Remember the Har Nof attack?
The horrific images, the cries on social media, the anger.
I wrote something the day after.
I didn’t share it, because it was deeply personal.
Then I lost it. With all the flurry of papers in my backpack, it fell between the cracks and disappeared from my memory.
In the process of moving into a new life, I found it.
I found the slightly torn piece of paper with my angry handwriting all over it. I read it. I felt the pain again.
It’s months later, but life isn’t that different.
Different people are dying.
Different people are doing the killing.
But it’s really the same.
I want to share it now.
I feel angry. I am angry. I am sick to my stomach at what occurred. There is no rhyme or reason, and my heart tells me to fight. To fight the G-d who let this happen. To hurl things that will give Him the pain we feel. My brain tells me I’m foolish to live my life by the guidelines of a G-d who let 26 orphans wake up to unimaginable tragedy. But something stops me. Something other than my brain and my heart makes me stop. As I lay down in my bed, trying to block out the horrifying images, something makes me turn over and say Shema. When I wake up and feel sickened to the core, something makes me say my brachos carefully. While my brain seethes, I emphasize the words Boruch Atah Hashem. as I say a Bracha on my breakfast, I cry about the hundreds who said Boruch Dayen Hamemet yesterday.
Who are we? We are a nation of unimaginable faith.
It is in our blood to stand back up after being repeatedly slammed to the ground. Logic tells me to step away. My Jewish blood tells me to step closer. Something in me forces me to turn to G-d and say “Take care of me, hold me in your embrace” despite the fact that I am heartbroken by the tragedy that occurred in His plan. I realize now that I can’t fight. I realize now that I don’t want to fight.
I realize that this is the truth. The irrefutable, undeniable, complete truth and I search for nothing else.
I wrote that a while ago.
When I read it again, I felt a familiar battle inside of me.
The battle has two sides. One- the questioning side. The side that so desperately wants to know the answers and is scared of answers that are familiar.
The other side is the safe side. The side that so desperately wants to love G-d and believe wholeheartedly in all He does.
This battle has it’s angrier moments and it’s kinder moments, but this was a heated one.
My questioning side was saying “Please! How can you say something like this? So wild, so blunt and rigid? What about the ridiculous laws this G-d has placed to restrict you?”
My safe side was crying “Don’t fool yourself. You believe in G-d and you believe that He has a master plan. The proof is in what you wrote in your most vulnerable moments”
Amidst the battlefield inside of me, I found the truth.
A truth that I will find again and again as I journey.
I have not struggled as much as many people I know.
I grew up easily.
I was told what was right and what was wrong. I grew up with Shabbat, Kosher, and all the holidays and laws as a given.
I briefly questioned it all, and came back stronger.
I was given the luxury of having a side that loves this life, because I grew up like this.
Life without my religion is a scary image. It’s a life I have never truly known, and could barely imagine.
In my brief intermission of deep questioning, I caught a glimpse of that world. Of what it would mean for me to strip myself down of religion, and live a G-dless life.
But when I chose G-d, when I recognized there is truth, something very much reflected above in my old piece of writing, I couldn’t let go of the questioning all together.
I could not turn myself into the people that drove me out in the first place.
The people who are rigid.
The people who say “G-d is truth, and don’t you dare believe that in any way other than the one we tell you”
So I didn’t.
I turned myself in a person. A person continuously struggling. A person with a battle inside of her.
A person who can say G-d is truth, and that is irrefutable. It is irrefutable because in my deepest anger, I was drawn to G-d to protect me.
You know when a mother tells a child off, the child will run and cry, but ultimately come back to the mother for comfort?
You know why?
Because that kid knows that at the end of the day, his/her mother will protect him/her at any cost.
I didn’t stop searching for G-d just because I know He is there. My search is more focused, more targeted, yes. But the search will never end.
I know that my two sides can work together, rather than destroy me on the inside.
My questioning side will keep on questioning, and my safe side will comfort it when it becomes too real.
My questioning side will open every wound, and beg to know the answers to why there is so much wrong in the world, and why I feel differently than someone who grew up the same way, and why my questions seem to anger those I ask.
My safe side will take my hand and say “Ask. Because you know that G-d will take you back into His arms when you are ready. He knows you will be angry, and He allows you that anger. All He asks is that you don’t pretend. Don’t pretend to be angrier than you are. Don’t pretend to have more questions than you do. Don’t pretend that this battle makes you smarter, cooler, or more interesting.”
I’m still questioning. Don’t get me wrong. Nothing makes sense, and everything is hard.
But I’m questioning in a different direction.
I am questioning with the knowledge that G-d is true.
I am no longer searching for the way out, I am no longer seeking the loophole that will prove it all false.
I am questioning because that is my nature, and I am questioning because G-d said I can.
I am questioning so that I can know my G-d better. So I can try.
I am not questioning to prove that G-d doesn’t exist, or because people who are different seem to always be questioning.
I am questioning, because I am me. I am questioning because I have found the truth.