I had big mother-children-fun plans for Chanukah. The zoo. The Kotel. A Chanukah performance or two.
But in the end, JewishMOMs plan, and G-d laughs.
Turned out having 8 kids home for a week and putting dinner on the table every night and having enough me-time to stay sane was a full-time job. I literally didn’t leave the house with any of my children all of Chanukah. And for much of Chanukah, I was feeling bad about it.
Right before Shabbat, after a Friday-morning spent getting ready for Shabbat with a bunch of kids underfoot, I desperately needed to spend some time out of the house on my own, so I went down to my favorite place to daven– the grave of the Zviller Rebbe zts”l across from the Supreme Court.
It’s pretty random, really. Why would a Baltimore-born Baalat Teshuva like me have a special connection with the Zviller Rebbe? But a few years ago, at the height of the Nachlaot Pedophile crisis, I decided to visit the Zviller Rebbe’s grave every Monday and Thursday for about 10 months. And the hope those visits gave me were one of the only things that kept me standing through that incredibly challenging period of my life.
Nowadays, I rarely go down to the Zviller Rebbe. But when I do go, I feel something I almost never feel anywhere else. I sit down near the grave, and begin to cry, hundreds of pounds of doubts and self-doubt and all-around blurriness melt away. I feel clarity like an electrical current.
And this past Friday, sitting at the grave, with perfect clarity I imagined I could see myself through Hashem’s eyes and I knew: I am trying my best to be a good wife and a good mother and keep mitzvot and keep JewishMOM.com (and my readers) afloat. AND THAT IS ENOUGH.
And this is what I thought of when last night I came across the following figures from Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics and the Jerusalem Municipality.
The percentage of people who are not religious who say they are happy–26%.
The percentage of traditional people who say they are happy–31%.
The percentage of religious people who say they are happy–40%.
The percentage of very religious people who say they enjoy a high level of happiness–62%.
I know these statistics are meant to refer to different people with different religious outlooks.
But when I read this I thought how these definitions could all apply to me–at different times, depending on which eyes I’m using when I look at myself– my own non-religious judgmental eyes, or G-dly loving eyes from Above looking down.