14 Adar B 5779 / Thursday, March 21, 2019 | Torah Reading: Tzav
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Split Ends    

Split Ends

I had four-inch bangs, curled bangs, side bangs that I sprayed with tons of hairspray so they’d stick out the side of my head, and hair that didn’t know what to do with itself…


My hair. I have a love/hate relationship with it. It’s been through many incarnations in this life, most of them horribly embarrassing.


One of my most traumatic hair escapades was when I was 10 years old. My mother, apparently possessed by the evil angel otherwise known as “Bad Taste”, suddenly decided that I should look like a gender-confused tween.


So, she gave me the famous Billy Ray Cyrus look. You know, a mullet. Google it if you don’t know what I’m talking about. And then when you find a picture, imagine a unibrow along with that fabulous haircut.


Now that I think about it, maybe that’s why his daughter ended up going loca. Maybe she turned to drugs because she couldn’t get over the embarrassment of being the daughter of the man with the World’s Worst Haircut.


Oh, and another one of my favorites -- remember the group Salt n’ Pepa? Those of you who are old like me and have warped memories of being cool back in the early ‘90’s might remember this gorgeous group of ladies. They all had crazy ‘90’s haircuts, but one of them had a haircut that was super short on one side of the head which gradually got longer as it revolved around the back of the head. By the time it reached the other side, the hair was six inches longer.


It looked like a two-year-old cut her hair, especially with the spikes sticking out on the shorter side. BTW, weren’t there three women in that group? There was Salt, Pepa, and who was the third? Did she even have a name? She should have been named Garlic because that’s the third most popular spice. But if she were cool her name would be Garlique.


I had highlights, four-inch bangs, curled bangs, side bangs that I sprayed with two tons of hairspray so they’d stick out the side of my head, and hair that didn’t know what to do with itself.


One day it decided to be curly, one day it was wavy, but it was never, ever straight. Even when I tried to blow dry it straight I just couldn’t do it.


All in all, I haven’t had much luck with my hair.


The worst part is that whenever it got a bit below my shoulders, I felt compelled to cut it. I just couldn’t let it grow, no matter how much I wanted it to. Some part of me, probably my mother, insisted that my blonde sister should be the only one in the family with long hair. You know, because she was blonde.


The irony in all this is that my mother never once let my sister cut her hair. My sister would beg her to cut it, because the poor girl suffered every night from my mother brushing out her knots. But what’s a little pain in comparison to having golden, shiny locks? Reminds me a little of a Mommy Dearest scene.


So! Where am I going with all this?


Hold up, I’m getting there.


Recently, like in the past several years, I finally broke through my self-imposed hair barrier and began to grow my hair. Amazingly, it got really long in a short amount of time.




I began to notice that the longer it got, the more split ends I began to have. Now, even though my hair is super long, I have tons and tons of split ends, and my hair doesn’t do anything. It doesn’t curl and it doesn’t wave. I still can’t blow dry it straight, and for what, in any case. I barely see my hair.


But I love my hair and my hair loves me.


So, I asked a hair expert what I should do about my hair. Her answer made me sick to my stomach: “You have to cut it. There’s just no other way.”


She told me if I want to grow my hair nice and strong, I have to cut it every eight weeks.


The fact that I let it grow so much without trimming it didn’t help me get the hair I had dreamed of.


Sounds so counterproductive, right?


Well, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that spirituality is exactly the same way.


If we want to grow spiritually, we have to take baby steps. There’s a lot of moving forward a few steps, then moving back. But we’re really not moving back, because even our falls are just helping us grow back even stronger.


What happens when we try to jump too far spiritually? When we try to take on too much, too fast? Well, we all know that answer.

It’s not sustainable.


Hashem won’t let us jump through levels. He wants us to grow slowly, be sure and confident in our path, and move forward at our own pace. Jumping past levels undermines our personal growth as well. We can’t fully experience true spiritual growth if we’re trying to jump past where we’re really holding. We can’t be that person that we’re supposed to be at those in-between levels.


Spirituality is a personal evolution, and it’s a beautiful and complex one. It’s something that we should enjoy and be excited about, not something that we should try to get over-with or be the fastest to the finish line.


Because there is no finish line.


And you know what else?


My split ends taught me that the further something is away from the source, the more likely it is to become damaged.


When hair is short, for whatever reason, it doesn’t tend to develop split ends. Maybe because the end of the hair is not that far from the root.


Same goes for us.


When we’re connected to Hashem, our Spiritual Source, we’re strong. We’re resilient. We’re full of life.


But the further away we get from Him, our souls begin to wither. They begin to become restless, and when they do, they’re prone to all kinds of decay and corruption. Our souls can literally fall apart (in a spiritual sense).


So, let’s learn a lesson from my poor hair that I absolutely refuse to cut, even though it’s begging me to do so.


Keep close to the Source and take your spiritual growth one step at a time.


And never, ever cut your hair like Billy Ray Cyrus. I just know there’s still a few of you out there!



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Feel free to send Racheli your questions, particularly in the areas of marriage, dating, child-rearing and women's role; write her at racheli@breslev.co.il 

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