Dear Friends,

I wrote this letter to Dina, after a long and difficult year. She thought that I should publish it. Perhaps other women will draw strength from it as well.

Have a happy and sweet year!


Dear Dina, my heart of gold,

This year has been difficult. Your tears didn’t go unnoticed. I’m sure the tears I saw were only the tip of the iceberg. How many were shared with your pillow, how many were written into your blog, and how many have you held back?

Who can understand the heart of a Jewish mother? It is like you have a sixth sense that Jewish women have. It is a closeness to G‑d, as if you can sense His sadness as well. Sometimes, you sense His joy.

This is talked about in the last mishnah of the Tractate of Taanit, where we read that. On Yom Kippur, the girls would go dancing in the vineyards, just like Tu B’Av. What was special about those times? They are times of forgiveness of sins, and the girls could sense G‑d’s joy, which caused them to go out and dance.

Now, if women can sense G‑d’s joy, it would follow that they sense His sadness as well. And so you cry even more.

I think the deepest crying is for the children. I think this is why you identify so strongly with the haftorah of the second day of Rosh Hashanah, where we read of Rachel’s crying for her children, and there is no one to console her. It just seems endless, with no reprieve in sight. So much work, so much selfless—giving and giving, with no gain, no reward.

The haftorah continues. G‑d says: “You can stop crying; there is reward for your work. There is hope; the children will return to their borders.”

Moshiach is coming, and it’s your work, your tears, your love and your joy that will have brought him.

Your suffering is not in vain. You will see the fruits of your hard work, and you will be honored. I don’t know why G‑d chose us, but He did. We, like Rachel, won’t give up, and we won’t let Him down.

In this week’s parshah, we read the words from Moshe to Yehoshua chazak v’ematz—“be strong and courageous.” Perhaps it is our faith, joy and trust that will bring an end to this dark exile.

I am with you,

Your Yosef Yitzchak