“I’m that daughter, that daughter who disconnected from her parents upon marriage”
I Healed My Back Pain [Feel Your Way Well // Issue 845]
I really enjoyed reading the feature article about the mind-body connection written by my sister, Russy Tendler. I felt I should write in just in case there was someone out there on the fence thinking about learning more about this topic. I want to urge you to get off the fence and take the plunge. Join me and thousands of others whose lives have been completely changed by Dr. Sarno’s approach, elucidated in his book Healing Back Pain and other books as well.
When I was expecting my second child, I was on the floor with debilitating back pain and sciatica for most of the pregnancy. So began a journey that started with my mother, may she be blessed, urging me to read his book and ended with my complete freedom from back pain or worry about lifting and bending despite scoliosis and a herniated disc.
From time to time, I still experience back pain episodes, but they automatically compel me to look inside and see what it is that is going on for me emotionally. Usually, the pain disappears shortly after I recognize the trigger.
I Am That Daughter [The Road Taken // Issue 844]
Dear Pained Mother,
I’m that daughter, that daughter who disconnected from her parents upon marriage, that daughter who went to a rav to badmouth her parents, that unhealthy, unstable daughter.
Mommy dear, I’d like give you a peek into my heart. I know you’re hurting, and your pain is real and raw and nothing I will say can minimize that, but please allow me to explain my choices.
Growing up, I was always just a clone of you and your expectations. Your acceptance of me and my worth in your eyes was dependent on how well I fit your mold. I actually was pretty good at playing the part (unlike some of my other siblings).
And although maybe you weren’t aware, your need for perfection and control didn’t allow me and my siblings to grow up and mature into healthy adults. When I entered marriage my battle scars became evident, and baruch Hashem, with lots of siyata d’Shmaya, I succeeded in getting the right help and am now on a journey of self-discovery. And yes, part of that process is disconnecting from those who love me but really hurt me. Im yirtzeh Hashem with time and tefillah and intense internal work, I’ll be able to create a healthy, authentic mother-daughter relationship with you.
For now, I feel your pain, and it hurts me to be the indirect cause of it, but for my future it’s imperative that I make these painful choices.
I daven that all your kinderlach should find a path to healing and self-discovery, and I dare to hope that one day, you will, too.
Thank you for giving me life and enabling me to choose life.
Echoes of Rebbetzin David [To Be Honest // Issue 844]
The opinion piece “Black, White, and Gray” where a woman shared her angst that her persona as business woman takes her away from her feminine essence, brought to light a Torah hashkafah that seems to have gone out of style. It reflected the value system I learned in my home — and in school — especially in BJJ seminary. It echoed the themes I heard Rebbetzin Bruria David a”h ingrain in us so vigorously: “Always look at your reflection through the window of what the Torah considers ideal.”
The rebuttal to the piece “Guilt be Gone,” in which the writer insists that enjoying a career and enjoying motherhood doesn’t have to be mutually exclusive also reminded me of Rebbetzin David. I believe she would have brought the article to our attention to show us how the values of the secular world have infiltrated and obscured our inner barometer. Unhealthy guilt is never advantageous. Guilt that arises from proper self-evaluation can be extremely productive.
Rebbetzin David encouraged her students to actualize their potential and interests. Many of her students became accomplished professionals. But she cherished the role of wife and mother above all.
Thanks for the Suggestion [Words Unspoken // Issue 844]
I’m an “older” single and really related to the Words Unspoken in which a woman thanks her neighbor for continually redting her shidduchim. I feel very touched when people think of suggestions for me and am so appreciative of it. I also like it when they tell them to me directly and include me rather than going to my parents. The care that comes through is felt and it’s so much more meaningful than getting suggestions from professional shadchanim (though that’s immensely appreciated, too!). So don’t be shy; even if you’re not sure if something is on the mark or not, suggest it! And if it’s very off target, we’ll simply let you know and you can think of more relevant ideas next time.
I also enjoyed Mrs. Batya Weinberg’s column on women and their relationship with Torah, and appreciated her answer about how to feel Shavuos even if you don’t have a husband.
Nagging Wife [Touch Base // Issue 844]
Thank you to Mrs. Batya Weinberg for her wise insights and inimitable style in answering questions on women and Torah.
I noted in particular her response to the questioner who wondered what her role was in supporting her husband’s Torah, as he was “not actually learning” but “only” listening to the daf on his commute.
I was reminded of a quote I heard from a mechaneches of an esteemed seminary, who said, “We spent all those years teaching our students to be kollel wives. We forgot to teach them to be wives.”
In my work with women of all ages, I repeatedly hear that the message pounded home in seminary was that it is somehow the wife’s tafkid to be responsible for her husband’s ruchniyus (read as: make sure her husband is davening at three minyanim a day, on time, and learning full-time, or at least a substantial seder before/after work).
While the goal — wives who are supportive of their husbands’ ruchniyus — is admirable, the side effect — wives who explicitly or indirectly pressure, cajole and nag their husbands to do more, and who project their simmering disappointment and disapproval if they don’t meet their preconceived notions of “yeshivish success” — is damaging not only to their shalom bayis and the homes they’re striving to build, but to the actual husbandly ruchniyus they so desperately desire.
As Mrs. Weinberg so beautifully points out, the role of the wife — and the true way to reinforce and build her husband’s ruchniyus — is to support, encourage, celebrate, admire, and respect that which he IS accomplishing in his ruchniyus. This would apply not only in the case of the husband who actually is learning the daf, but also to the husband who listens to hashkafah shiurim (but not Gemara), or volunteers for Tomchei Shabbos (but doesn’t have the head or zitz fleish to sit and learn for extended periods).
The life of a Torah Jew is rigorous. We women have our own challenges, and it’s important to remember that the expectations of a frum man are intellectually, emotionally, and physically demanding. As brought down by Rav Dessler ztz”l, each of us has our own personal nekudas habechirah. The goal is not to measure each person against a universal perfect ideal, but for each of us to grow — and encourage growth — from the point of his or her personal background, kochos, and sheifos.
Marriage Mentor, The Secret Spark
(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 846)
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