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Elul 5763 – Life After Sem…Help…

1 Elul, 5763

Dear Chana,

I have been back in the states for 2 years now and I have followed your previous advice [see archives] on filling my free time with Torah and Chesed. The issue at hand is that I still feel that there is something missing in my life. I still feel a void at times. In my time in seminary my life significantly changed for the better. Torah is now very important to me, and my value system has shifted to those things that are deep and real. However, I desperately want to be back in Israel!! There is way too much Sheker and pritzus in America! Yes, I am continuing to to good things, but it is hard – and I so want to go home!! Life in Israel seemed so penetrating and true, and here there is superficiality and distortion wherever you turn. Is there something wrong with me? Is this my yetzer hora? Please help me understand if what I am feeling is normal or not. What can I do to help myself?

Thank you so much for your time and patience

Name withheld Michlala 5761

Dear Jemsem Reader,

I can see that you are a straightforward and honest person. Of course you are continuing to do the right things, but you are facing the facts that it is difficult and life doesn’t seem quite the same as when you were in Israel. Yes, it is true that there is moral depravity, shallowness, and falsehood in the world. These things abound everywhere, it is part of golus. In Israel where Kedusha feels tangible things seem to go smoother a person can easily latch onto the emes. Perhaps that is so, but I still maintain that a person can be whoever they need to be wherever they are.

The trick is to go with the flow of the Hashgacha and let the Hashgacha work for you! If at this point in time you find yourself in America, [for whatever good life reasons that you do] so be it! You can still tap into that amazing person that you are and be ever developing yourself, even in America. Make Hashem’s Will your will, and blossom, for that is what Hashem wants, always. You will also be a much happier person once you truly internalize this concept. It is the yetzer horah, that gets you down and makes you feel like you just can’t do it anymore!

Listen to yourself, it’s your Neshama talking. What you need to do is to allow those feelings of void and emptiness to be THE MOTIVATING FACTOR to give you a push to make things even better more profound and genuine for yourself. You can utilize these feelings and let them be the mechanism that can influence you to strive to greater heights.

As with everything in life, there is Bechirah. Each new day is like the empty page of a book waiting to be written upon. What will I fill My being, MY life with today? What will MY eyes see, what will be in MY headspace today? It is truly up to ME to decide. Nisyonos all around! Employ and take total advantage of this time of year- it’s Ellul! Hashem paves the way for us to get closer to Him now. Dirshu Hashem B’hematzo. Rethink your current mode of living – really take stock of it and see what could use some fixing [of course if it ain’t broken don’t fix it!] and perhaps strengthen some gedarim. We ALL need to do this, no matter where we live! Many of the values of the world at large aren’t our values, so reevaluate and see where you perhaps have taken on a view or are doing something which is truly foreign for a Jew. Step back and use your Binah, it is a Gdly gift which when applied correctly can have extraordinary far reaching ramifications.

Use your own unique creativity, personality and kochos to generate Torah values. There are holes and gaps to be filled, not everything has been thought of yet. There are chassadim to be done for others and gemachim that are truly needed and don’t exist yet. Brainstorm- you’ll be helping yourself as well as others. You CAN make the most of your life no matter where you are!

Wishing you and all of our vast Jemsem readership an uplifting Chodesh Ellul!

Chana