18 Tamuz 5779 / Sunday, July 21, 2019 | Torah Reading: mattot
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Surrender and Succeed    

Surrender and Succeed

I know I'm blessed to return to the Holy Land and blessed to have such a large, loving family but all I felt stepping through the front door was a longing for solitude...


The thing about having emuna is that it prevents you from becoming a victim, a role we all enjoy from time to time (admit it!) There's just something pleasurable about feeling sorry for yourself, a certain pay off in blaming others when the going gets tough.


I came back this week from visiting my sister in America, a visit full of quiet, quality time spent mostly in her tidy, decorative apartment, just the two of us with lots of time to talk and think. The pace was slow and the atmosphere was peaceful.


It was easy to get my work done there and in the afternoons, after writing and speaking to clients, I would go for long walks among huge oak trees and yawning stretches of dark green grass. I meditated and contemplated to my heart's content. The weather was perfect the entire time and I loved the occasional thunderstorms.


And then I came home.


I exited Ben Gurion airport into a furnace of hot air. The trees we passed on the way home seemed parched and stiff, bravely holding their own while the callous sun beat down upon them. Traffic crawled and my yetzer hora (evil inclination) woke up and stretched irritably, immediately complaining about the heat and the colorless fields we passed, comparing them to the cool green yards in the suburbs of Maryland.


I arrived at my apartment and was greeted noisily by my loving family, who I had missed and thought of every single day but...


There are just so many of them! So many people to listen to and care about! So much action, noise and mess! In short, a wholesome but overwhelming chaos!


I know I'm blessed to return to the Holy Land and blessed to have such a large, loving family but all I felt stepping through the front door was a longing for solitude so I could get over my jet lag, mull over my trip and re-connect with my husband, who has a very tight schedule. As it was, we just smiled at each other across the crowded room. Later we had a truly stupid argument and then made up, our way of saying “I really missed you.”


Since my return four days ago it's been pretty non-stop. My daughter Bracha, her husband and three year old daughter, moved in with us after the apartment they were about to rent suddenly became unavailable. They are looking for another place, one that's affordable and close to their jobs but that could take a while. I love being able to help them but it's a lot less privacy with three more people around. I also have two single girls at home and four married sons in the neighborhood, who like to stop by for coffee. Now that its summer they bring their toddlers too.


If I did not have emuna I could become a big ball of resentment (can't everyone see how tired I am!) a real victim (doesn't anyone realize I'm not running a summer camp!) and a petty witch ( my husband took over the entire porch while I was gone!)


Instead, I tell my evil inclination to go kick rocks and decide to feel thrilled about everything.


So I am delighted to be back in Israel, despite the heat wave, the lack of summer rain and the absence of lush leafy trees in my backyard. (I have no yard.) I am blessed to live here and I care not that its dusty and there's no pretty lawns. God has given me the privilege of performing mitzvot in the land of my forefathers and when Moshiach arrives I will be right here waiting to meet him. Preferably in the shade.


My apartment? It lacks wooden floors, built in closets, a basement or an attic but it's nice by Israeli standards and I have tremendous gratitude for it being ours.


In terms of my family, it's a glorious challenge. I have nine children after all and nearly 30 grand-kids. Is it any wonder my apartment can resemble a Dunkin' Donuts slash kindergarten, not to mention a home for the homeless? And look! Just look how much my kids love me! The grand-children plastered the door with welcome home signs and my daughter prepared a delicious meal!


Dare I complain? I could if I wanted. I could announce that I need some peace and privacy, that my kids should stop coming over but it's really not so simple and I'm not sure it's what I want. I think of people who are lonely and I decide to keep quiet. I work on my patience, I work on my faith. I trust that Hashem will help me get the rest that I need and my assignments completed. The heatwave will break and my husband and I will have plenty of time to talk, even if it's not right away. I'm too smart to be a martyr. I'm too wise to be a fool.


If I was meant to have a relaxing lifestyle and a big house in the country than that's what I would have.


For now I am choosing to accept the situation as it is, asking God to help me stay calm and focused on what He puts before me. Above all, to be grateful, to surrender and to succeed.



* * *

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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