When Her DH Was On a Psychiatric Ward (3-Minute Mommy Peptalk)

When Her DH Was On a Psychiatric Ward (3-Minute Mommy Peptalk)

When a young mother’s husband spends 2 months on a psychiatric ward, she brings to life the avoda of the 9 days.

Right now, we are in the 9 days of mourning leading up to Tisha B’Av.
This is how my teacher, Rabbi Nivin, explains why many people, including me, find feeling sad this time of year so challenging. Here’s how he put it:
“During the 9 days, I’m supposed to mourn the lack of the presence of G-d in my life, but why?
Look at my life: I have a nice house. I have a nice backyard. I have a nice family. I have a great wife. I have a lot of children, B”H. Basically, they are all doing well. I have a lot of food. I live in the most abundant generation in the history of the world. I have a great job. I talk Torah all day. I live in Israel. I kind of like my life. I don’t feel my life is a tragedy.

“That’s our work these 9 days,” Rabbi Nivin continues, “To explore this question. I call it being chutzpahdik. Why should I want God in the center of my life? Our goal is to say, quite frankly, I don’t know what the heck I’m talking about. And then the journey begins. That is the journey we need to set off on now.”

I read a beautiful article in Pnima Magazine written by a young mother named Noa Levi who found herself on that journey. To finding Hashem at the center of her life.
Noa Levi got the shock of her life when her husband called her to say that he was on a locked psychiatric ward, where he would be staying for the next two months.
Shabbats on her own, she writes, were the hardest. She writes about one challenging Shabbat in particular that she spent with her sister’s family:
“On Shabbat morning,” she wrote, “we walk to shul, and my daughter Shira turns to me, ‘Eema, is abba at shul?’ I cannot hold my tears back any longer and they burst out of me. ‘No, my sweet girl, Abba will come back after Shabbat, God willing. ‘ Shira doesn’t understand why I’m crying, she hugs me. One day I’ll have to explain things to her.

“At shul, there is a kiddush and I turn to my sister in tears: ‘This moment, when I see that I’m the only married woman here who isn’t waiting for her husband, is the hardest moment of all. I want to pour something for myself to drink and the bottles are on the men’s table. If my husband was here, he would bring me.” It’s in the littlest things like that that the fact my husband’s not here hurts the most.

“After a moment, I see a boy coming up to me and there’s a cup of cola in his hand. I’m in shock. Did that boy hear me? I don’t know. But I have no doubt that Hashem saw my pain. It’s at these moments, especially that I feel most tangibly that HaKadosh Baruch Hu is with me. He shows me His presence in the tiny details and doesn’t abandon me for a moment. I feel that I’m not going through all this alone. That Someone is walking beside me. Someone who knows when to send me hugs and encouragement. In the past, I had so much anger inside me at the Creator of the world. But I didn’t understand anything. I didn’t imagine that, as time passes, HaKadosh Baruch Hu would be my light during this period of uncertainty. That Hashem would turn into my very best friend.”

May Hashem bless all of us this week with great light and comfort!

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