Shalom people in my world. I am getting used to my new identity as an almana (widow) which I formerly just identified with a black spider.

But in Jewish tefila (prayer) terms, they say it makes me closer to G-d than Rav Kanievsky. The other day I got a call to daven for someone who was in an accident. I said sure I will get someone to the Kotel quick. They said no, the person wants you to daven for them. ‘Oh yeah’ I thought, ‘I’m the almana‘.

I guess it’s G-d’s funny way of making me think I won the lottery in this crisis.

People generally would like to know how I am, but thankfully don’t want to pry. So, I decided to update you via the blog today.

Basically, I am on fast-forward. Fast-forward challenges, fast-forward efforts, fast-forward emotions. Fast-forward period.

The amount of changes I have made internally in the last two months are definitely equal to the last few years. Feels like a chiropractor visiting my psyche and making adjustments.

A few weeks ago a friend who knew I was going through after-shock crisis called up and asked me how I am. I said, “Well it depends. If you are asking me how are things in my life, then terrible. Absolutely terrible. But, if you are asking me how I am handling them. Great!”

Of course we know that the only thing we own here is who we are and what we do. So the great is what’s forever, and the terrible just passes along with everything else…

A friend asked me what it looks like to pass a test from Above. My answer is that she accept it and use it to grow. A basis tenet of that acceptance is to know it comes from a loving and good G-d who created perfection in the world. That the suffering is part of the perfection in the world. Of course this is a process. But at least acceptance, trust and the use of it to grow – a plus from the master of the Universe. Spiritual and physical worlds repaired as a result! Look at that – we can all do it with whatever is on our plate. We really can. Or we can die trying…

I had heard through all of shiva that we say ‘Hamakom’ (the Place) when comforting a mourner because it refers to G-d. That only G-d can truly comfort. That we work and work and work and then finally G-d grants the nechama (comfort). The other day I felt a small aspect of this. I was reading the highly recommended book on suffering “Longing for the Dawn”, and I read the famous quote about when Rebbe Akiva was being tortured to death. Voices cried out “is this the reward for Torah?”. The response from G-d was “Quiet, or I will turn the world back to water”. This always bothered me. Doesn’t it sound like a macho way of saying, “this is my world and I will do what I want”? How is that supposed to make us feel better?

I finally got clarity that soothed a bitterness in my soul. What G-d was saying is that after the flood of Noah, He brought a rainbow and made a promise that He will never destroy/flood the world again – even if the world deserved it. So in our days, when the world has gone so astray that it really does deserve, or does need to be flooded at times according to the divine formula, G-d has to “find” a way in which He can keep His promise and not destroy the world. One way to do this is to take tzaddikim (righteous people) so that the rest of us can remain. Isn’t it unbelievably apropos that Gershon zt”l was taken through water on his 40th birthday and also on the parsha (Torah portion of the week) of the flood itself that lasted for 40 days. Isn’t it such an incredible way to show us what he was? How can one complain when he was used to save a multitude? When one has clarity that they or a loved one are a korbon for Hashem on behalf of Am Yisroel, the intentions can change to noble and pure ones.


On a lighter note, I received an email from a family member today letting me know that she went to see her dental hygienist the other day. This lovely Latino lady read the Aish article about Gershon zt”l and was so inspired that she decided to offer free dental work for the poor, free meals for homeless people and other. I was moved beyond words.

What can you do?

With love from Jerusalem,

7 responses to “Thoughts and reflections of an almana (widow)”

  1. aliza says:

    Thank you for writing. So inspiring and beautiful!

  2. rachelli says:

    much bracha and good health for you and your children.

  3. jon says:

    Wow! Thank you! I think we have all been waiting to see this. As usual, blown away by your strength and words. Hatzlacha, bracha, simcha, and nachas for you and your family! Good Shabbas!

  4. Susie says:

    Thanks for writing this Batya. May Hashem comfort you and raise you and your children. Lots of love

  5. Julie says:

    Wow! Thank you for sharing! You make all of us feel better!

  6. dontbafreier says:

    I think about you often and I’m glad to hear that you’re handling things so well. Don’t hesitate to contact me if you need anything.

  7. Lauren says:

    Your deep wells of strength and emunah inspire me speechless and make me so aware of how far I have to go. Thank you for sharing your inner life in your blog.

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