I Don’t Know

Yesterday, traveling beneath New York City on the subway lines, I found myself surveying every person around me.

Had they heard? Did they know? Did they care? Could I trust them? Should I trust them?

Are they friends, or are they foes? Would they hate me for my Jewish faith? Would they stand by if someone tried to hurt me? Would they protest my death while watching it? Would they send thoughts and prayers?

Would they save me?

When something as tremendously horrifying as the murders in Pittsburgh happens, you’re forced to reconsider everything and everyone around you.

If I called out “who here loves all people?” how many hands would raise, confident and proud?

If I called out “who here loves the Jewish people?” how many hands would raise?

Would my words echo?

Worse – would my words be swallowed by a silence deeper than I could bear?

I’ve been coddled by this belief that this couldn’t happen here, not in America, not in a safe town like Pittsburgh, not here.

It happened here.

I watched, bewildered, as so many found their words so quickly, almost as the news was being spread, simultaneously were the answers, the blame, the hate.

I felt bowled over, pushed against a wall, as a stream of answers were being pushed my way –

“This is why!”

There is no why.

Is there a why?

If there is a why, then all I’ve ever been taught is a lie.

We always search for the why, but what I’ve learned is that there never is an answer to the why, and that is what makes us human.

Knowing there are no answers.

Not trying to find the answers.

How can we even try?

How can we organize pain as a question and an answer?

How can we possibly give an answer?

For me, there are no answers – there is only disbelief, only heartbreak, only wishes from so deep inside that it won’t ever happen again.

But there are questions, endless questions, for everyone, from G-d, to the smallest children on the street.

G-d, why do you allow evil in this world? How much light can be born from hate?

Child, how can we change this world for you? How can we purify it enough so that you don’t collapse from the pollution of our pain?

As I hear parents beg for help – “how do we speak to our children?” I wonder if the children need to be spoken to.

Children deserve to be coddled and protected from our world’s most awful truths, but more than that, children know the truth already.

How do we speak to our children?

Perhaps, rather than pulling them to grow up into our chaotic world, allow us to learn from them. Look into their eyes and see the innocence there – remember, remember what it means to be a child, to not know that such pain exists, to not expect it of the world around us, to not grasp for the answers but to allow ourselves to sit down and cry. To cry, ceaselessly and without shame, at the utter unfairness of it.

And then to pick ourselves back up, to make friends with those around us, to make the world simple again – love leads to love.

I’m not a parent, and in moments like these I am grateful that the only eyes I have to meet are mine in the mirror. I don’t have to crouch down to look into a heartbroken face, a child shattered by what they’ve overheard, having the moment in which their world goes from perfection to fractured.

And maybe I’m all wrong. Maybe nothing about this is simple. Maybe nothing about this is simply about that fact that 11 worlds have just been completely shattered because of their Jewish faith.  Maybe it’s not just about the fact that there are people out there who hate me for my faith and will stop at nothing to destroy. Maybe this is about politics, or guns, or protests and rallies. I don’t know. That’s the truth.

And that is why I hesitated to write words at all.

What use are words?

I’m no political scientist, or social commentator.

Maybe one day, I’ll add those qualifications to my resume, but for now, I am just one voice.

One voice, who grasps for words every time I feel the earth shake beneath my feet.

These are my words, and I’m sharing them with you in a desperate moment of trying to connect, to find a place we can meet, in a place that we can throw up our hands, cry out at the unfairness of it, and say, maybe, we just don’t know.



Photo by Jarl Schmidt on Unsplash

When Everything Broke

While I was uttering the words of Psalms, heartfelt prayers in my heart and on my lips far away from home on a sunny morning in France, the one thought I knew deep in my mind was “G-d wouldn’t.”
I knew, so solidly, that everything would be okay. That Hindi would come back from this. That soon our family would be discussing the huge miracle that occurred.
I knew it.
And then in one sickening moment, everything broke.
I didn’t believe the words I was reading. For hours afterward I waited for someone to say it was a mistake. That it wasn’t true. That everything wasn’t destroyed.
I consistently and constantly use words to express myself, but this time there weren’t any. Like being socked in the stomach, I couldn’t breathe, let alone write or speak. Only silence felt suitable in the wake of such an immense tragedy.
And so, I was silent.
For the first time all year, I missed writing a weekly blog post.
Every other time, I couldn’t justify breaking my commitment, I couldn’t allow myself to let a week go by without forcing myself to write something.
But when G-d kicks you in the gut, nothing matters anymore.
There were no words. I didn’t want to create words. I didn’t want to be a part of this tragedy, I didn’t want to raise my voice, I didn’t want to hear my words echo in such a cruel world.
And as I sit here, writing with tears in my eyes, wearing a dress and heels I’m trying on for a friends wedding I’ll be at next week, reality makes less sense to me than it ever has.
G-d took a mother from her children. A wife from her husband. A daughter, a sister, an aunt from her family, a teacher from her students.
Someone whom I’ve always, always admired.
In a world of false realities, Hindi was real.
She didn’t know how to work social media, she was all about honesty and truth.
The meals I shared with her and her family at her parent’s house I always remember so fondly, even before this horrible tragedy. She was quick to include me in conversation, ask me honest questions and listen, oh so well.
In a world of distraction, Hindi was here.
In a world of easy ways out, Hindi worked so hard to achieve her dreams.
Her babies are now left to grow up without her – how? They are surrounded by so much support and love, but nothing on earth can replace a mother.
As I take my next steps in life, I wish I could have spoken to her sooner about how to do it all. How to have the family and the career, how to maneuver the education system, how to bring positive change to the world, how to raise children to be open-minded and intuitive. But I missed my chance. I missed my chance to tell her how much I’ve admired her. I missed my chance to ask all my questions.
A part of me is broken, and always will be.
These things don’t go away. There will always be hard-hitting reminders about this new ugly reality we live in.
And for a long time, there will be so many moments that it feels like there is no air to breathe.
G-d knows what He did. Somewhere deep inside me, I believe His tears are mixed with ours. As I cry into my pillow, furious with Him, I desperately pray that He knows enough is enough.

We Can Change

When a human
with a beating heart
and a crying soul
is falling apart,
We need change.
When a human
with tired eyes
and scarred arms
wants to die,
We need change. 
When their tears are dry
and their heart is hard,
When they’ve locked doors
and pulled up their guard,
We need change.
When their bellies ache,
but the ache is deep,
When they scream for help
but the world still sleeps,
We need change.

When the world awakens
and listens close,
When our eyes pull open
and see the hearts that broke,
We can change.
When we stretch out arms,
and give our ear,
When we ask questions
without feeling fear,
We can change.
When all have beating hearts,
and all can be whole,
When all have rested eyes
and a hopeful soul,
We’ll have changed.
When gates are opened,
and locked doors have a key,
When cries are heard,
and forests catch the tree,
We’ll have changed.
When blind eyes are opened,
and arms are thrown open wide,
When judging is shameful,
and love doesn’t hide…
We’ll have changed.
But until then, my friend,
We’ve got work to do,
so nobody can say
“If I only knew.”

Blog Post: 34/52.

Featured Photo by Matthew Henry on Unsplash

The Pain of Growth

Growing pains.

That’s always what they were. As a kid, I’d come to complain to my mom about yet another aching part of my body, and the reason was always growing pains.
It gave the pain some purpose, a sense of pride. I was in the process of growing, becoming older, getting taller.
Eventually, we all stop growing physically, our measurements coming to a slow halt, leaving us at relatively the same size as our 16-17 year old selves.
The growing pains ebb away, and I imagine the reminder of them comes as our own children turn to us and ask us about their own pain.
Growing pains.
So easily explained, so easily understood, so excusable for the hurt we feel.
But as we reach milestones, turn corners, and fall over as we awkwardly grow into emotional adults, the growing pains are so much more unclear.
They feel more like failure.
As we grip our aching soul, the pain seems to have no purpose, for the growth is hard to see.
This week, it is my birthday. I say that not to get a slew of birthday gifts (although welcome,) I say it to clarify why growth is something I’m really focusing on this week.
For what is growth?
Do birthdays mark growth?
Do I look back at the past year, and measure myself? Using what as the yardstick? Amassed funds? Amassed friends? Sweet memories?
What proves that I have grown between last years cake and this years?
To me, it’s all about the growing pains.
Because I have had them.
And while I was aching, there were times I persevered, believing in the purpose of the pain. But there were times I surrendered to the pain, eyes shut, hands up, and let it overtake me.
This year I expanded horizons, worked harder, re-focused, trampled my comfort zone.
I have also cried in the shower, eaten too much sugar, given up, and allowed my self-made limits to box me in.
I’m tempted, on my birthday, to ask G-d to wipe the world clean of challenges, of obstacles, of struggles.
But I fear that I would be asking Him to remove the color, to silence the joy.
I prefer to ask him to allow us to see the purpose of the pain.
To allow us to look in the mirror and smile through the ache, because we know that through our pain, we are painting the world with vibrant colors.
Without struggle, without challenge, there is no depth of joy, there are no intricacies of beauty.
I ask Him to wipe the world clean of endless grief, of grief so deep that the beauty is too deeply hidden to be asked to reveal itself.
But I ask Him to continue to challenge us, challenge us with pushing past our limits. Challenge us with obstacles we can see over, obstacles we know we can overcome.
Allow the growing pains to have a purpose, allow the pain to be only a roadblock, not the end of the road.
Because without growth, we fail, and without growing pains, we don’t notice the growth.
May my growing pains paint the picture of my future, strengthening my foundation, allowing me to build up and up and up.
Even joyous occasions come with growing pains  – adjusting to married life, a new baby, a brand new home, a new career. But these are the growing pains we can handle, these are the growing pains that make us better. That give our world more color, make life richer, that give life more purpose.
And so as I welcome a new year of my life, I look back at my growth. And I mark my growth by the pain. Not by how many days I felt defeated, but by how many days I felt euphoric, having overcome the challenge that had held me back.
And I ask G-d that He give me more of that strength, more of the ability to jump the hurdles, to push through the pain for the most epic of results:
Glorious, colorful, invigorating, beautiful growth.

Blog Post: 25/52

What Do I Know?

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 do know
that I believe in a G-d.
that there is a higher power,
I have heard Him say yes,
and I have heard Him say no.

I know that I want my children to
grow up with that knowledge,
for it makes one humble.

I know that we are more
and more
than we believe.
I know that humans are only people.
There are humans that are more learned,
more skilled,
more educated.
None of them have more power.
None of them can prove
that my G-d does not exist.

I don’t know
what tomorrow will bring
I do know
what yesterday gave
I don’t know
what I don’t know
and each day
I learn
That I know
Blog Post: 23/52

Featured Photo by Tim Gouw on Unsplash

Can I Become The Enemy?

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 cry – so much. I spend my nights in my high school dorm scribbling in my diary, poetry, anger filled paragraphs. The lack of space is stifling me.
I’m so lonely, searching for someone who has a mind that is like mine.
The adults in my life that should be my role models are telling me I’m not trying hard enough.
“The only thing I want in life is to be 18,” I write, tears hitting my pillow one late night.
Because adults are not told that they don’t know what’s right, adults aren’t told that they are not good enough.

I’m fifteen years old.
I don’t want to be an adult.

Adults are broken, hurt, distrustful. Adults think they’re better, smarter, more clever. They’re just overgrown teenagers with more power.
My grandmother is sick, and everything is scary. None of the adults are telling me what is going on.
“Screw everyone,” I write.


I’m sixteen years old.
I’m a counselor in a day camp. Two little girls that are my campers are fighting angrily about something. Something so deeply stupid, I can’t even stand it.
I separate them.
They cry.
I look at them with disbelief. “Kids are so ridiculous,” I think to myself as I turn away from them.
I don’t know where my diary is.


I’m eighteen years old. 
I still want to be older. Eighteen is not old enough. There are still so many people who don’t believe in me. Who don’t believe in the youth.
I write on my brand new blog: “Why do I have to spend my life waiting for someone to take me seriously?”

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.

As I cuddle with my nephew to tell him a story, he shows sensitivity and wisdom far beyond his years.
As I listen to my students speak, see their hurt and feel their frustration, I am reminded of the days that I sat at their desks. The anger I felt at those who felt like they had any sort of authority over me.
Real anger. Justified anger.
As I sit at a teachers meeting, I look around in disbelief, the feeling of having snuck into somewhere I don’t belong is overpowering.
I am a child. These are adults. These are the enemies I spent my life fighting against.
How did I become one of them?
As I enforce rules I know are important, my heart breaks, knowing that I am the adult. I am the adult that does not need to explain her actions, who should be spoken to respectfully, who can not cry and show her own weaknesses lest it lead to that respect fading away.
I am torn.
I still feel like the child I was, yet time and experience is forcing me into a role I never thought I’d take on.
I begin to recognize where children err. I understand that teenagers often make bad choices.
I can’t commit, I can’t cross that bridge. I read the list that I began writing when I was twelve years old, and I am reminded. I am reminded that the pain and anger of a child are no less important or real than that of an adult.
I am reminded of the time I told someone that I was having a bad day
when I was a teenager.
The response I received was “How can you be having a bad day when you don’t have to pay taxes, worry about finances, or go to work?”
I am growing older.
I’m never going to be an adult.
My heart carries the child I once was, the teenager I just was, the person I am becoming  – and I’ll never let all these parts go.
I will keep looking at my diary, remembering those nights, that pain – I don’t want to be the adult who makes others feel that way.
Sometimes, it won’t be my choice.
Sometimes, you’ll have to follow someone else’s rules. You’ll have to take extreme measures to educate.
But I won’t be the enemy.
In High School I wrote a letter to the future me.
I wrote
“You might think you’re high and mighty, Future Me, just because you
are older.  But your past is important, almost as important as your future.”
As each day passes, I age just a little bit.
I hope I gain wisdom, experience, and responsibility each and every day.
But even more deeply than that, I hope that I never let the child in me down.
Because every voice is important. Every tear-soaked night is okay.
Every soul deserves to know how valuable it is.
Every heart deserves to know that it doesn’t have to wait.
There is no better time to be who you need to be.
Adulthood will come. But when it does, it won’t change anything.
The power is in the youth.
Don’t waste today.
Blog Post: 16/52
Featured Photo by Joshua Earle on Unsplash

It’s Been 5 Years

Five years.
Five years since I last saw my Bubby, laying in the hospital, my tears falling on her cheek as I said goodbye.
Five years.
Five years since I laughed with her, shared my stories with her, discussed what was happening in the world with her.
Five years.
Five years ago I was only five years younger, but it feels like so much more.
They say time heals, and it’s true. It does. These days, I can think about my Bubby without tears falling. I can talk about her without my voice cracking. I can even visit her without my heart feeling like it is going to climb out of my chest.
It’s taken five years.
Yet, time does not return. Time creates distance. Time deepens the chasm. Time is cruel.
Because as I grow older, I yearn for Bubby more. I wish for her to be around to chat with. As I grow older, I realize how much more I would be able to appreciate her as the adult I am turning into, and I am broken hearted that G-d couldn’t allow that to happen.
It hurts my soul to know that the last time we spoke, I was only in my second year of high school. It was before I switched schools. It was before I graduated. It was before my first job, or my second job, before my blog, before so, so much growth.
It hurts, even more, to look forward into the future and see the space grow, the time build a deeper distance.
As I take steps into my future, as I begin to see the faint outlines of my story, it breaks my heart that Bubby is not a main character.
I know, it is blasphemous to say these things. I know that I should be a voice of bravery and hope. A conviction to the belief that we will be reunited very soon because the alternative is unthinkable.
But it’s hard.
It’s hard to be in the unthinkable and to be able to imagine a world where the pain is a bygone memory.
As I look into my future and think about the idea of my future husband and children not getting a chance to get to know my Bubby, it is a harsh reality that meets my eyes.
Because I have her inside of me, I have the memories, I have her smile in my mind’s eye, but how will they have it? How will they know who I come from? How will they know who they come from? How will they understand the level of privilege that comes with being one of my grandmother’s descendants?
It is up to the living to ensure that although Bubby is missing from the family photos, she is not gone. It is up to her children and grandchildren to make sure she is a continued part of the every-day conversation. It is up to those of us who knew my Bubby to ensure that her legacy stays alive, that she is emulated in our actions, thoughts, and behavior.
That is what our future will build their foundation on.
It’s been 5 years.
They say that time heals, yet it seems like the healing is often the most painful part.
Blog Post: 11/52

Featured Photo by Julien Laurent on Unsplash

Is G-d Crying Too?

Dear G-d,

I’m trying to reach out. I’m trying to force past the stone wall that is inside my heart. I’m trying to reach my soul, the soul that has been weeping for days.
I’ve been weeping for days.
Just a few days ago, you took a soul from this earth, a loved soul, a soul that was accomplishing beautiful things.
I did not know him.
But his illness made an incredible impact on me.
G-d, I know you remember. For the weeks that he was sick, I was gaining strength in my spirituality. I was becoming a better person. I was more focused. I tried to think positively, something that does not come naturally to me. I tried things I’d never done before in Judaism. I started a small Chassidus study group with friends, something I’d wanted to do for a long time.
His illness, and the hope I felt that I could create some change, pushed me to do so many things. Good things. Things that felt right.
And I was so sure. Like so many, I was sure that I was making a difference. I felt the words I said in my siddur, in my tehillem, my actions, I felt them go straight to the sea of prayers filled with the prayers from everyone else. I saw the sea rising, turning the situation in our favor.
There was not a single doubt in my mind that he would pull through.
Because I trusted. I trusted you, G-d. I trusted that you would look upon your children, your precious, sweet children, and recognize what was happening. You’d see how something that is known for producing so much evil, the internet, had produced so much good. You’d see how thousands were committing to being more connected to their Judaism, people were taking steps forward, and in this process, G-d, people were falling in love with you.
For the first time in months.
For the first time in years.
For the first time, ever.
But then…you broke that trust.
You refused to allow us to witness a miracle.
I won’t speak for others.
I’ll speak only for myself.
But G-d, I have never, in my life, felt this type of anger towards you.
Perhaps it’s because I am lucky. I have never been faced with such a hidden revelation.
A human life is likened to an entire world, and I have never seen that so clearly. He was one man, one man that united an entire world, one man that is being mourned by strangers.
Wouldn’t it have been easy, G-d?
Aren’t you all-powerful?
Aren’t you the one who chooses which way our lives go?
Couldn’t you have given us this?
If our reality was different, G-d, I would not be angry.
The words in my siddur would not be tasting like sawdust.
Going the extra mile in my Judaism would not feel like a marathon.
Yet you chose the reality.
You chose this reality.
If everything I have ever learned is true, G-d, I know you are weeping too.
I know the punches we throw mean nothing and everything to you at the same time.
I know that for each one of our hearts that break, your heart comes apart a little more.
I know that the pain we feel is your pain too.
And as I open my siddur, against my will, and as I pray to you and praise you, against my will, my soul bursts through. And I know that this is why my soul lives inside of me.
Because when doing anything for you is against my will, my soul has no choice in the matter. My soul clings to you, desires you, lives for you.
We don’t know the bigger plan, and that truth fills me with agonizing pain.
You know the bigger plan, yet something tells me that even with that knowledge, you are filled with agonizing pain as well.
You are covered in wounds from our hot tears. From the shards of our broken hearts.
Because as we cry, you gently hold us in your hands, ignoring your pain so that you can be there for ours.
When we drift off to sleep, that is when you weep, filled with a misery that can only come from the knowledge that to get us to the greatest good, you must put us through the greatest pain.
I am furious with you, G-d.
Yet I pity you.
And as I cry and search for the comforting embrace, I offer you my shoulder.
Because I know that this is not something anyone wanted. Not us. Not our souls.

Not even you.

Blog Post: 9/52

Feature Photo by Cherry Laithang on Unsplash

The Day the Angels Spoke Up

It was just another day in heaven, and a collection of angels had joined G-d in the human production wing for their day’s work. G-d was carefully putting together the day’s newest soul to join the world and laying down the final touches that the soul would now need during its time on earth.
The angels worked quickly and silently, passing G-d each tool and gift He required.
“Can you pass me the Free Choice from that shelf?”
The angels responded with a deep silence.
None of them made any move towards the shelves.
G-d looked up, His displeasure clear on His expression, “is something wrong?”
The angels all looked uneasily at each other. Finally, one, who had a reputation for bravery in the face of holier beings, cleared her throat and stepped forward.
“My Majesty, forgive me for being so out of line, but we have been watching earth and we can’t help but weep at what we see. Would it be so terrible to remove Free Choice from the human species? They are constantly making the wrong choices. The world is falling apart at the seams,” she looked around at her fellow angels for support “and we remember, we were there when you sewed each stitch so carefully.”
G-d turned His face away, and when He looked back, the angels were shocked to see tears falling from their King, who usually reserved His tears for when He was in His most hidden chambers.
The angels eyed each other, suddenly awkward and uncomfortable.
“I’m so sorry, that was so uncalled for,” stammered the angel who had spoken up, now seriously considering disappearing.
“No,” G-d spoke finally, a voice heavy with emotion “you speak the truth.”
The angels let out the collective breath they had been holding, though still unsure of what to do.
They hovered quietly, waiting to see what G-d’s next instructions would be.
“I know that you find yourself disappointed with the human kind.” He started slowly.
They all nodded, slightly ashamed. They all remembered each tireless fight between the angels and G-d, always born out of this sensitive topic. G-d always took the side of His people.
With a sigh, G-d opened the door to the human production wing, and the angels knew He wanted them to follow. They swept along the halls, following their King to the other side of heaven, where the Earth Observation wing was.
As the door slid open, the angels inside gaped at who stood in the door. G-d rarely stepped foot inside this wing, being that He was all-knowing and all-seeing and did not require the extra assistance that the angels needed.
They immediately moved out of the way, allowing access to all of the controls. G-d waited until all the angels had gathered.
Angels in the middle of other ethereal tasks noticed the commotion as they moved past, and gathered at the edges of the wing as well.
“I will allow a short break in our tasks because I feel that this is of utmost importance to discuss before we can carry on,” G-d announced.
Curious, the angel’s inched closer.
“I have been alerted to the fact that there is some dislike for the continued use of Free Choice for the human species.”
The angels that had just been pushing to get closer cringed and moved back. They looked around accusingly, trying to spot the angel that had sprung the leak.
“Everyone in this universe is my creation. Including all of you. It would do you well to complete each of your tasks and leave earth and it’s people to Me. But, because you have been discussing this amongst yourselves, I find that I cannot go about creating more humans before I clear this up.”
With that, G-d turned to the controls and began moving things around. The angels watched, nervously, as scenes unfolded before them.
Quickly, scene after scene unfolded of members of the human species, men, women, and children, making choices with their Free Choice privilege.
They watched as a father sat in his New York office, making the decision to sacrifice a promotion to be able to spend more time with his family. They watched as a child, three dollars held tightly in her chubby fist, made the choice between a new toy and charity, gifting the three dollars to a homeless man on the street.
They watched a mother gently discipline her child, despite how easy it would be to give in to his whims.
They watched as humans of all kinds across the earth continuously made the right choices, and as each time, that small part of the world was lit up with a joy and light so deep and warm, the angels could feel it all the way back up in heaven.
After a few minutes, G-d turned back to the angels, who stood, all smiling, much more relaxed. A chorus of “we are so sorry, of course, You’re right.” came from the crowd.
One voice stood out.
“Excuse me,”
The angels all stared at the angel who dared to differ.
“May I?”
The angel strode forward, her fellow angels recognizing her as the one who had spoken up in the first place.
They all eyed G-d, unsure of His reaction. He moved back, allowing her access to the controls.
She moved some things around and suddenly the room was filled with horrible images of mass murder, greed, and human cruelty.
The angels gasped, cowering.
“How can this be ignored?” the angel turned to her friends “We were only shown the images of the humans making the right choices – but what about when they make the wrong decisions? How can we allow them to destroy the gift they have been given? They are mindless idiots, making foolish, cruel decisions!”
“Stop!” roared G-d.
The angels stared at G-d, begging for an explanation. An answer. He only responded with deep, broken sobs.
Through His tears, G-d maneuvered the scenes again and the angels watched as two scenes unfolded before them.
They were the same scenes, but it was immediately obvious to the angels that in one scene, the human had Free Choice, and in the other, he did not.
In the scene lacking Free Choice, the human did not spend time wondering what to do. He did not even eye the wrong choice, or give it a moments thought. He efficiently and painlessly did the right thing and quickly moved on. Sparks flew, and the world warmed slightly from the good deed.
The angels sighed in contentment as they watched. What a beautiful, safe world it would be when Free Choice was no longer an option.
The room full of angels moved their attention to the scene with the human gifted with Free Choice. They watched as the human sat, making the decision. He made lists, and wandered far, seeking the counsel of others. Tears were shed, and a deep pain was felt in the midst of the indecision. The struggle seemed to be tearing the human apart.
“See!” cried out the courageous angel “Look at the pain of the human, a pain that would not exist without Free Choice.”
“Quiet!” roared G-d, anger flashing in His eyes.
The angels watched, breath held, as the human contemplated, and thought, and grew as he made the decision.
Finally, the human made the right choice.
The observation room exploded with applause, great big smiles spreading across the angels.
They watched as the world was engulfed in a spiritual fire that reached all four corners of the world, embracing all of mankind and refining the earth as a whole.
The room was silent again, for even the once courageous angel felt foolish now.
The difference between the two scenes was laughable.
G-d looked closely at each angel “Do you see now?”
They all nodded, quite humbled.
“There will be pain. There will be hurt. They will make the wrong choices. I created them – I knew that they would mess up.” Each angel felt as if G-d was speaking to them alone as He looked around the room “But how can we have a world in which no true decisions must be made? I can create a world as holy and pure as I want, but as soon as I wrote humankind into the script, I gave them the power to create a world that is holier and more beautiful than I ever could do alone. Yes, the path is filled with blood and tears. It hurts terribly each time they choose evil over good.”
Some of the more sensitive angels began to cry.
“Remember,” G-d said gently “they are doing the work that none of us could do. And as painful as it is for us, the pain for them is double. They are bringing the world to its ultimate completion.”
The angels wiped their tears, thoroughly chastised and humbled.
“Now, back to work!” G-d instructed, sending angels flying back to their stations.
As they filed back into the human production wing, the angels dared not speak. G-d took His place again at the table.
“Now, let us try this again. Can I have the Free Choice?”
The angels all clamored to be the one to pass it over. After much ado, it finally made its way to G-d.
He smiled kindly and placed it inside the soul.
He then gently wrapped the soul in its protective garments that would keep it intact for its tumultuous journey on earth. He placed it carefully in the arms of the angel handpicked to accompany the soul.
G-d leaned forward, and lay a soft kiss on the soul and whispered:
“My pure, darling soul…make the right choices.”

Blog Post: 5/52

Photo by Kyle Glenn on Unsplash

When It’s Not Okay

After a weekend of really bad news, there have been a thousand and one thoughts flying through my head.

Many of them are about how G-d is just really really cruel sometimes, and that I’m not so cool with that.

There has been a lot of uncertainty in the country right now. I don’t care to join the conversation about politics because I have yet to see a conversation of that sort that leads to anything positive.

But there’s no denying that everyone is in a time of upheaval, confusion, a universal unsettledness.

There’s this poem I wrote months ago. I haven’t shared it. I don’t know why.

Maybe, because it was waiting for now.

Maybe, because when I wrote it, I somehow knew there would a time that it would be more important. More applicable.

I haven’t blogged in a long time. Politics have taken up everything, and by not wanting to talk about them, my inspiration for posts dried up. I had plenty to say, but nothing to share.

So here. Here is my poem. It came from the depths of my heart. I share it now, tear-stained but hopeful. May it reach your souls, embrace you, lift up your spirit and your heart.

This poem is because everything is hard. But everything is also beautiful.

To My Creator:

Are You there?

I don’t mean “Do You exist?”

I know that You exist,

I tried to believe that You didn’t once

but my soul taught me otherwise.

I know now that You exist –

You were there when I was born.

Are You there?

I ask that because I have a long list,

A bucket full of prayers

and I need You to focus.

Are You there?

May I begin by asking

that You remind me that

Believing in You

Does not mean that life is without

Stubbed toes

And mumbled curses

Bad days

And cold showers.

Believing in You

means believing those things have purpose.

Let me keep remembering that.

I pray that You give me the gift

Of being able to leave my comfort zone

without asking “Do I look okay?”

Give me the gift of walking out

Head held high

Letting the world take me as I am.

I pray that You grant me the ability

to change this earth,

To have Your words speak through my fingers,

To warm souls and mend hearts.

I pray that You allow me the joy of a soul-mate,

That I recognize when he is standing in front of me,

That You orchestrate circumstances 

To let us build a future

Without the pain it can involve.

I pray that You let my mind keep growing,

Let my heart keep caring,

Let my eyes still glance around 

Searching for someone who needs help.

I pray that You lift my head up when it begins to fall,

That You hold my hand when I’m ready to bolt,

That You continue to allow me life’s simple joys,

Like chocolate chip cookies,

and a sunflower picked fresh from the ground.

Allow me to write stories and poetry,

and let them all mean something,

except when they don’t need to mean anything

but comfort.

Let each of my actions hold purpose,

Let me not waste minutes and hours and days.

Let the depths of my hearts wants,

Like blessings to fall upon all those around me,

Be overwhelmingly plentiful.

Most of all,


When these prayers are not answered,

The way that I seek for them to be,

Allow me to come back,

And keep praying,

With open eyes,

and an open heart,

And the same sure belief,

that You are there.