Blog Post: 25/52
Blog Post: 25/52
Talya tossed and turned, burying herself under the blankets, as if that could make her mind stop churning.
She heard her son whimper from his bed. She lifted him up and tried to calm him as her hands shook and her heart beat twice as fast.
How could she sleep tonight?
Tomorrow, her best friend since childhood would be sacrificing her life for the sake of the Jewish nation.
Talya had not eaten in 3 days, and she was physically weakened, but the mind games and constant thought had played more of a role in causing her diminished state.
She couldn’t fathom what Esther was feeling, thinking.
Was Esther sleeping tonight?
In that enormous palace, empty of joy, empty of soul, beautiful in all the wrong ways.
Esther’s home for so many years, yet Esther hasn’t been home in so many years.
The baby fell back asleep in Talya’s arms, and she moved to a pillow on the ground. She needed the comfort his small body gave to her.
Shushan was quiet in the dead of the night. Talya wondered how many eyes were still open, staring at the night sky.
It had been horribly long since Esther was taken. Eleven years since that painful day.
Talya had been away at her uncle’s house, assisting with his small children for a few months after his wife passed away, all the way in Persepolis. When she left, she hugged her best friend goodbye, naive, unknowing what the coming months would bring.
When she returned, her best friend had been kidnapped and preparations were underway to proclaim her as queen.
Talya cried for two weeks, unable to leave her bed, feeling a depth of guilt she could not even fathom. Then one day she was forced to go to the market, and as she did, the evil King Achashverosh was showing off his new wife on a escorted stroll through the Jewish area of Shushan. Talya locked eyes with Esther, and Esther’s eyes filled with tears.
Talya knew there could be immense danger for Esther if she dared to express displeasure about being the new Queen, so she made a fool out of herself by comically dropping the pears she held. Several people around her gave her angry looks, but when Talya met Esther’s eyes again, she saw a glint of amusement and the hint of a smile on her lips.
Nobody in the palace knew that Esther was Jewish, and therefore Talya could not soirée with Esther in her lavish new home. But they exchanged letters, sent through Mordechai and Hatach, and whenever Esther was let out of the palace for a brief showing, Talya focused all her love into the one glance they could afford.
She couldn’t imagine the depth of loneliness Esther felt in that huge palace, the lack of warmth, love and Torah that once surrounded her now gone, all taken in one fateful night.
Talya lay the baby gently on his bed and tip toed quietly out of the house, careful not to wake her husband and other sleeping children.
She looked up at the starry sky. It was a beautiful night, the kind of night Esther had loved as a kid.
As soon as the thought entered her mind, Talya forced it out.
“No, this will not be Esther’s last night alive.”
Talya felt the lump in her throat returning, the tears coming again.
Mordechai was so brave, so resilient in his faith. He had visited their home earlier that day, and he had not one doubt in his mind that a miracle would occur.
Talya wished for even an ounce of his strength. But it was so hard, oh so hard, to stop the bad thoughts from coming in.
“Don’t you see, Talya?” Mordechai had cried “this is why Esther has been living in that palace for eleven years. For this moment! Can you imagine that G-d would forsake us?”
Talya shook her head as she continued to pray, unable to do anything else but fast and pray, as they had done for the last three days.
The impending doom of the 13th of Adar was looming, less than a year away. They should been celebrating the Pesach Seder that night, but they were fasting.
Talya’s heart dipped in pain as she bit back the thought that perhaps this was their last chance to celebrate Passover at all.
The door across from Talya opened, startling her from her thoughts. She brushed her tears away as her neighbor stepped out of her house.
“Can’t sleep?” Avigail called softly.
Talya shook her head. Avigail crossed the path and embraced Talya. As soon as Avigail’s arms were around her, Talya’s tears came quickly. She could no longer hold them back.
The two women stood, in tears, their stomachs empty, but full of fear, their hearts trying so hard to believe.
But when life unfolds so slowly, when the future can only be known once it has passed, belief is the most difficult to find.
It had been eleven years since Esther had been taken from their small neighborhood, eleven years since she had been a part of their everyday life. She had laughed with them, inspired them and cooked with them.
For eleven years she had been unreachable, growing less familiar each day.
And tomorrow she would risk death in order to save them.
And nobody knew if the plan would work. It was a plan of desperation. A hope, a tiny fire kindled and strengthened by their leader Mordechai.
And on the night that families should be united around tables, singing songs, drinking wine and eating matzah together, celebrating freedom, some sat alone and some sat together, whispering words of prayer, asking their G-d to split the sea once more.
Blog Post: 24/52
Disclaimer: This story may not be historically, biblically, or anything correct. I used my creative license to give life and emotion to a story we read each year. If you’ve never heard the story, read it here: http://www.chabad.org/holidays/purim/article_cdo/aid/645995/jewish/The-Basic-Purim-Story.htm
There are things I know
and so much I don’t.
I don’t know
why people kill people
or if we should have guns
I don’t know
how humans survive
the human condition.
I don’t know
why illness is prevalent
why hate is so strong
why people suffer.
I know that I want my children to
grow up with that knowledge,
for it makes one humble.
Time has a way of swallowing things up. Making things almost obsolete, as if they never even happened. Sometimes, when I close my eyes, I can almost remember the smell of the room. Other times, it’s as if that entire experience happened to someone else entirely.
Blog Post: 22/52
In my entire life, I have never prioritized school over family, or pretty much anything else in my life.
Is that bad?
It sounds bad.
It sounds bad to me because it sounds kind of irresponsible.
But that’s the way it always was.
I didn’t flunk my classes. I didn’t get all A’s either.
But it didn’t really matter.
If there was something happening in the family, or I just needed to be home, it was never a question if I could get out of school, that’s just what I did. I was never afraid to show my parents my report card because I knew they didn’t really care if it said A or B on it. They would raise their eyebrows if there was a C, but that’s only because they knew I was capable of more. That I was bordering on laziness.
This attitude towards school has carried me through to my adult work life. I tried once explaining to someone that I am not capable of becoming a workaholic, of putting work before life.
She stared at me, puzzled.
“Without work, what is life?”
I don’t care for jobs that stretch into the evening hours. I don’t care for jobs that only have me on the subway at 6:00, collapsing at the end of every day.
See the thing is, as I write this, my heart is pounding. I can’t write these things. I can’t share these things. Because in essence, I feel like I am only justifying my laziness. My inability to work hard could not be yelling louder in this post.
And it makes me cringe.
I am privileged. I am so lucky. I am lucky to not have to work 12 hour work days to make ends meet. I am lucky that I am able to put almost all my earnings into savings. I am lucky that I can live this way, choosing my hours.
Because I don’t want to have to compromise. I don’t want to have to give up time spent with my nephew’s for keyboard tapping and a weary head.
I don’t want to have to say goodbye to dinners with my friends in exchange for dark hours spent in an office.
I work. Don’t worry. I spend my days at my computer, typing, typing, clicking. Some days I am so busy, I don’t have time to write a blog post (like this week. I almost didn’t make it.) Some days I lay down in my bed and I think to myself “There is not enough time in the day”
Except that there’s always enough time in the day.
Until I have children, and then there literally won’t be enough time in the day, there’s always enough time.
It’s only a matter of how I use it.
Right now, this minute, as I write this, I am choosing to write this during a time that if I was working, I’d be being paid. And checking things off on a very long to-do list.
But right now, I am doing something that I promised myself I’d do.
I promised myself I’d write a blog post every week. To show myself that I could work hard. Because as you can see, it’s a major insecurity for me. Because it seems like everyone knows how to work hard.
And sometimes, I look at myself in the mirror and I wonder. I wonder if I’ll ever learn how to work hard, really hard.
But then sometimes, I realize that I do work hard. I work hard at things I love. I work hard at the relationships in my life, to try to keep them alive and thriving.
I work hard to write a blog post every week, even though sometimes it hurts to share, sometimes it’s easier to write something I know won’t touch anyone, something that won’t rip open my vulnerabilities again and again.
I work hard on my connection to G-d, to my Judaism. I do.
I demand much of myself on a daily basis.
Would my friends describe me as hard-working?
Probably not. Honestly, I don’t know.
Would I describe myself as hard-working?
But I would describe myself as passionate. I would describe myself as someone who cares so much, it genuinely hurts. To me, these are qualities I am grateful G-d has given me. I am so, so aware of the weaknesses He gave me, but I am eternally grateful that these are my strengths.
Because when push comes to shove, I know that when something I care about requires hard work, I am able to conquer it, I am able to work hard.
I hope to one day be able to work hard even when I don’t care. Even when something is not my passion, my top priority, or someone I love, I would like to be able to put by best self forward and give it my all.
I’m working on it. It’s a painful process, learning how to work hard. It is filled with self-beratement, guilt and being unsure of what working hard really is.
And most of all, I cannot, for a moment, stop thanking G-d for giving me a life in which I never had to learn how to work hard. I feel extremely privileged. And I know it’s coming, the days in which I will have to 100% put myself aside for something else. But I continue to pray to G-d that I will be given the privilege of being allowed to work as hard as I can on my marriage and work as hard as I can in raising my children.
Because as difficult and undesirable hard work is for me, I recognize that hard work is a privilege all of its own. It means you have something to work for.
And while I still don’t concern myself with the worry that I’ll become a workaholic, perhaps I’ll one day discover that work is not all bad. That hard work is often a reward all on its own.
Blog Post: 21/52
The spot I had found was filled with all kinds of weird sculptures and things that I analyzed as I sat there, in the sweet silence.
Featured Photo by Christopher Burns via Unsplash.
People often tell me I’m good at being vulnerable, but the truth is, I’m okay with anything I put out there.
To me, being vulnerable is opening up to what is truly fragile.
But perhaps that is just stupidity, and knowing what you should share and what you shouldn’t share is just maturity.
I’ve been struggling with this idea this week.
I wrote 4 blog posts this week.
Not one of them are fit to be shared, either because they’re too boring, too personal, or too controversial to unleash on my Facebook page.
Do you know how frustrating it is to write 4 blog posts and not want to share any of them?
I’ve always been a sharer – I’ve never been one to avoid sharing my feelings, not as a child, not as an adult. I’ve never been afraid of putting myself out there with my emotions. Trust me, I’ve put myself in some very vulnerable, embarrassing situations because I don’t believe in letting things stop you when you have something to say.
But these blog posts are not meant for the world, maybe just for now, or maybe for forever.
I tried a lot of things to produce a blog post this week.
I tried writing at different times of day, in different locations, all different forms of writing.
I sat in a coffee shop, with a coffee I didn’t even want to see if I could reproduce that famous coffee shop inspiration.
It’s time I’ve come to terms with the fact that I am not a coffee shop writer. It just doesn’t work for me.
But the point is, I’ve been working hard this week.
And it’s felt fruitless.
As I finished each blog post, I knew immediately it was not the post I was looking for.
And then, while I was walking back from the coffee shop, this line popped into my head.
“Where blog posts go to die.”
And I clung to that line, not knowing where it would go, not knowing if it meant anything.
And I got home, and I started writing.
And I decided- I’m going to honor each of this weeks failed blog posts by giving you one tiny excerpt from each:
1. And as I finish writing this, I know that I’m not going to share this because it is empty of thought and meaning. It is simply a rambling, and the level of ego I need to imagine that people should be reading my ramblings is not a level of ego I want to admit I have.
2. This attitude towards school has carried me through to my adult work life. I tried once explaining to someone that I am not capable of becoming a workaholic, of putting work before life.
She stared at me, puzzled.
“Without work, what is life?”
3. Each night, as I fall asleep, I remember all the mistakes I made, all the bad choices. I resolve to do better tomorrow – no, not better, to do it perfectly tomorrow.
I’ll wake up early, do a quick workout, eat a healthy breakfast, have an incredibly productive day, still have time to hang out with people I love, and most importantly, go to sleep earlier.
4. It is not something that is in my control.
I’ve berated myself, I’ve tried to remind myself time and time again that a watched pot never boils. But alas, I can not stop myself from thinking these thoughts.
Every wrong turn, every delayed train – heck, every train ride I’ve ever taken.
Perhaps one day these posts will be revitalized, fine-tuned and shared. Or maybe they won’t. Maybe they don’t need to. Maybe there are things I can tuck inside my notebook, keep inside my heart, and not share with the world.
Maybe these blog posts have lived and died, enough for me to open up my heart, let the words out, and close up the story.
I’m a writer. I love sharing.
But maybe not everything is meant to be shared.
Blog post: 19/52
Featured Photo by Jose Fontano via Unsplash.
This poem is a journey through Shmoneh Esrei, the Amidah, in my daily morning prayer. It’s about connection, it’s about distraction, it’s about trying. Open up your siddur – follow along.
Three steps backward,
Three steps forward.
the same G-d that Avraham spoke to,
He’s listening to me.
The ones we don’t see.
for it to get to His throne?
One of my go-to phrases in life is:
“Ugh, I hate people.”
I’m twelve years old.
I start a list.
Whenever an adult wrongs me in any way, I write it down.
That way, when I begin the terrifying transformation from child to adult, I will never wrong children in the same way.
I keep that list updated through the years.
As a kid, my enemy is adults. As much as I want to be one, I’m sure that they are all screwed up.
I’m fourteen years old.
I’m a full-blown teenager.
I’m fifteen years old.
I don’t want to be an adult.
I no longer count the days until adulthood, because I am starting to realize that nobody is an adult. But as I walk into my classroom, as I walk through a park, as I babysit my nephews, I realize I am the adult in each of these situations.