I opened my e-mails. One was from Jenny. I always hesitate a moment before opening any e-mail from her, before answering any call from her. I have a love-hate relationship with my childhood friend Jenny. I love Jenny, but I hate what she does—most of all, what she does to herself.

For the past fifteen or so years, Jenny has been in and out of rehabilitation centers, in and out of jail, in and out of trouble. Throughout it all, I have felt totally and completely helpless as I watch her harm herself over and over again. I never let go of her, no matter how painful it was to hold on. I always hoped, always told her parents, “You are going to see. She’s going to get better. She’s going to change.”

I have felt totally and completely helpless as I watch her harm herselfHowever this time, when I opened her letter, I told myself, “I just can’t. I have to let Jenny go.” I confided in my husband, “I thought that this time she had really stopped, but from her e-mail I see that she didn’t. I can’t have her in my life anymore. She won’t change.”

The entire week I felt defeated, I felt depressed.

There was once a little boy named Naftali Tzvi. He was mischievous. He didn’t like to study, and was always finding ways to get out of going to school. One night Naftali Tzvi tiptoed into the kitchen. He heard his mother crying, sobbing. “What will be? What will be? What will become of Naftali Tzvi?” The crying pierced his heart.

Naftali Tzvi, who was not the most intelligent child, decided right then and there that he would at least make an effort and apply himself. He studied, he learned. Naftali Tzvi Yehudah Berlin, also known as the “Netziv,” became the rosh yeshivah (head dean) of the world-famous Volozhin Yeshivah. What would be, what would be of Naftali Tzvi if his mother hadn’t cried and prayed over him?

There is a custom to remember ten things every day, and to say the Thirteen Principles of the Torah that were composed by Maimonides. One of the ten things is to remember Jerusalem, may it be rebuilt quickly in our days, and one of the thirteen principles of Jewish faith is to believe in the coming of Moshiach. I say these every day. I believe, with complete and total faith, that the Moshiach will come and the Holy Temple will be rebuilt.

I believe. I have to believe. If I don’t believe, I am left with nothing. I believe, because how can I not? For nearly two thousand years the nation of Israel has been persecuted and attacked. And yet we live on. They have tried over and over to destroy us, and they can’t. Why? Because we believe.

In the Torah, G‑d commands the nation of Israel to build the Mishkan (Tabernacle) in the desert so that He can “dwell” among them. The phrase used in the Torah is to dwell, not “among,” but “inside” of you. The commentators understand from this that every Jew is a dwelling place for the divine presence. We are all Tabernacles that house the soul, a spark of divinity.

I keep thinking about Jenny. “Oh Jenny, if only you could see you the way I can see you.”

We are all Tabernacles that house the soul, a spark of divinityWhen the Temple was destroyed, the sages write, all the gates of the heavens were closed except for one gate, the gate of tears. With a sincere prayer and a face of tears, any decree can be nullified. Our tears rise to the skies and pierce through the gates of heaven.

I remember the story of Rav Naftali Tzvi and the tears that his mother shed. I realize that I can’t give up on Jenny. Jenny is like a Tabernacle: her body houses her soul. I cry and I pray, with the same hope and belief that the Temple will be rebuilt and that the Moshiach will come, that Jenny too will rebuild her life and reconnect to her beautiful soul.