Deficiency and fulfillment

Since my last post, which I can’t even remember now, a lot has happened.

For anyone who is Jewish, especially a convert living outside the camp of a Jewish community, it is extremely hard.  Just in case I have not said that already.  I don’t recommend it and now I understand why Orthodox won’t allow it.

As I may (or may not) have mentioned before, Chabad.org has been my lifeline during times of despair and loneliness.  I have no Jewish friends or potential Jewish partners available to me living out here in this desolate place.  No community…no one to share ideas…no physically available Jew to learn from.  Nothing except the virtual world.

In October of 2017, my father and I found my mother lying in a pool of her own blood at 2am.  She was taken to the hospital and eventually died about a month later.  She was in the advanced stages of cancer and none of us knew.  But I was glad I was able to help care for her in her own home those last few weeks of her life.  In April of this year, my father also fell and has been in a long term care facility ever since.  He will need 24 hour care for the rest of his life…however long that is, since he too is also in the advanced stages of cancer.

I have lived with my parents since 2013, but because my father is in a long term care facility, I will have to sell his house and property…or at least, move out by October or November of this year.  This will be when he can no longer be “private pay” and his properties will have to be sold to care for him.  I have managed to secure an apartment, when it becomes available (which is supposed to be next month) but the emotional stress from all of this threw me into a place I thought I would never be.

Several weeks ago, I reached a point where suicide looked like a real possibly.  I had entered into this state that a Chabad instructor called “atzvut”.  That dangerous, hopeless, “I’m not going to do anything about this” form of depression that slowly eats you alive and you don’t even care.  I had not even engaged in any Jewish learning, davening, lighting Shabbat candles, etc. since before last October.  I gave up on davening around the same time because it seemed meaningless to me.  “This is so stupid saying the same thing over and over” I thought at one point.  I had lost interest in everything but at some point in this hopeless state I remembered a statement from this small book called “Shamati” which I had purchased several years ago…maybe because it was small and I just love pocket sized books.  The statement:  “A prayer is considered a deficiency, and without deficiency there is no fulfillment.”

Around this same time, I had spoken with a penpal via Skype who, unknowingly had given me some practical advice without ever realizing anything about the hopeless state I was in.  I don’t know if she was just that unaware of what was going on or if I was just that good at hiding it.

In any case, I began davening again just to try to get out of this state.  Early during the prayers for maariv, I think I literally laughed out loud.  For the first time, I realized the “prayers” I was saying were not about me.  They were not about the wretched state I was in…no pleads to take it all away…and for whatever reason I had this image pop in my head in which G-d was telling me “enough about you.  I create day and night, rolling away the light before the darkness, and darkness before the light…Mi chamochah ba’alim Adonai, mi chamochah nedar bakodesh?…”  Indeed, who is like Y Continue reading “Deficiency and fulfillment”

Resources

This is a list of resources which I find useful.

Websites for learning: From an observant perspective 

Chabad              Aish

Naaleh            Web Yeshiva

www.torah.org

Live Shabbat services and some services through the week.  Use of the internet is forbidden on Shabbat within the more observant communities so their Shabbat services are not streamed live.

Reform Shabbat services

Probably my favorite Reform service comes from Central Synagogue in NY.  I love their music.

Conservative shul live streaming

The humanistic Jewish communities that stream live Shabbat services.   The Society of Humanistic Judaism also has a large collection of learning videos from their perspective.  Videos of SHJ

Kabbalah

www.inner.org A Chasidic website.  It gives wonderful insight into the weekly Torah parashas.

Chabad and Aish have a Kabbalah section on their websites.

Supplies

www.artscroll.com                                    www.theshabbatcollection.com

Kosher foods

www.grillerspride.com  They will ship food to you, even meats…all for a price of course.

Learning Hebrew Prayers

www.toolsfortorah.com I use the Tefila Trax audio and “My Siddur” book to practice Hebrew prayers.  This and other liturgy practice tools are available for free on the Chabad website here

www.learnhebrewpod.com  It costs money but you can also download the app to your phone and listen to it in the vehicle.  It has a section for “Jewish prayers” as well as Modern Hebrew.

http://www.sidduraudio.com/index.html

Siddur audio is for following along in the Conservative Siddur Sim Shalom.

I will add more as I think of them or if others recommend them.

L’shalom,

Michaela