Sunday, May 19, 2013

When Love is all there is! - Lessons gleaned from Shoshie's last conversation in life - Part 1

What will life be life when love is all there is? It will be somewhat like Shoshie's life.

I trekked to Boca Raton Synagogue for the 2nd day of Shavuos to celebrate a Siyum on all of the written Torah (and Mitzvot) in celebration of Shoshie's Shaloshim. The synagogue has maybe 600-700 families. This was a Chag with many families hosting family members from out of town. At least a thousand people and then some. As I finished my 25 minute walk (i went a little bit the long way to avoid the intersection where Shoshie was .....), sweating profusely, who is the very 1st person I gaze upon? None other than the person who had the last actual conversation with Shoshie ( I had found out just the other day about this very last visit). This girl is so very beautiful and Shoshie and she had a beautiful relationship together. She and I talked for a good 20 minutes. I am so grateful to have spoken to her. I found out a few things I didn't know and the meeting inspired me to write about today's topic which in time I will get to later in this post.

Here's what I learned from the meeting
1. Shoshie was in a usual joyous mood and wasn't carrying around a heavy feeling at all by a rumor she heard about herself

2.Shoshie was according to her (with no prompting in any way) was working on herself to become a better person. She was working on her modesty ( for clarity she always dressed according to Halachic requirements but norms here in Boca differ than that of Milwaukee where lived last) I was always chirping about it. I am blown away by this statement of her friend as she described that Shoshie had recently become a little more modest than she. Shoshie was so natural at being Shoshie - for her to reflect and introspect and be mindful of how modest she is dressing brings jubilation to me and to anyone serious about growth in ruchnius (spirituality) . Shoshie never verbalized it - she never even told me that she heard me and working on it (although Devori had told me). One of the two witnesses to the accident had reflected upon seeing Shoshie cross the road on her rib-stick for the last time " what a beautiful "frum girl" - one of grace, dignity and beauty. - a girl that was recognizable that she belonged to our community. Quietly addressing herself with no need for approval - striving to do more, be more - I am so proud of her-I didn't know

3.This young women I spoke to said that Shoshie was working on herself to be nicer, more often. Really? She was so nice to start with. I guess she is pointing us to that we should never be satisfied with our spiritual growth, don't tell people what you are going to do-just do it, trying to grow doesn't to be something you grunt, get busy busy in your mind and bear down but a simple ease of mindfulness and a reflection from time to time (not every time) of how you are doing. Shoshie wanted to "be nicer" - what spurred her on? what inspired her? what incident or piece of Torah left her saying to herself " I've got to do better"? Whatever it is Shoshie continues for me to be my teacher and I will have to take heed of the lessons I see. Boy do I miss her-terribly. She is the 1st thing I thing about in the morning, the last thing at nigh and in the back drop of every moment in between like the constant background noise of the fan in your lap top . She is teaching me how to have a relationship with God - a constant pre-occupation, never leaving these thoughts for a moment.

4. This young women goes to a different school than Shoshie. One that is different than Shoshie's school. This school possibly is more focused and concerned on being integrated in the modern world a healthy balance between the demands of a life according to Jewish law and being part of the world. The administration at Shoshie's school would definitely say the same thing but perhaps go about it a little differently. Suffice it to say that there is a reason why there are 2 different schools. The norms of both are different. The girls look a little different, are being taught a little different, the parents of each school are not sending their child to the other school because they don't see their value system fully and equally represented in both schools.

It would be understandable that a girl from either school could look down on the girls from the other school just from the mere fact of insecurity. If I am not certain of who I am, what I believe, where I am going, I am subconsciously threatened by what you do, how you speak, what you wear etc. At 12 years and 4 months it would not be a stretch to say that it's possibly a very insecure time in the life of a teenage girl who is just coming of age in her thoughts about her life and self. A tendency could be to tear others down to participate in the illusion of building yourself up. Only a secure person can fully enjoy another person who goes to a different school, appears different and possibly is speaking a different language that reflects a slightly different emphasis in priorities, values, etc ( and maybe that is not real but often an illusory projection that keeps others who are different than you at bay because my insecurity detects a threat to my own lack of clarity) Okay now for the point.

Shoshie's friend told me that when she visited her and was the only girl in the room from Bais Yakov- you couldn't tell one iota. She fit in beautifully. No judgement, no criticism, evaluative statements- no distance. This is as much a tale about the other girls in the room from Hillel. After all Shoshie didn't go to their school, was an outsider and wasn't friends with them (on a constant day to day basis) . "How goodly are your tents" -when they are full of peace. Shoshie didn't just exist on the edge in the group, she didn't just not talk up and engage as to fit in- fit in so there are no ruffled feathers..... Shoshie became part of the glue of the group -equally treating "all" the girls with acceptance, respect and love - helping everyone of this great group to see the beauty of each other. Does this beautiful Hillel -Bais Yakov union have what to teach us?

What nachas to have a daughter who naturally saw others for who they were and not what school they went to, who was secure with who she was as to not knock the other person down nor drop her own identity for the identity of the group to gain favor and acceptance. Shoshie didn't need their favor, acceptance and love - she enjoyed it. Didn't demand it but loved it. I am so proud of her. Okay got to go daven- thank you all for being there, listening etc. I am human i appreciate being heard. I will im'y post Part 2 and the main thoughts about love in my next post either later today or tomorrow. Lots of love to you all -Mike

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