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Why Did G-d Take Away My Talent?

Why Did G-d Take Away My Talent?

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Dear Rachel,

I am 24 years old. For as long as I can remember, dance has been my life. I had great aspirations for becoming a full-time professional dancer, but six months ago I had a bad fall and broke my leg in several places. I was devastated! As I’m young, the doctors were hopeful that I’d recover fully and be able to return to dance. But I have not, and they have lost their optimism. I feel like I’ve lost meaning in life. Why would G‑d give me a talent and then take it away? I’m sad, depressed and angry. Why did G‑d do this to me?

Cursed


Dear Blessed!

Though G‑d and I are very close, He doesn’t usually confide in me. However, my first impression is that you’re looking at this all wrong.

It’s devastating to lose your ability to dance when it has been the focus of most of your life. But many people aren’t ever able to use such talents, and often feel frustrated and unfulfilled. You’ve had two decades of dancing! That’s a reason to be thankful and joyful.Our wheel of fortune turns in accordance with our destiny

Don’t look at all the years you won’t be able to dance; look at the years you have been blessed with the ability to do so. And remember that the lifespan of a dancer in terms of her career isn’t very long. This question would have arisen at some point down the line.

We are given our blessings—be they talents, good looks, money, status—only to serve G‑d. Our wheel of fortune turns in accordance with our destiny. In other words, G‑d gives us our talents based on His desire for us to use them in serving Him.

Maybe G‑d doesn’t want you to give up dance entirely, but to take it in another direction. While you may not be able to dance professionally anymore, you can use your talents in other ways. You can work with children who have disabilities, learn dance therapy, choreograph for summer camps. You don’t have to give up your love for dance, you just need to tweak it slightly.

The most worrying part of your anger and depression is that you have let dance define you. You are a valuable person because you are a Jewish woman. A Jewish woman is called a princess, a daughter of the King. You have intrinsic value by being alive and being you, quite apart from how many pirouettes you can do.

This is true of everyone. Too many people define themselves by their talents, careers, fortunes or social standing. But this has nothing to do with who they really are. And you are lucky in that you are learning this early in life.

The purpose of a Jew is to do mitzvot. That’s a Jew’s calling. That’s a Jew’s career. You can certainly do mitzvot while being an artist, dancer, singer, painter or writer by using your talents in serving G‑d and revealing Him in your art. But if you lose your talent for whatever reason, this doesn’t prevent you from serving G‑d. Because serving Him is a 24/7/365 gig—no matter who, what or where you are—and it doesn’t require any special skills or talent. And you have talent! Dance requires discipline, and you can use the discipline you have honed in dance in keeping G‑d’s commandments.

A special way you can serve G‑d (and very meaningfully, too) is by accepting this veryServing G‑d is a 24/7/365 gig—and it doesn’t require any special skills difficult trial with love, understanding that while you don’t know why this has happened, you accept His will and know that He has something better for you down the line.

Every mention of women dancing in the Torah and the Tanach—and there are several—refers to dancing as a means of praising G‑d in joy. In Talmudic times, on the 15th of the month of Av the women would go dancing in the fields wearing white dresses that they had exchanged with each other, so that the eligible young men could each choose a wife. But I assure you, they weren’t looking at their dancing ability; they were looking at these girls’ potential for serving G‑d with joy and building a happy Jewish home in Israel.

May your heart dance when your feet cannot, and may you serve G‑d with joy wherever your legs take you.

Rachel

Rosally Saltsman is a freelance writer originally from Montreal living in Israel. Click here to email Rosally.
Sefira Ross is a freelance designer and illustrator whose original creations grace many Chabad.org pages. Residing in Seattle, Washington, her days are spent between multitasking illustrations and being a mom.
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Rochele June 19, 2017

Beautiful question and answer Thankyou for posting. Reply

Chani UK June 26, 2017

All true, but He took away the Rebbe's ability to speak, which has always seemed to me capricious and cruel. The Rebbe was a tzaddik and as such probably understood, but I can never see why bad things happen to good people. My bad, I know, but there it is. Reply

edie usa June 26, 2017

Dearest Rachel, I wanted to respond to you with your loss in the physical break and artist fracturing that has been a part of your whole being in the joy of dance given to you. I myself had studied intensively/professionally in the ballet world. Further, I was married to an opera singer. The artistic challenge as you know takes a tremendous commitment of one's life without loss because of one's choice of love in the field! So many tremendous talents had studied and pursued to fulfill a life pleasure that did have to end at one point by choice or other. I had to grieve the loss as the opera singer I was married. That is first of full feelings and some time not measured. The other I have become so grateful of what and how I was led to the arts and live with a depth of gratitude I am enjoying fully in the remainder of my life. Regardless, the way does reveal what comes next. I will confess I was rather stubborn and angry to surrender. Love the years you had and know what you know! Thanks! Reply

Gabriel June 26, 2017

"and there are several—refers to dancing as a means of praising G‑d in joy. In Talmudic times, on the 15th of the month of Av the women would go dancing in the fields wearing white dresses"

can I have some refers ? Reply

Rosally Saltsman Petach Tikvah June 27, 2017
in response to Gabriel:

Talmud Taanit 31a Reply

Nwaizu Ikechukwu Lagos June 26, 2017

I agree with Blessed as you name. You should be thankful for his goodness of not permanent disability. You have a calling ahead of you. It is like Moshe saying why did the L-rd take mine Egyptian prince hood. Teshuva and find the L-RD's purpose for you. Could be dancing but now under a different purpose. Remain blessed and thankful for your state. Reply

Helen Dudden United Kingdom June 26, 2017

There is no answer to many things in life. Reply

Maleh Rietman June 23, 2017

Agree with Vicki Stone. Reply

Vicki Stone Portland June 25, 2017
in response to Maleh Rietman:

thank you Reply

Helen Dudden United Kingdom June 22, 2017

I think most will grieve for loss of any kind and I speak from my own experience. Disability in any form takes courage, meeting others worse than I, often grounds my own thoughts.

Have courage, it's not easy. Reply

Anonymous New York City June 22, 2017

Healing after injury Hi Rachel;
I have been a professional dancer, theater person for most of my life. Being a dancer is the life of a professional athlete and is frought with fragility and vulnerabilities both physically and emotionally. I hope that you are in one of the theatrical unions such as AGMA, The Actors' Fund or Career Transition for Dancers. You need the theater and dance community around you. Actors and singers are similarly vulnerable to loosing their voices or other debilitating injury. FYI: The ABT ballerina Missy Coplan also broke her leg in three places and was out for many months. Be open to trying Pilates, modified yoga etc and do a barre gradually when you feel ready..Faith in action is my best advice. Also, use creative visualization of what you aspire to achieve after you have healed sufficiently. Best to you... Reply

Vivienne June 21, 2017

WOW! This article resonated with me, I too lose multiple skills, talent, and career due to an injury sustained many years ago. Reading this article brought tears and sadness that flushed over my face. But as I continued to read it was at the sixth paragraph or section – I felt a feeling of delight.

It’s so true we are given talents, intellect, skills etc. from our Creator and if by unforeseen measures we lose them. We are here to be of service to HaShem his desire for us and our knowledge and duty to perform a mitzvot has not changed.


The more I continue to do a mitzvot – the more content I feel letting go of the past life as I once knew it and appreciating what HaShem a have blessed me with. No attitude of loss of dismay but an Attitude of Gratitude and heart felt Appreciation.
Thank you for this wonderful article. Reply

Raymond Bastarache NB Canada June 21, 2017

Why? G-d? I love your answer, to this question....if my talent takes me further away from my relationship with G-d? then let Ha Shem by all means, take away my gift? I'd rather lose my talent than lose my devotional time with Him. Noah walked with G-d.....meaning in a habitual way. Shalom. Reply

Bracha Goetz Baltimore June 21, 2017

Beautiful! Reply

Edward Keenan Rosamond June 21, 2017

Am a Jew but I never been in a synagogue Temple. I just like to say thank you for this site . Am been thinking about going to Temple lately . Because of .chabad.org. am getting to know God better for my life and family . God bless those that hear this message . Again thank you . Reply

JDV Paramus June 25, 2017
in response to Edward Keenan:

Chabad.org has that effect on many of us and that is a good thing. Reply

Gabriel Germany June 21, 2017

Great answer, and: an universal one. One could exchange Jew to Moslem or got to Jesus or Communism and the answer would still be very helpful. I miss the concrete sources of he sentence about dancing women in white while Talmudic times Reply

Rachael Prague June 21, 2017

Wow! Beautiful! Reply

Vicki Stone Portland June 21, 2017

I believe the young dancer was expecting a better answer than vague ideas about life and our place in it. she wants a concrete WHY did this happen to her. Just say we don't know, we simply don't know. Reply

Anonymous Jerusalem,Israel June 21, 2017

If Rachel thinks she has a problem,I would switch problems with
her asap! I married a physically and emotionally abusive man who had affairs with both men and women.I kidnapped
my children and brought them to the USA after he threatened to put a hold on their leaving Israel (yes,men can do this to male children,as in Israel; they belong to the father)I was an Aguna for 8 years and the Israeli court ruled no child support ,even though the children were only 2 and 4 years old and my ex-husband was
extremely wealthy.I have raised the children alone with no family help. They are both in Ivy League universities currently,but I am
totally alone. I have tried the "shadcan" route,the internet route,
telling the entire world that I am single including my butcher and dentist. I have hardly ever been set up and now I finally give up.
I believe that Hashem gave my children all the mazal my family
was due and that my mazal was that and that alone.The entire
story is very sad. Reply

Edward Keenan July 4, 2017
in response to Anonymous:

Your welcome at my home anytime. God be with you my sister. Keep your head up . Look at the blessings God put on your children going going to an ivy School is so cool it's all I can say. Reply

Anonymous Israel June 20, 2017

Why Did G-d Take Away My Talent? By Rosally Saltsman BS"D Thank You for a great lesson that we need to always remember Who knows the reasons, and why. Reply

Linda Rivera USA June 20, 2017

I was so happy to read this! What a WONDERFUL answer!!! And such great encouragement! She will indeed, do far more than she ever imagined!!!

She ended her sad story, with cursed! I loved it and laughed with joy when you replied with, Dear Blessed!

There are times when we have no idea why we're in the very sad circumstances that we're in. And the sad time goes on and on... and on... But G-d is so Good! Always!!! G-d knows what He is doing! His work is perfect! G-d is More Wonderful than words can express! My gratitude to G-d, forever! Reply

shayna fl June 20, 2017

it would be better to teach young girls ballet or tap, just girl classes, but never professional where the world looks at your body, not modest Reply

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