A few weeks’ ago, Yaakov Branfman began the discussion here on Sasson about what a ‘great’ magazine for orthodox Jews would really look like. You can see Yaakov’s post HERE. In response, Rivka Levy wrote THIS. Now, we’re pleased to share with you the viewpoint of another writer here on Sasson, as to what truly defines Jewish greatness, from poet Zisi Berkowitz:
It’s so easy to mistake painting an unreal, perfectionistic picture of the world as ‘greatness’.
“I’ll be a great mum when I can cook three wholefood meals a day that are totally organic – and
that my family actually wants to eat…
“I’ll be a great Jew when I never, ever lose my temper – not even a little bit, not even with the
old hag behind the till in my local super, who always yells at me for not giving her the right
“I’ll be a great writer when I finally author the book that’s going to sell a million, or change the
world, or get quoted by people in Hollywood….”
That’s how this unreal, perfectionistic picture of ‘greatness’ plays out in our heads.
Wow! I read your words and I just had to share Sara’s story with you.
It articulates exactly what you are saying:
I met someone today who was SO REAL you could feel it in the air. Do you remember the kallah that was on a bus that crashed from Yerushalyaim to Bnei Brak a few years ago? She ended up in critical condition three weeks before her wedding. She is an unbelievably, super-in-the-moment person. I was blown away by her candor, her optimism and her unwavering love of Hashem! Her not-rose-colored perception of reality is a stark contrast to the platitudes we are used to hearing.
It sounds like:
I’m lying in a hospital bed with my arm severed and my leg badly injured. The pain is constant and excruciating. I was supposed to be married three weeks ago. Today my loquacious, gushing, ever-inquisitive, English speaking, beloved grandmother is coming to visit. I feel like I don’t have the strength. To talk. To answer all the questions. To fill in all the details. To express adequate love.
Silently, (she says you don’t need a siddur) I daven to Hashem. I beg Him. I know how much You love me and care about me. Please help the visit be pleasant. Miraculously, my grandmother enters the room just as the ONE and only English speaking nurse on the floor is standing near my bed. She knows my case very well. She patiently fills my grandmother in on all the details, answering all her questions. I don’t need to open my mouth. I just smile.
I don’t live with the belief that one day in the future everything will be okay. I live with joy today, because Hashem is with me and my life is one big nes!