Sunday, December 5, 2010

Dear G-d. A Humble Petition for Reconcilation.

Yom rishon, 28 Kislev 5771.

Dear G-d,

I fully accept that we are responsible for the lack of rain in Israel, and for the subsequent disaster wrought by the fire in the Carmel.

We Jewish people have failed in some way -- many ways -- to keep our part of the bargain with You.  We have made many mistakes.  Small errors and large and terrible errors.

But I think I am not alone in feeling helpless to fix the problems between us, between You and me, without clearer guidance.

I once knew a fellow who told me the story of his very unhappy marriage.  He told me he had married a girl who was much too good for him.  They had married young, when he lacked knowledge about how to run a successful relationship.  (The fact was that he hadn't even seen a good relationship growing up.)  He had treated her shabbily and carelessly for the first several years of their marriage.


Then he "got religion."  He learned and developed as a person; and in the course of his learning, he became ashamed of how he had treated his wife.  He begged her forgiveness, and vowed to improve.  She forgave him; and things improved for a time.


Then, little by little, she again began to withdraw from him.  He would try to do small kindnesses for her.  He brought flowers to try to appease her.  He would ask her what he had done -- and she would tell him that "he should know."  After all, they had discussed during their reconciliation all of the little actions and big commitments it takes to make a relationship work.  She gave him little hints periodically, and turned away even more when he failed to pick up on them.
Photo credit: http://www.buzzle.com/articles/loveless-marriage.html

But he remained perplexed.  He knew that he was still not the perfect husband.  But which (or how many) of his small errors had weakened their relationship this time?

As time went by, he stopped asking for particulars, as she really felt he ought to have learned enough by now to not need her detailed guidance.  Eventually, he stopped asking, and just accepted the situation of their cooled relationship.  When I met him, he wore a perpetual expression of being lost.  I had no advice for him, as I also could not read her mind.

Hashem, we are like that man.  Every year, we try to "make up" with You.  We cry, and apologize from our hearts for all of our little carelessnesses and big transgressions in our relationship.  But as time goes by, there is still no rain, there are still terrible illness and disaster.  Our Sages -- ancient and modern -- exhort us to look over the requirements You have clearly outlined, to pay attention to the hints You are sending us.  If only we would walk in Your ways...  there would be rain in its time, and grass for our cattle.  Our enemies would be subdued...

But I must admit to being as perplexed as my old friend.

We know that we are "messing up."  We want to repair the damage.  Our rabbis are calling for days of prayer and fasting, to increase our observance of Your commandments.  Groups gather at the Kotel to beseech You to end the drought.  Every day, I receive new emails reminding me to add more Tehillim (recitation of King David's Psalms) and give more charity in order to help end the distance between You and us.

But instead, the situation seems to be getting worse.
Photo credit: San Francisco Sentinel

Like my friend, I don't for a moment think that You are the guilty party.  I know my weaknesses and my faults.  But I cannot determine which of my failings has caused this terrible distance between us.  I fear that we may be drifting into a loveless marriage that I will be unable to repair.

Please, Hashem!  Help this poor orphan Nation!  Give us clear guidance.  We are trying to "bring flowers," to do small kindnesses to help each other, to improve our speech, to give more charity, to house those whose homes were destroyed in the greatest disaster in Israel's history.  We know in our heart of hearts that our efforts are not large enough compensation for our errors.  But we really do want to repair our relationship with You!  For the best of reasons -- to bring the Geula Shelaima (the complete redemption), and for the most mundane -- to avoid what appears to be the decree of impending drought, famine, and who knows what else, G-d forbid...

You are our Father.  Please guide us.  Please send us clear guidance.

Lovingly, humbly, beseechingly Yours,

one of Your children

11 comments:

KN said...

Thank you, my dear friend, for expressing exactly what's in my heart. May we merit to have this request answered.

westbankmama said...

Ruti,

Again you express what most of us are feeling. As sad and confused as we are though, I can't help feeling that this is for a reason, and somewhere down the road we will realize why.

Arielle said...

It seems our enemies believe it is because we are "occupying" their territories. Thank you for so beautifully saying what I have been wondering myself. I wish we had answers.

Avraham said...

That guy should have read "The Five Love Languages" by Gary Chapman. This book has saved many marriages.

in the vanguard said...

It's not for me to guess divine motives but the message He is sending may be directed to other Jews besides His observant ones.

Moshiach comes when ALL Jews do tshuva. Yes, even the THOUGHT of doing tshuva IS doing tshuva, so perhaps a few more people need have that thought - for us to finally experience the utopia we're all waiting for.

rutimizrachi said...

KN: AMEN!

WBM: My 16-year-old said something similar. First of all, he asked me what "orphan Nation" means; and I quoted to him a portion of a Rav Frand speech I heard many years ago. "We have no Navi. I also don't have answers." So my son reminded me that Hashem is our Father, so we can't be orphans. "Don't worry, Ema. Hashem will make it all come out right in the end." When all else fails, count on our children to remind us.

Arielle: Fortunately, we don't have to look to the language of bullies for our self-definition. We and they must look to authentic rather than rewritten history.

Avraham: I am sure your information will help someone.

ITV: I dunno. I always expect more of my sons who "get it" than I do of the ones who don't... but I love the idea that even thinking about tshuva might qualify folks for counting in the process. Sort of like those whose hearts are in Israel counting as olim, in G-d's eyes, cv"y.

One of the versions of my question is always about how many of us doing which right things will finally be enough to save us. I can only relate to G-d in His capacity as a Father -- and when my kids start doing many right things, I often will act as if they got it ALL right. This theory certainly has some rabbinic backing. It is my hope and prayer that we are nearing that moment of critical mass.

the sabra said...

I dunno, I still think we give G-d too much leeway. Yes, we sin. Yes, we turn our backs on Him. But still, the good of thousands of years outweighs the negative. IT'S TIME FOR MOSHIACH! NO MORE EXCUSES! And definitely no more HARDSHIPS!!

CN said...

http://www.aish.com/jw/s/Israels_Tragic_Fire.html

Noach b'Chutz said...

WOW...With people like you praying like this for me and "M bat D" whose name I sent you, I hope it comes like rain. In fact, it's raining in Cali as we speak. Funny I said that.

rutimizrachi said...

Amen, Noach. Send a little California rain, won't you? And may you, and may M bat D, have every possible blessing, and MUCH success!

Noach said...

I meant as *I* speak - there is no 'we' above to my knowledge, and...I guess I didn't mean 'speak' either...since it's a text blog...I meant something in the above, really. I think I and MbD both need mamash storms to blow us back on our courses. May Eretz Israel receive all the rain it needs and soon! Recent blogpost on prayer by a physicist, where rain comes up;
http://harherem.blogspot.com/2010/12/blessing-of-mixed-blessings-cloudy-days.html