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Too Precious

Too Precious

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It was a moment of total meltdown for my three year old.

Maybe it was a bed-time that was too late the previous night. Maybe it was too much shlepping around doing errands. Maybe it was just too full a day for her little self.

But precisely at 7:21PM that night, my little sweetheart experienced her meltdown. It was a typical three year old, full blown tantrum.

She noticed me praying just before her bedtime. She wanted to imitate me and, in her mind, she hadn't "finished" her prayers, when I summoned her for bedtime. But, in truth, it was more the hour than any external cause.

When we're depleted of energy, when we're grumpy and drained, anything and everything irritates us.

I watched her little chubby legs begin to stomp, her chin quiver, a large tear form in her beautiful brown eyes, as her mouth began to cry loudly and incoherently. As with most tantrums, she was getting angrier and more irate by the moment, despite my best efforts to soothe her.

With a pout on her fuming face, as a finale, she took her colourful, illustrated little siddur (prayer book) and threw it to the floor. She was angry. Very angry. And she wanted me to know that.

Now was not the right moment to correct her or teach her appropriate behavior. She really just needed to get to bed in order to wake up tomorrow morning as her regular, adorable and lovable self. I held her, cuddled her and tried to take her back upstairs to her bedroom.

But, alas, she refused.

Even in her haze of irrational meltdown, she knew she would not, could not cross certain boundaries. To her, this was inconceivable. No matter how livid she was, no matter how worn-out or exhausted—she just could not leave her siddur abandoned in her rage. She needed to make amends.

She stomped her little feet, picked up her siddur and placed it in its proper place on the nearby bookshelf. Her face cleared momentarily from its cloud of anger. And then, almost as an afterthought, she lifted the siddur once again, caressed it softly in her plump little arms and tenderly touched it to her mouth, bestowing it with her special kiss--all before running into my open arms for her own snuggling caress.

My young daughter reminded me so much of all of us. In our fit of resentment at the futility of life, or at our unfulfilled dreams or disenchanted hopes, we too have our "spiritual tantrums." Sometimes in our moments of exasperation, we even go so far as to throw away some of the most precious, meaningful and spiritual parts of our lives.

But as much as we react in a haze of heated fury, this isn't our true selves, only our temporary weariness reacting to the demanding struggles of our lives. And eventually, we, too, come running back to Your warm and open caress.

Because some things are just too precious to leave like that, abandoned on the floor—even for a three year old, even in a moment of meltdown.

Can you share a "precious moment" that brought you to a new realization of what is important to you?


Chana Weisberg is the editor of TheJewishWoman.org. She lectures internationally on issues relating to women, relationships, meaning, self-esteem and the Jewish soul. She is the author of five popular books.
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M.H. Miami, Florida February 6, 2008

temper tantrums yes, I do read your articles (and enjoy what you have to say) with my 2nd cup of coffee (#1 goes with chitas). But what about the adult tantrum thrower? After the reconnection with that precious thing, how about the residual embarrassment and guilt about having to grow in such a childish way? Yes, "tired and cranky" goes for 3yr olds, 30 yr olds, and more, but honestly.........is there anyway to reprogram ourselves out of such a mode of response? (yeah, I know, "grow up!") Sharing the experience later on to give someone else chizuk (strength) is one way of rectifying it, but that is only after the fact. I suppose we can throw it into the category of "it's galus (exile)" not only the personal galus of sometimes being ruled by our emotions and not our intellect, but also the Jewish people's overly long galus. Frankly, I've had just about enough of the painful opportunies for spiritual growth--How about Moshiach!? Reply

M.H. Miami, Florida March 30, 2008

temper tantrums yes, I do read your articles (and enjoy what you have to say) with my 2nd cup of coffee (#1 goes with chitas). But what about the adult tantrum thrower? After the reconnection with that precious thing, how about the residual embarrassment and guilt about having to grow in such a childish way? Yes, "tired and cranky" goes for 3yr olds, 30 yr olds, and more, but honestly.........is there anyway to reprogram ourselves out of such a mode of response? (yeah, I know, "grow up!") Sharing the experience later on to give someone else chizuk is one way of rectifying it, but that is only after the fact. I suppose we can throw it into the category of "it's galus" not only the personal galus of sometimes beiing ruled by our emotions and not our intellect, but also Klal Yisroel's overly long galus. Frankly, I've had just about enough of the painful opportunies for spiritual growth--How about Moshiach!? Reply

Anonymous Tzfat, Israel January 30, 2008

nice cup of coffee thanks... BS"D
For the first time in over ten years, I am home without work, for various reasons. Because of bad weather, my husband stayed home this morning and I decided to have a computer breakfast in the bedroom, coffee and cream cheese roll! A rare thing indeed! It seemed a good idea just to keep sitting here enjoying my coffee and pc, after all what do I have to do at home other than play on the computer! Having asked myself this question the answers came flooding, daven more, say more Tehillim (Psalms), write to the Rebbe, get Shabbos started early, clean out those messy drawers and cupboards, answer all the emails, do the ironing, make the skirt from the material bought two years ago, phone friends, do Chitas properly! The list goes on and on and into some really heavy stuff that should be dealt with. Then I discovered Chana's blog! Perhaps having coffee with you will make me come to terms with what has to be dealt with today. Thanks, it was delicious! Reply

tzipporah January 29, 2008

Dear anonymous I wish you a speedy refuah sheleimah.
I am very touched by your story, more specifically your honesty and sincerity. I don't know your background and don't want to sound one bit chutzpadic, but having encountered some aspects of what you write about I would like to maybe suggest to you locating a chabad rabbi to discuss what you're going through. I have a close relative who is ready to do all the mitzvos and ready to take things on and her husband is not there at all. I was able to connect her with a good chabad rebbetzin who is counseling her on the importance of peace in the home--which should be her first priority and easily and slowly pick up on the Judaism. Maybe the rabbi or rebbetzin would have some good ideas on how to excite your kids to Judaism. Thank you again for sharing your story and wishing you all the best. Reply

Anonymous January 27, 2008

I think the main reason I was drifting was out of guilt. I didn't want to feel the guilt anymore. I wanted to be more observant and my family is not ready to move in that direction. It doesn't seem right picking and choosing the mitzvot that fit into our lifestyle. A friend of mine shared a wondeful book with me "Words to Hear with your Heart." I realize I can't run ahead of my family with this. It's something we have to grow into together. We live in a smaller Jewish community. I'm worried about my children, most of their cousins have married non-jews. I don't want that for my children. My children are the only Jewish kids in their school. The past two summers they have gone to an Orthodox Jewish camp for a month. They don't want to go this year, I think they are afraid to leave me. I think it's impotant that they go just to connect with other Jewish kids. Somehow I have to convince them to go, they are ages 14 & 12. Reply

chana weisberg January 26, 2008

dear anonymous wow! Thank you for sharing that with us.
Some of us may have looked at the illness as a further way of feeling alienated from G-d, but instead you took a tremendous lesson of growth from it.
What do you think it was that caused you to drift away from G-d and Judaism to begin with?
I wish you a refuah sheleimah, a very speedy and complete recovery! Reply

Anonymous January 24, 2008

I love your new blog! The past few years I had started really drifting away from G-d and Judaism. I was angry and seriously questioned the existence of G-d. I continued to do mitzvot throughout this, but only the bare minimum. Shabbos seemed endless. The High Holidays were horrible - I didn't make it through the Yom Kippur fast this year. I had one of my spiritual tantrums and came home after midday services and had two snack cakes (I'm so embarrassed). Sukkot, the holiday I usually love and enjoy, I just tolerated. Then I became seriously ill. I'm not saying I became sick as a result of any of this but I have to admit my first thought was "why did you have those snack cakes on Yom Kippur?"
I had to take a hard look at my life. I realize how much I need G-d. I'm sorry it's taken an illness to come to this conclusion. Reply

Often we need a break from our daily routine. A pause from life to help us appreciate life.

A little pat on the back to let us know when we're on track. A word of encouragement to help us through those bleak moments and difficult days.

Sometimes, we just yearn for some friendship and camaraderie, someone to share our heart with. And sometimes we need a little direction from someone who's been there.

So, take a short pause from the busyness of your day and join Chana Weisberg for a cup of coffee.

Chana Weisberg is the author of Tending the Garden: The Unique Gifts of the Jewish Woman and four other books. Weisberg is a noted educator and columnist and lectures worldwide on issues relating to women, faith, relationships and the Jewish soul.
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