Taking our children out into the fields and parks to play with a bow and arrow toy is a traditional way to celebrate Lag BaOmer. Teaching our children how to play with a potentially lethal weapon: (1) Doesn’t sound too Jewish; and (2) Doesn’t seem like an appropriate way to celebrate any holiday! So what’s up with this custom about the bow and arrow?

The bow is a weapon that is used to shoot arrows, consisting of a curved, flexible piece of wood and a taut string. The bow and arrow symbolizes the tension created by drawing inward and unleashing the latent potential of our being. The inventor of this device had to grasp the paradox that the deadly arrow must be pulled back toward one's own heart in order to strike at the heart of the opponent. In contrast, the bow and arrow does not have to be viewed as a weapon, but rather as a tool that can propel us toward the attainment of our deepest desire. Hopefully, this will enable us to connect with others, with ourselves and ultimately connect us with G‑d.

Experience has shown me that when I lead with my weakness, (i.e., when I am transparent or self-revealing to a friend), then I’m finally able to experience true intimacy. Or, as I like to call it: “In To Me See.” This is where one can connect with another at the deepest level. This yearning to experience union with another person motivates us throughout so much of our lives. The intensity of this pull can readily be seen within the addict. That is why a major part of every addict’s story is “the disconnect.” He is disconnected from his true self, from others and from his relationship with G‑d. Recovery work helps people to transform their attitudes that contributed to their alienation and loneliness. After doing the step work, these negative habits are transformed into attitudes that foster healing and unity. This coming out of isolation is a main ingredient of the healing necessary for the addict to succeed in recovery.

Therefore, in a way, the cry of the addict is “Give me intimacy, or give me death!” By being vulnerable and open, I create a holy space for another to share. This is the part of me that is the most true to who I really am.

The teaching that is at the heart of this metaphor is that it takes a lot of courage and strength to attain interpersonal intimacy. Along with being aligned with G‑d's will, it is also necessary to strive for “honesty, open- mindedness and willingness.” These qualities are indispensable in cultivating intimacy. Intimacy is not only sharing your innermost self, it is a discovery that inevitably leads to a deeper understanding of G‑d!

People in recovery must cultivate a relationship with G‑d in order to recover from a hopeless state of mind, body and soul. Only G‑d can relieve these afflictions. It is by leading with my weakness that I elicit from another person the courage to relate to me in a very deep way. The further I reach into myself, the more profound impact I can have on another person.

By putting myself out there, I create the possibility of connecting with a person’s inner self. By revealing my vulnerabilities, I am saying that it is okay to be human; it's okay to be open — and it’s safe.

During the “Ten Days of Repentance,” we pray: “From out of the depths I call out to You!” By coming from such a deep place, out of my soul, I am able to elicit a reaction from such a high level of G‑dliness in the other person. I am tapping into a holy place, a place that is unconditionally loving — like the love of a parent for His child. We are saying, so to speak: “Help me know that you know me, G‑d. Help me to let you in! I don’t want a superficial relationship with You, so please give me the courage to trust that it is safe to be vulnerable with You.” Sometimes I may think that G‑d will punish me if I admit certain things to Him — so I keep Him at arm’s length — to stay safe. The problem with that is that when I put Him into a box, and take him out only when it’s okay, I am trying to control G‑d! There’s nothing scarier than having a G‑d that I think I am stronger than. Because then, during times of need, I can only rely on myself! Now that’s really scary! But when I trust that G‑d will be there for me, just like a loving parent is, I don’t have to live in fear and worry.

If you study astrophysics, you gain a better understanding of the galaxy. If you listen to your loved one's deepest feelings, you have a healthier and fulfilling relationship. Ultimately, the final frontier is finding our inner selves. And although there are many beautiful things to be learned from the study of the galaxy, there is no space as holy or as deep as the space within the G‑dliness of our own self. For in this temple within ourselves, we will find (after much devotion and digging) what we were always looking for in active addiction. It had always been within you; for the Most High resides within the deepest part of your being.

Draw back your arrow, and know thy True Self and your Creator within you.