As everyone knows by now, Israel is in serious trouble right now. Three soldiers are being held hostage and many have been killed. Many civilians have been killed and injured in the constant rocket attacks. Over one million Israelis in the north are sleeping in bomb shelters.
There’s nothing like watching the disaster unfold to make me realize my own helplessness. In an instinctive reaction, despite my many years living on my own and the fact that I am now married and expecting a child of my own, I spent much of the day trying to call my mother. I also did laundry—constant, obsessive washing of anything in the house that might have once touched dirt. But the one, most important thing that I should be doing, I just can’t. I can’t seem to pray.
When I first came to Jerusalem, prayer seemed so natural here. There’s really a sense of closeness to Hashem that slowly penetrates your daily existence in Israel. I could almost feel my prayers being heard. Even just earlier this year, the words of Tehilim seemed destined especially for me as I did my best to spill my heart “like water before Hashem.” I don’t know what happened, or why everything feels so different now. Sometimes I blame my pregnant body. I am constantly hungry and thirsty, usually sleepy, and just generally big and awkward. As my physical self gets bigger and rounder, my spiritual awareness seems to shrink accordingly. Or sometimes I blame my university studies. Maybe it was easy for me to pray only because, when I was in midrasha, it came so naturally to everyone around me. Maybe I’m some kind of spiritual chameleon, and when my surroundings don’t take naturally to prayer, I don’t either.
I can still feel Hashem with me, always. I still feel protected, and loved, and I know that whatever will be, will be for the good. But to reach out, to cry out to Hashem, to plead for my people, even just to talk about my day—that I can’t seem to do. The words are there, but they remain so empty of life. My prayers of a year ago, or even half a year ago, felt to me like water flowing from the depths of my heart. My prayers of today feel more like dust being beaten from an old broom.
To those of you who have written here that one of the benefits of being a BT is fire, excitement, a passion for Torah that FFBs find it harder to obtain—I envy you. I wish I had that, but I don’t. Like many of the FFBs around me, I find acceptance automatic, while passion often remains elusive.
To be honest, I’m not sure where I’m going with all of this. I don’t mean it as a complaint, even if it sounds that way. I would like feedback/advice. Has anyone else felt this way? What did you do? Are there other BTs out there who find that their excitement levels are really not any higher than those of their friends? My current plan for dealing with this is pretty simple—wait it out, hope it passes. Sometimes when you hit a slump, a muddy patch in the long path of the soul, as it were, you just have to slog forward and hope that the end is near.
And finally, and most importantly, please keep all of us in your prayers right now.