Monday, March 13, 2006

Conversation with a Rabbi

I don't know what I'm looking for. I'm so sick and tired of everyone asking me this question. Yes, both my parents are Jewish. I've been told over and over again that it only really matters if my mother is Jewish. The truth of the matters is it doesn't really matter to me. What blessings has this ever brought me? I was told that I was lying about my abuse. Remember "Jews don't abuse their children".

When you tell a rabbi you were abused they look at you like you are from Mars. I'm a woman, so I must be from Venus.

I had a few e-mail exchanges with a rabbi. I thought for a bit maybe he understood about abuse and what it's like to be a survivor. I was wrong.

I find a great deal of healing writing on my blog. Even my rape counselor approves of it.

I'll be honest with you, I don't like hanging around old people because I don't know which ones of them could have abused their kids. I don't have the time right now to consistently volunteer. If I did, I would spend time with foster kids.

Here's some of the chat:

How to wipe the slate clean is a great question? I will try to answer with a different question.

For a man Judaism is very clear that masturbation is against Jewish law. It is not relevant to what I am going to write as to the reasons, so I am going forward. As a Rabbi, men, especially single men ask me how they can stop themselves from masturbating. The answers fall into two categories. One category is to remove the stimuli. The man should not read pornographic magazines, for instance, watch erotic movies, and the list goes on. Now, the man can ask, “but just walking in the street I see women who arouse me.” And he is 100% correct. Removing stimuli is of limited help.

We need a different kind of solution, one that is not negative but positive. How? If the man tries his best to be occupied with positive things then he will not have the time to think about all the stimuli he may be seeing. Of course he should remove as much of the stimuli as possible, but that is not the real answer. The real answer is to change focus. Is it hard? Extremely, but no one said it was going to be easy.

Likewise, you want to change how you feel about G-d and you are 100% correct. But it is not working and in my opinion the negative approach rarely works. You need to, only my opinion, get involved in helping other people. Now, I do not mean helping other survivors of abuse. Yes, they need help but I am not sure if you need to be the one right now trying to help. You do not need any more reminders of what was done to you. Our goal is to change focus. Perhaps you can find a nursing home where you can volunteer. There are people in a nursing home that are in essence abandoned. No one comes to visit them. If you would go on some kind of regular basis and just sit with them, you cannot imagine the joy you will be giving them, even if they may appear belligerent and unappreciative.

This in my opinion will help you change focus. If possible, let’s start with something like I mentioned. But, don’t expect miracles, please. As you know much better than me, you have a phenomenal amount of hurt and it is a journey you need to travel; a long journey. But, every journey starts with that first step. We can still turn around and see where we came from and we can decide to not make the journey. In my opinion that would be a mistake. Start the journey and over time the place where you came from will become smaller and smaller. I doubt if it will ever disappear, but eventually you will have the choice if you want to turn around and look back or to continue on your journey looking forward.


At 11:34 PM, Blogger AngrySoul said...

this rabbi is not a rabbi - he has no idea what the fuck he is talking about.

happy purim!!!

At 12:13 PM, Blogger Bughouse Square said...

funny thing is I checked him out. He is a rabbi. An elderly one who resides on the west coast.

At 9:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rabbi Mark Dratch:

I read the letter that this rabbi wrote to you and am appalled. His choice of comparison was so very inappropriate. (Borders on inappropriate boundary violations if you ask me.) Why talk in sexual terms that have nothing to do with the issue? He could have made the same point in many other--more appropriate ways. When will we learn?

The problem of justice/injustice and good/evil has a long and perplexing history. Despite our firm beliefs in reward and punishment (deserved) and divine providence, rabbis and scholars have been struggling with the question of why bad things happen to good people ever since the Bible began. And we still don't have a good answer. Approaches we have... answers we don't. So what this rabbi has suggested is a valid and respectable approach... move on, do go, use your suffering as a springboard to help others, etc. There is a lot of good psychology and theology in that.

That being said, if it doesn't resonate with you or if you are unable to "hear" it and make it a part of your life, then its not a good answer/approach.

In the Bible, Job seems to have found comfort when after all the arguments and rationalizations of his friends; God appears in the whirlwind and essentially gives no answer. For Job, just God's presence was enough.

Much harder in today's post-modern, post-enlightenment, post-deconstructionist world.

I will not presume to give you a pat answer. Real theology deserves more than a sounbite on a blog. And your questions deserve serious thought, conversation, debate, dialogue, and understanding.

But you seem to indicate that these issues are important to you... and that means, to me anyway, that through experiences (good ones); interactions with good people, spiritual people; reading; discussing; arguing; crying; yelling; silence and much more ... that you are on a journey of a lifetime towards healing--physically, emotionally and spiritually. Don't give up on it or on yourself. You deserve it. Everyone does.

Interesting how when we begin to focus on the indomitable and uncontaminable tzelem Elokim, image of God in which each of us was created how we can begin to make room for God in our lives.


Post a Comment

<< Home