6 Cheshvan 5781 / Saturday, October 24, 2020 | Torah Reading: Noach
 
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Self-Sacrifice



Just over a year ago, my husband came back with an 'interesting' idea that he'd been learning in his yeshiva: parnassa (making a living) was G-d's job...

 



Just over a year ago, my husband came back with an 'interesting' idea that he'd been learning in his yeshiva: parnassa (making a living) was G-d's job, and my husband's job was to pray, learn a lot of Torah and work on his character. I'd been learning the same things, so I wasn't 'anti' his ideas; I wasn't even sceptical. What I was, though, was sure that we weren't spiritually on the level to get our livelihood in such an easy way.
 
But my husband didn't see things that way, and was of the view that we had to at least give G-d a chance to pay our way.
 
Hmmm. I knew, really, that if I went along with my husband and let him quit the job he'd hated for years, I'd be plunging my family into a period of massive turmoil and change. After I'd done quite a few hours of praying on it, and asking G-d for advice, I realized it was also 100% the right thing to do. (If you don't regularly talk to G-d yourself, that last sentence won't make any sense to you.)
 
So he quit, and initially it was great. For a month, he looked 20 years younger and was so much happier. Then he told me the next bombshell: his rav had given a couple of talks stressing the importance of all the yeshiva students being close to the yeshiva, in Jerusalem.
 
Hmmm.
 
That one, strangely, was a much harder call. In my heart, I felt I couldn't move my girls for at least another couple of years, because that's when both of them would have a natural 'break' when it was common for people to move schools etc.
 
But G-d had other plans. To sum it up, we ran out of money and had to sell our house to pay our way while my husband started up his new business (a tourist attraction in the old city called 'The Meaning of Life').
 
It's quite a big test when you literally don't have a shekel to your name and very little food in your house. It's another big test when you have to uproot your family and taken them into a completely different environment, against their will. It's yet another big test when you find out the prices of the houses in the place you want to go skyrocketed through the roof, and that you can't really afford anything - even if you still had the old job with which to try and get a mortgage.
 
For months, we couldn't even find a rental that would fit at least some of my furniture. The whole situation has been a very big test of emuna, and especially emunat tzadkim, or believing the words of our holy sages.
 
For all this move to Jerusalem will be amazing at some point very soon, for months and months, it's primarily been a source of massive upheaval, expense, uncertainty and fear - of change, of things not working out, of dangerous arabs, of never being able to afford our own home again.
 
You can call me naïve and unrealistic (you wouldn't be the first) - but somehow, I still know everything's going to work out for one reason only: we moved to do what my husband's rav told him to do. Full stop.
 
For months, my evil inclination would wait for me to have a particularly challenging day to start trying to fill me up with recriminations and doubts about the things we'd been told, and the course we've taken: maybe, the rav was wrong? Maybe, there was a flaw somewhere, and my husband should have just kept his soul-destroying job as a lawyer? Maybe, things aren't going to work out in the end, G-d forbid? After all, it's forbidden to rely on miracles…
 
Initially, the yetzer was quite persuasive, which was a whole massive test of emuna all by itself. At this stage, I've jumped already, and it's getting much easier to push the yetzer away.
 
G-d doesn't owe me anything. At the same time, G-d is always so kind to me, and He knows I need some comfort and materialism, for all I've worked so hard to minimize that side of myself and to elevate it back to G-d.
 
What happens next is up to Him. But I heard a shiur recently that gave me a small moment of peace. The rav was saying that in our generation, it's a very rare thing to find someone who will truly sacrifice themselves for G-d.
 
Thank G-d, all I've had to sacrifice is a lot of physical comfort; a lot of pretend financial security and the illusion of being 'settled'. But for me, for now, it still feels like a lot of self-sacrifice.
 
And while I know that it's getting me big points in the world to come, I'm still superficial enough to hope it won't stop there, and that very soon I'll have a lot of 'good things' to show for listening to our rav in this world, too.
 
 
* * *
You're welcome to visit Rivka Levy's personal website at http://www.emunaroma.com





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