Thursday, May 04, 2006

A Change of Tides

Before I start, please pray for my father, Baruch Matan ben Miriam, to have a compete Refuah Shlema, a complete recovery. (Story will follow.)

But one short week ago I was on a crazy high. Life was fantastic,manageable, and optimism was running rampant that it was only going to get better. My Undergraduate career had only two weeks left, and only two assignments. I'd applied to ROI120 and had dreams of going to Israel. Rabbinic School seemed like such a certain reality that I was looking at housing. Everything just seemed like it was in place and that G-d was taking care of everything.

Then everything started falling apart. It was a gradual process over the last week, but my optimism has been swept aside in the change of tides and a melancholy and pessimism has replaced it.

It started one week ago, Thursday night, when I lapsed in my personal observance. I was no Purim Hero that night. I'm not going to go into details (everyone's battle is there own, and for each of us our challenges are different), but my Yetzer Horah (Evil Inclination) won a relatively major battle in its ongoing war against me. Slips and slides have been relatively consistent throughout my T'Shuva process (The process of becoming Torah observant), but as bumps in the road go, this one was a duzey. Divine Retribution, it would seem to me at least, was quick to execute its punishment as waking up that next morning I would find out that I was not accepted to ROI120. Good ol' Jewish Guilt in overdrive, I'd felt that I paid my price, and laid blame immediately upon myself. Israel was no longer a reality for me this summer. The tide change had begun, but it was far from over.

The Yetzer Horah is like a Bull. The more you back it into a corner the harder and angrier it charges. It would not be content to win just its last battle, and as guilt crushed it in the early stages into a point of near submission, once truly backed up it unleashed with a passion as of yet unseen. Things started to spiral out of control and the rationalization process started to kick in. (Possibly the worst thing ever for a Bal T'Shuva. After years of working so hard to achieve the place I had in my path to Hashem, it seemed like I could loose my footing all at once and end up undoing everything I'd worked so hard for. I started to doubt myself and my ability to be a future Rabbi. Who am I that I think I can provide guidance and insight for others when my own life is out of control.

Time was not on my side in this regard. My in person interview is rapidly approaching. (I have it on Monday.) What previously seemed like it was only going to be a formality, now seems like it may be a nail in the coffin of my future aspirations. Confidence has been replaced by uncertainty and feelings of inadequacy. And fears that previously were irrational lay siege on my conscience teasing me that I will be denied admission and be left without a plan and without a future. It's a combination, I think, of being denied ROI120, which I allowed myself to get prematurely excited about, and actual feelings of inadequacy and non-deservedness after my latest encounters and losses to my Yetzer Hara.

It doesn't stop there though, of course not. My final assignment, a 20 page research paper due on Wednesday, puts continual pressure on the back of my mind. Because of travel arraignments, I don't return from NYC until late on the night right before it is due. This leaves me with only tonight, tomorrow, and a few hours before it is due, to finish.While that should be completely doable, my current state of melancholy has been accompanied by sloth and apathy. If I can't rouse myself again, I won't be able to finish. Simultaneous preparations for the Rabbinic school interview and skills assessment test don't help in dealing with the time crunch.

To top it all off, about an hour ago I got a call from my mother informing that my father is in the hospital. (This is why there's the davening plea.) I knew something was up the moment she called. (As some of you who've been following know, I've been independent for a longtime, and don't really have an active relationship with either of my parents.) More over, I knew it wasn't good when she was informing me about my father, as the two are not exactly on speaking terms.Thankfully, it doesn't seem too serious. He's in the hospital mostly for observation at this point, but he has been having difficulty breathing as of late. (Something I didn't know about until this phone call.) Of course, my first reaction was to again lay the fault for this upon myself and my recent loses to my evil inclination. I actually broke out into tears and asked G-d not to punish those around me for my sins. I realize it's foolish and even a bit of personal sabotage to think like that, and yet I can't shake that reaction. Please pray for him. (Baruch Matan Ben Miriam.)

This next week is the crux of the rest of my life. It determines everything, and I'm not sure I'm in shape to deal with it. The solutions are obvious, and if I were advising another it would seem so simple. Yet all I can seem to do is beg G-d to forgive me and help me through it. I just hope it's not too late to change the tides again.

**As an aside, this is what I was going to blog about, guess you should just read the article. [Here] It's about AMI - Artists and Musicians for Israel and seems to be a good thing.**

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