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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

A Woman Was Crying To Me In Shul

She said that there was a sisterhood meeting. Did I go?

"No. I hate the sisterhood meetings."

She said that they had read "All Who Go Do Not Return," by Shulem Deen. Had I read it?

"Yes, it's a great book."

She confided in me: "I feel just like him inside," she said. "I want to have faith, but I just can't."

I took her hands in mine. They were so warm.

I looked at her, in her eyes. They were welled up with tears.

The rabbi was about to make kiddush. He makes kiddush for the whole community every week.

Then they wash for Motzi, and then we eat a meal together.

I looked at my friend, in her eyes. And I saw myself there.

In her eyes I felt the wash of pain that only someone who has struggled with faith can feel.

I remembered being forced to be religious.

And I remembered how I threw it all away.

I remembered how I cried to even set foot inside of a shul.

And I how I couldn't so much as open the prayerbook.

I held her hands in my hands. And I looked into her eyes, her swollen eyes.

And the thought of that moment makes me cry, too, because of the pain of another human being.

And I said to her, and this was God speaking into my ears, that what He wants is not the perfection of your actual faith.

What is dear to Him is the struggle.

And I know she understood what I meant to say, because as my Zayde (a"h) once told me, "words that come from the heart go into the heart" as well.

When I was unreligious a lot of people wrote me off.

Today I am more religious, but not the kind of religious that an Orthodox Jewish person would accept.

I am "whatever kind of spiritual." It isn't good enough. But it's me.

What I want to say to you is this. A Jew is always a Jew and has the soul of a Jew, no matter who they are and no matter what they do in life.

"You can run away from a lot of things," my mother always says. "But you can't run away from yourself."

A Jewish soul will always yearn in its deepest reaches for God.

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All opinions my own.