9 Kislev 5779 / Saturday, November 17, 2018 | Torah Reading: Vayeitzei
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Show Not Tell

I want God to talk to me but like the Jews at Mt. Sinai I wouldn't be able to take it. I am so restricted in my present physical state that it would be pointless...


When I was dating my husband I had some serious doubts about our compatibility. He was kind of quiet whereas I have no greater passion than good conversation. Often we would stroll together in silence without much to say.


I liked many of his other qualities. He was smart, optimistic and ambitious and he made it known to me that he was smitten. Patient and persistent, he waited for me to make up my mind about our future.


But his stability made me nervous and I began feeling bored. His simplicity was unfamiliar; without a lot drama in a relationship, I didn't know how to be.


One day after several months of going out I became frustrated at his lack of expressiveness. I demanded that he write me a poem and he agreed, although creative writing was not really his thing.


This poem is going to seal his fate I thought. He's gonna get as far as roses are red and we'll be over. I knew he would flunk this test and my decision would be made. I felt relief on its way.


The next morning my husband handed me an envelope. Inside was a sonnet of twenty-four verses. I sat down in shock and began to read. It was a poem about a beautiful princess, it was an adventure story, a love letter, a song from the heart. And it rhymed!


I sat there completely impressed. How afraid I had been to trust the depth of his love! I suppose I had needed it spelled out in words.


Last week while doing hisbodedus – personal prayer - I asked myself what it is I really want. And I thought, “I want to know absolutely that Hashem loves me personally. Not just because I'm Jewish and just because He loves all His creations. I want to know He loves me, Yehudit Channen.” So I asked myself, “Well what would it take for you to be sure?” and I answered, “I want Hashem to tell me with words.”


Just then my grandson began to cry. He is just five weeks old and my daughter Bracha came quickly to get him. She lifted him out of his stroller and began to coo, “It’s okay, Mommy's here, don't cry. Come my love.” She carried him off and I sat there thinking,  that baby has no idea what his mother just said. He has no way of understanding her words, zero capacity for appreciating her language. The baby is so linguistically limited that it's only through having his physical and emotional needs met that he gains a sense of love and security. His mother's words are meaningless to him but her voice and her actions bring him peace.


I want God to talk to me but like the Jews at Mt. Sinai I wouldn't be able to take it. I am so restricted in my present physical state that it would not only be pointless for Hashem to speak to me, it would be fatal. I'm not a prophet.


So God shows His love for me by meeting all my needs, which He does day after day in so many ways. I am truly blessed beyond my wildest dreams. But compared to my Creator, I'm just a clueless infant who has no idea of Who it is that's caring for me. And I want Him to spell out His love.


Truthfully He has. Once many years ago I was alone at a yard sale. I had just completed a big editing job and was feeling restless and lonesome. I didn't know anyone at the sale and I thought to myself, well God is here and He recognizes me. That second I looked down at one of the tables and saw an old key chain for sale. The name on the key chain was mine. Could it get any clearer? I bought that key chain for a dollar and I cherish it still. That was definitely a text from heaven complete with divine chuckling from above.


Two days ago my grandson began to smile and coo in response to my daughter Bracha. She says his name and tickles him gently and he grins up at her. We are all delighted at this crucial development. The baby is connecting to his mother, he is responding to her love. He wiggles with pleasure and stares at her face. He falls in love with the one who loves him, the one who gave him life. He has no ability to comprehend his mother but in his baby way, he is reaching out.


Hashem shows me in so many ways how much He loves me. My entire life is His poem to me, the story of the princess, the beloved daughter of the King. I dwell in the palace, have lots of adventures and my Father is aware of me every minute of every day. I have everything I need and I always have. Now that I am an older princess Hashem is still keeping me close and after I die we will be even closer. He just can't tell me directly how much He loves me only because I don't speak God.



* * *

Rebbitzen Yehudit Channen began her career as a Crisis Intervention Counselor in Silver Spring, Md. in the seventies. After moving to Israel, she worked as a marital mediator and social skills instructor for kids. Following the death of a son, Rebbitzen Channen became a certified bereavement counselor and worked with young mothers who had suffered loss. Most recently she worked at the Melabev Center for the memory-impaired, as an activity director and group facilitator for families coping with Dementia.  The Rebbitzen has written for numerous magazines and newspapers and recently led an interactive creative writing course called Connective Writing. Yehudit Channen is the wife of Rabbi Don Channen, Rosh Yeshiva of Keter HaTorah.  They are blessed to have nine children and many grandchildren and live in Ramat Beit Shemesh. Today, Rebbitzen Yehudit Channen is a certified Emuna Therapist for Breslev Israel. You can set up an appointment with her by contacting staff@breslev.co.il

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