Rachel Shifra Tal
Taking personal stock
Being home, just home. Perhaps you are home with just yourself, a pet, a spouse or a family. Literally the functioning world seemed to have stopped turning. Some are in the middle of renovations, some their home is on the market, some have just moved in.
Some of us are pregnant, some just gave birth, some are engaged, some just divorced. Some of us are in mourning having just lost someone we love. Some of our loved ones are sick, some of us are separated from a loved one who is an essential worker.
Now each in our own way, we are home (some are in hotels, campervan or even a personal boat!) But we are where we will call home for the next several weeks.
There is fear, uncertainty, moments of inspiration and moments of despair.
We have as a collective an opportunity that usually comes on Rosh Hashannah and Yom Kippur, yet now it is magnified a hundred times over.
Where am I? Who am I? Am I happy with where and who I am right now?
If single, am I longing for someone, have things gotten in my way to connect or am I really satisfied where I am?
If in a relationship. How is my relationship with my spouse? Am I loving and happy or do we need to sort some issues and work on our communication. Have we forgotten each other in the hustle and bustle of our lives?
If we have children, have we been nourishing them? Are there bad habits we have let our kids off on and now need to refocus? Are we yearning for a child if we don't have children?
If we have older children living far from home, how is our relationship there? Can we perhaps use this time to reconnect?
Same with our siblings, our parents if they are living. Have I been nourishing these connections, do we have issues that need amending?
And our own personal selves. Are we happy with who we are? How we treat others? How we behave. Our friends, are there ones that have have drifted that we are reconnecting with?
What about where we live? Are we happy in the country we are in? Do we yearn to be elsewhere? For those in their homes, do we like them? Do we have too much stuff? To little?
Most importantly, our spiritual connections and our community. Are we satisfied with our conversations with God, are we even on speaking terms? Are we afraid of GD, confused, more connected?
This isolation and the extreme experience will change us. Will we continue just as is when the restrictions are lifted? Or will our priorities change? I bless us all with healthy and deep and meaningful introspection. May our feelings and wants and desires pour out so we can see them and see who we truly are. A great idea for growth is to allow oneself a few minutes each day, to feel uncomfortable. Sometimes there is so much effort to quiet our feelings, because there isn't time or we just don't want to feel them. Yet, within that discomfort, within that personal honesty, when all the noise around us and the speed of the pace slows, there lies our raw self. Can I give myself permission to grow? To connect, to be vulnerable, to ask for help, to cry, to grieve, to be? Passover is a time in the year where we each need to truly feel as if we leave the chains of bondage. These chains are what shackles we have on our hearts. Can we stretch ourselves to forgive others? Most importantly, can we forgive ourselves? To recieve love from another and from Gd, we need to be open to love ourselves. Our true selves. This deep quiet within is where the spark of the Divine resides. From this spark, we draw our strength.