020 at 2:31 pm

    Thank you Fiction Fangirl! You have a way with compliments. I’d love to paint it, but I paint rather like a blind one-armed monkey.

  • Fiction Fangirl

    Member
    May 27, 2020 at 3:22 pm

    You’re most welcome!  When driven, it’s easy to express my sentiments but thankee all da same.  Hmm…a blind one-armed monkey.  Very intriguing.  Truth is, I paint but only modern art.  So it’s pretty much throwing your desired colors on a canvas and going in whatever direction you please.  That is according to my definition of course.  No pressure of following any directives or ‘coloring within the lines’.  Yaeli Vogel is my inspiration *thee artist queen*.  Am I the only one who sees the correlation between writing and painting?  Her canvases are great inspo.  Gets my mind going.

    Anyway!  Way off-topic.  Point is, blind one-armed monkeyness doesn’t matter when it comes to modern art.  Your poem is a great inspiration so who knows?  Maybe someone will wing something outta it one day ?.

  • Brocha

    Member
    May 27, 2020 at 3:33 pm

    Go ahead ;-), I’ll be in the queue for your autograph

  • Fiction Fangirl

    Member
    May 27, 2020 at 3:53 pm

    Oh no no!  But I wasn’t referring to me, so no queue for autographs, sorry.  Your piece deserves a true artist, someone of finer finesse.  Maybe here lurks a secret Masterpiece member with painting proficiency.

    Cue:  Call for artists!

  • Chaya F.

    Member
    May 27, 2020 at 5:57 pm

    Brocha!  I lv the piece you wrote! So relevant and so true. You’ve got real talent! Keep going!

  • Brocha

    Member
    May 27, 2020 at 6:17 pm

    Thank you!

  • Pickupapen

    Member
    May 27, 2020 at 7:20 pm

    Brocha’s poem is exquisite. Not only is there a moving message but the rhyme and rhythm are totally in sync. That’s a rare skill.

  • HappiWriter

    Member
    May 27, 2020 at 7:29 pm

    Brocha, Word Warrior, Pickupapen, so beautiful, so touching, so inspirational. I felt chills reading ’em all.

  • Chaya F.

    Member
    May 28, 2020 at 6:34 pm

    Thank you for the amazing workshop! Here is what comes to mind…

    Mrs. S., is camp happening?  The emails and texts are streaming in from frantic staff members, aiming to prepare the program,  to parents, wanting to know what to expect, to campers, thirsting for an affirmative update.  It’s so difficult to dig out any answers from this blur of confusion.  Even if we do get the green light, with the addition of new restrictions in place.  I wonder if it’s even feasible to implement in a day camp setting, where a nice percentage of the counselors are teenagers.  I can only envision the horrors of traumatic memories, post covid 19 summer 2020.  400 little girls wearing masks, rigorous scrubbing and sanitizing hands. No trips, no swim. And let’s not forget the most important part, social distancing.  I told my devoted headcounselours, that our summer 2020 plans must be put away for another year and we need to start planning a new program, bottom up. A program only incorporating activities that can be played while socially distanced.  Their initial reaction was, the thunder of silence. Then came the cringing and sighing.  Then finally the coaster on the tracks of chuckling were set in motion.  They laughed and giggled at the notion of having to restart.  A hint of sadness is arrowing it’s way in, at the realization that our summer day camp may not happen the way we planned or the bigger question mark dangling, is if we will open at all.  I have to admit that its tugging at a very sensitive strings of my innards.  Its something I look forward to from the last day of camp as I stand outside watching the last camper be picked up at carpool.

    As we started to prepare the new program of social distancing activities, we felt like we are standing at the bottom of this huge mountain. In other words, how can we possibly climb this. Or rather, the abrupt knock of hitting the ice berg.  How can camp progress without baking, swimming, and major trips?  How can u play a good game of machanayim, eat lunch in the lunchroom or even watch an entertainer in the gym, when we gotta be vigilant of coming close to one another?  So, no face painting, moonwalk jumping and no blindfold games.  How can you have a carnival without the staples of cotton candy and popcorn? No blowing the rubber duckies, no pickle race and tasting if its pepsi or coke?  I’m afraid to stamp it, that summer day camp sadly wont be happening this season. But then hey! You never know! The agony of indecision is exhaustive, to put it mildly.  Do we prepare or do we not prepare?  Do we shop, or do we not shop? If we decide to take the plunge and shop, we may get stuck with 100’s of boxes of supplies and thousands of dollars in debt.  If we postpone the shopping, we may face the challenge of starting camp without handouts, arts and crafts and new equipment.  The proverb of אין שמחה כהתרת הספקות is oh so relevant.  There is this cacophony of incoherent voices  in my head now. Each continuously parroting another maybe.  I’m feeling so conflicted, so confused and so out of balance.  My mind is do preoccupied with the disease of, what ifs?

    I decided to make a conscious resolution that I would completely and utterly surrender to HKB”H.  Give up my control that I laughably never had in the first place.

    I marvel, how at peace I feel right now. I’m accepting Hashem’s decision.   He thought abt me when he timed the virus.  He wants me to be in the unknown now.  So making a decision that I wont make a decision is like making a decision after all.

     

    • riva pomerantz

      Administrator
      June 1, 2020 at 1:54 pm

      What’s amazing, Chaya F., is that as I was reading this, I somehow felt the calmness coming across so vividly that when you finished up by describing that calmness, I was already there! Loved the vivid imagery of “climbing the mountain” in terms of trying to meet the challenge. Thank you for sharing this! There is a lot of surrender going on these days…

  • Brocha

    Member
    May 28, 2020 at 7:57 pm

    It’s so real, Chaya! Thanks. I especially love the concept of “the disease of what-ifs”.

  • Chaya F.

    Member
    May 28, 2020 at 10:10 pm

    <p style=”text-align: left;”>Thank you for pointing that out Brocha. I wrote straight from my heart. I see now some nice lines and I also see many typos and imperfections 😉 but I believe this is not about being perfect its abt being real.</p>

  • Esther

    Member
    May 31, 2020 at 3:01 pm

    Brocha, loved your poem, made me cry.  So deep, and that structure makes it a pleasure to read.

  • Kayla-Oppenheimer

    Member
    June 1, 2020 at 12:34 am

    I participated in the Shavuos “Climbing up the Mountain” workshop and subsequently following are some thoughts I had.  I’d appreciate any feedback, suggestions, and also rewording for the last paragraph, which sounds stiff to me.

    <p style=”text-align: center;”>טוב ה׳ לכל ורחמיו על כל מעשיו </p>

    Communication. I want to retrieve the friendship we once had, laugh and schmooze together. I want to talk about the hard and difficult stuff.  But there’s a lump in my throat as I picture myself trying to glue together the shards of misunderstanding that lie broken between us. But oh, the mountain is so high, the cliffs so threatening, the ropes and fences between us so high and tall.

    And then I think of Hashem. Is this how He feels too?

    Hashem is saying: “Am Yisroel, My dear children, I created you. You are My עם הנבחר. I love you as you are with all your Mitzvos, with all your struggles, successes, failures. I love you even when you turn away from Me. Even when you are afraid to face Me. Even when you think your sins are so vast that a relationship with Me is not viable or possible.” 

    Hashem says to us: “Am Yisrael, please I want your tears. I want your frustration. I want everything because then I know that however far away you are from Me, you want a connection with Me. When there is even a tiny sliver of a connection, the connection can grow bigger and bigger. I will always want you despite how far you have fallen.

    Suddenly the posuk in Yeshaya, (Chapter 1, 18) takes on a new meaning for me:

    לְכוּ־נָ֛א וְנִוָּֽכְחָ֖ה יֹאמַ֣ר  הֹ” אִם־יִֽהְי֨וּ חֲטָֽאֵיכֶ֚ם כַּשָּׁנִים֙ כַּשֶּׁ֣לֶג יַלְבִּ֔ינוּ אִם־יַאְדִּ֥ימוּ כַתּוֹלָ֖ע כַּצֶּ֥מֶר יִֽהְיֽוּ

    Come now, let us debate, says the Lord.   If your sins prove to be like crimson, they will become white as snow; if they prove to be as red as crimson dye, they shall become as wool.

    (Posuk cited and translation is taken from Chabad.org)

    The Shechina is in golus and cries out in anguish and intense loneliness:

    Where are My people, whom I have chosen and cherished?

    This ache of loneliness Hashem feels with and for Am Yisroel in Golus, can we imagine the pain Hashem is in when Am Yisroel is so so far away from Him? In the longest Golus of two thousand years the greatest grief is the chasm between Hashem and His people

    My mind flitted to these thoughts because of the anguish I experienced from a splintered friendship. My heart ached with all the memories.  My heart aches with tears. My heart ached in loneliness. How do I cross this valley of disconnect?

    I turn to Hashem: “Please help me come closer to You, help me repair the relationship.”

    “Please, Hashem, can You teach me to look beyond the anger, see my friend and myself as two vulnerable people, who have lost their way?  Is that not what You do every minute, every day? You care and love every member of K’lal Yisroel, no matter how far they have fallen?”

    Maybe the fact that I am becoming closer to You is because I know there is no-one else who loves and cares for me like You do, and  there never will be anyone else who’ll ever even come close to loving me as You do.

    It is now that the pesukim in Yonah (perek Daled pesukim 9, 10 and 11) shine out with more significance:

    ט וַיֹּ֚אמֶר אֱלֹהִים֙ אֶל־יוֹנָ֔ה הַֽהֵיטֵ֥ב חָֽרָה־לְךָ֖ עַל־הַקִּֽיקָי֑וֹן וַיֹּ֕אמֶר הֵיטֵ֥ב חָֽרָה־לִ֖י עַד־מָֽוֶת
    י וַיֹּ֣אמֶר יְהֹוָ֗ה אַתָּ֥ה חַ֙סְתָּ֙ עַל־הַקִּ֣יקָי֔וֹן אֲשֶׁ֛ר לֹֽא־עָמַ֥לְתָּ בּ֖וֹ וְלֹ֣א גִדַּלְתּ֑וֹ שֶׁבִּן־לַ֥יְלָה הָיָ֖ה וּבִן־לַ֥יְלָה אָבָֽד
    יא וַֽאֲנִי֙ לֹ֣א אָח֔וּס עַל־נִֽינְוֵ֖ה הָעִ֣יר הַגְּדוֹלָ֑ה אֲשֶׁ֣ר יֶשׁ־בָּ֡הּ הַרְבֵּה֩ מִֽשְׁתֵּֽים־עֶשְׂרֵ֨ה רִבּ֜וֹ אָדָ֗ם אֲשֶׁ֚ר לֹֽא־יָדַע֙ בֵּֽין־יְמִינ֣וֹ לִשְׂמֹאל֔וֹ וּבְהֵמָ֖ה רַבָּה

    9 And God said to Jonah; Are you very grieved about the kikayon? And he said, “I am very grieved even to death.”

    10 And the Lord said: You took pity on the kikayon, for which you did not toil nor did you make it grow, which one night came into being and the next night perished.

    11 Now should I not take pity on Nineveh, the great city, in which there are many more than one hundred twenty thousand people who do not know their right hand from their left, and many beasts as well? [The Pesukim format and  translation of the pesukuim is from Chabad.org]

    Similarly, the words in gemora Shabbos 133b have become more meaningful to me:

    Ma hu rachum v’chanun, af ata rachum v’chanun – Just as Hashem is merciful and compassionate, so too, you [i.e., man] should be merciful and compassionate.”  [Translation taken from Aish HaOlam http://www.aishhaolam.com]

    I’ve discovered through my own experience that Hashem has given us the ability to emulate Him, to feel compassion in our hearts, even within the pain and hurt felt when friendships are torn apart.

    • riva pomerantz

      Administrator
      June 1, 2020 at 1:56 pm

      Kayla, what a beautifully-woven tapestry of deep insight and marrying the profound with the very real. You have such an art–and such an impressive knowledge base! Wow!! Thank you for sharing this!

  • Elisheva Halle

    Member
    June 1, 2020 at 5:23 am

    I finally did the Shavuos Workshop, and I absolutely loved it so much I’m thinking of doing an exercise like this before every time I start to write. This helped me remember why I write- to connect to my Neshama and give the inspiration a form.  This is what came out of the workshop, raw.

    My way up the Mountain

    Shock

    Absolute shock

    Can it be?

    Can it really be?

    A boy?

    Hashem loves me

    He loves me so much

    I put my hands over my eyes

    My voice chokes

    I don’t deserve this

    I don’t deserve this

    I don’t deserve anything and yet…

    My dream

    Hashem, you gave me my dream

    Ma Ashiv L’Hashem Kol Tagmulohi Alei

    Ma Ashiv L’Hashem

     

    I remember holding my baby as she passed away

    A baby I wanted to hold and cherish all my life

    I thought I would never have another

    And then Hashem gave me a precious girl

    And now, and now…

    A boy!

    Now I have everything

    I never thought I would have one child

    But Hashem you have delighted me with two

    I don’t deserve this

    I just can’t believe it

    After years of waiting and mourning

    It happened

    It happened

    Like the shock when Mashiach finally comes

    And we believed it never would be

    In the depths of our pain

    Hazorim B’Dima B’Rina Yiksaru…

    Don’t be scared of pain

    The tears are growth

    Without it there is no contrast to measure joy

    If I had not sat in darkness Hashem would not have been a light for me

    • riva pomerantz

      Administrator
      June 1, 2020 at 1:58 pm

      Elisheva, just wow! Really, really wow! The exultant joy comes through in technicolor. These moments are truly beyond our capacity to even describe the Love we feel, but you somehow found the words. Thank you–this was a very big gift to us. I’m so glad you liked the workshop so much. I thought it was awesome, baruch Hashem! 🙂

  • Chaya F.

    Member
    June 1, 2020 at 5:38 am

    Elisheva! Wow! Wow! Wow! This is an incredible poem! One can feel your heartfelt gratitude amidst your pain.  I love how you finished it off – those last 2 lines… thank you so much for sharing and may Hkb”h bench you and your family that you should only have good things lined up coming towards you all IYH!

  • Esther

    Member
    June 1, 2020 at 7:37 am

    I’m really scared to share what I wrote at the workshop, but I want to anyway.  I trust you guys!

    Not Alone

    I’m at the lowest point. It’s Friday night, Shabbos. It’s dark, not really dark because there is a bit of light shining, but I can’t see it. My world is black. I’m in a hospital – an eating disorder ward. Alone. I don’t belong I’m here; I’m not sick! I’m starving though. I need to starve.  To starve away all of the pain, confusion, anger, shame, guilt, before it kills me.  At the same time, needing to fill that gaping, empty, black hole – fill it with something, anything, before it swallows me alive. Wishing with my entire being to get sicker and sicker, until there is not one part of the real me left, only an awful disease.

    But within the gut-wrenching pain something bursts through, and for the first time I daven to get well.  Suddenly, for just that moment, I want to get better, to break free.  To recover.  I want it so truly and so deeply that I’m crying, begging Hashem to do for me what I cannot do for myself, what no other human can do for me.  In all the despair, a tiny spark of hope. Hope because I want it, and I know that if I want it badly enough, He will help.  He knows what is means to me to give this up, the cruel illness that is my life, my identity, my goal, my dream, my escape, my comfort. I don’t even know if it is possible.  If I can. I’ll be nothing, a no one, a hollow shell. I sob silently, thinking of my family at home, without me. But He’s here with me. I feel a bit less alone.

    I think of what people would think if they knew where I am, physically, emotionally. I myself barely believe it. The shock of how far I’ve fallen, along with a sick pride in managing to achieve such an accomplishment.  That part resists my plea for help, screams to not dare want to live. But just for now, I push it aside. I can’t go on like this, it can’t get worse. Oh, it can, and it will, though I don’t know that just now. But from this place, it will also get better. I don’t yet have any dreams or goals or even an image for a healthy me. I don’t know if I believe I can be ok. But that is ok, it will come, later. Now, I’m still mourning, hurting, breaking apart so that I can one day be whole again.

    This moment will give me strength, for when I begin to feel, to suffer beyond my worst nightmares. Because I know that I have it in me, to call to Him. And I know that He will answer.  That He will be there with me throughout. I don’t know where He’ll lead me, but I know that He is holding me, every tortuous step, in this darkness.  Hashem, and only He, can get me out of here, out of this miserable place, out of the prison of my mind.

    I am raw now, grieving, aching. I cry myself to sleep, still in incredible pain, but not alone anymore.

    • riva pomerantz

      Administrator
      June 1, 2020 at 2:25 pm

      Esther, it is truly an honor to know that you trust us, your writing sisters, with this deep piece that touched me with its message and the interplay between the light and the very dark. Masterpiece is exactly about trust, about true community, about sensitivity and mutual respect, and each and every one of us is committed to keeping this a safe place where feelings and thoughts are nurtured and supported.

      I would really love to see you expand this very powerful, very relevant piece and have it published because there are so many suffering from eating disorders who will get so much inspiration from reading this.

  • HappiWriter

    Member
    June 1, 2020 at 2:16 pm

    Wow Esther!

    When reading this, you feel like you’re actually there.
    I can feel the darkness and despair and the spark of light that shines through.

  • Ruchy

    Member
    June 1, 2020 at 3:48 pm

    Elisheva, wow! This is so beautiful and just…wow! I have no words.

    You should see loads of nachas.

  • Kayla-Oppenheimer

    Member
    June 1, 2020 at 6:29 pm

    Thank you Riva for your heartwarming comments.

    Honestly, the whole essay came to my mind based on Shavuos Climb the Mountain workshop. I was never expecting to connect the pesukim in Yonah Chapter 4, but those pesukim popped into my head and suddenly I had a deeper understanding of the pesukim, and not the plain p’shat of the pesukim. Likewise לְכוּ־נָ֛א וְנִוָּֽכְחָ֖ה יֹאמַ֣ר הֹ” אִם־יִֽהְי֨וּ חֲטָֽאֵיכֶ֚ם כַּשָּׁנִים֙ כַּשֶּׁ֣לֶג יַלְבִּ֔ינוּ אִם־יַאְדִּ֥ימוּ כַתּוֹלָ֖ע כַּצֶּ֥מֶר יִֽהְיֽוּ, I understood it as however far Am Yisroel has sinned, Hashem is looking to re-connect, look away from our sins. Although, when I was reading Rashi what he wrote was fascinating, (Chabad.org has a cool feature that you can bring up the pesukim with Perush Rashi or you can hide the perush Rashi, so I want to quote it here, the first pshat(a) concurs with what I’ve written in my essay but with an interesting twist, the fact that the verb יֹאמַ֣ר is in the future tense, points to Hashem never giving up on us, He will always look away from our sins

    The second explanation really follows on from the first explanation, that there has to be some sort of commitment not to sin and do good:

    I have labeled as (b), is what is the condition Hashem will whitewash, so to speak, our sins? What is written in the next posuk “cease to do evil”….

    a) says the Lord: [The verb is in the future form to denote that] He always says this to you, like: (Num. 9: 20) “By the word of the Lord they would camp (יַחֲנוּ) ,” also a future form.

    b) Another explanation is: Come now, let us debate. What is written above this? “Cease to do evil; learn to do good.” And after you return to Me, come now, and let us debate together, to notify Me, “We have done what is incumbent upon us; You do what is incumbent upon You;” and I say, “If your sins prove to be like crimson, they will become white as snow…” [Translation of Rashi on verse 18 is taken from chabad.org]

    Likeise, “Ma hu rachum v’chanun, af ata rachum v’chanun” also came into my mind based on what I had experienced.

    It was a most uplifting workshop I’m so happy to have participated in, and the essay being the outcome of this workshop, that is most uplifting for me.

  • Chaya F.

    Member
    June 1, 2020 at 8:52 pm

    Esther, Firstly I must give you credit for sharing your pain and struggles with us. I admire your unwavering courage. We are all here for you and will be rooting for your recovery.  Your writing depicts sadness, yet so much hope.  You are so insightful, so deep and so connected.  I will agree with Riva that you should expand on this and have it published.  What I like so much abt your writing, is your true openness of your tug-a-war between wanting to get better and wanting to get sicker.  Please keep in mind that IYH when you will be completely healthy you will be able to help other people suffering.  Perhaps you can become a motivational speaker.  You have so much to live for.  The world couldn’t of existed if you weren’t born.  You have so much waiting for you Esther.

    Please keep writing.  I’m in lv with your writing style.

  • Chaya F.

    Member
    June 1, 2020 at 8:57 pm

    Thank you Riva.  You are so sweet!  You are so encouraging!

  • Brocha

    Member
    June 2, 2020 at 4:07 am

    Esther, your piece was so real and raw and honest and … and … and… I felt like I was there. Thank you for sharing it. <3

  • Esther

    Member
    June 4, 2020 at 5:03 am

    I’m touched.  You guys are true friends.

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