My Daughter’s Rejection Letter

My Daughter’s Rejection Letter

This morning my daughter received a whopper of a disappointment.
After years putting her all into her schoolwork and her university entrance exam, she applied to 4 universities, and amazingly made it to the final stage of the acceptance process at 2 of them. But today she found out that she hadn’t gotten into even one of them. Zero.
Since I heard this news I am feeling a lot of different conflicting emotions.
At first, this morning, I felt shock.
Then, a little bit later, I felt FOR SURE this is a gift from Hashem. Even if we can’t see how at this moment. Just like when a different daughter was rejected 4 years ago from her top-choice high school, even though ALL of her friends got in. And the only school that accepted her was one we knew nothing about, and she had only applied to it because she was certain she’d get into her top choice. And now, 4 years later, she literally cried on her last day of school, and was the MC at her graduation, and blossomed so remarkably socially and academically and religiously that she was asked by the principal to come back next year as a madricha to be a role model for the younger classes.
But despite my great Emuna that everything is for the best, including my daughter’s deeply-disappointing rejection, by this afternoon my eyes kept on tearing up. And the only things I wanted to eat were chocolate and doritos.
And I was feeling like my whole life is a mess. And nothing is going right.
And this is JUST NOT FAIR!
This evening, though, I’ve been listening to something that has been clearing away my junk-food muck and sulk and making me feel better, a farbrengen by Rabbi YY Jacobson about the Lubavitch holiday 12-13 of Tammuz, the days on which the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s father-in-law, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneerson, was miraculously released from a Soviet prison in 1927.
When Lenin died and Stalin took over in 1924, even under threat of immediate death, the Rebbe Rayatz refused to give up his efforts to make Judaism accessible to Soviet Jewry. He gathered together 9 other men (among them Rabbi YY’s grandfather, Simon Yakubashvili) who divided the Soviet Union among themselves into 10 regions, each one taking responsibility to maintain Jewish life “until their very last drop of blood.”
Over those 2 decades, these 10 Chassidim incredibly managed to set up 600 underground Jewish schools. Some lasted for a week, some for a month, some longer, before they were discovered by the Soviet authorities and shut down, the majority of teachers and administrators sent to prison or Siberia or shot.
In Georgia, the region of Rabbi YY’s grandfather, before Stalin there had been hundreds of Mikvehs, but Stalin called for all of them to be buried so they would be completely inaccessible. Simon Yakubashvili, at great personal risk, brought a falsified letter from the authorities in Moscow ordering the immediate opening of 2 mikvehs. He knew they probably wouldn’t stay open long, and that doing so was putting himself in immediate danger. In 1938, during Stalin’s Great Purge, Simon was arrested, tortured, and exiled to a remote Siberian Gulag for years of hard labor.
Hearing about the undying determination of those Chassidim. Their undying efforts to light candle after candle, even though they knew they would almost certainly be snuffed out right away by the Soviet hurricane.
Their determination reminds me of how spoiled I am. How entitled I am. The extent to which I expect life and my children’s lives to be easy and uncomplicated and whatever we desire right now to be served up microwave-instant.
But my daughter (and I) would do well to look at the Rebbe Rayatz and his followers to learn a lesson in stick-to-itiveness and long-term vision. Of sticking with goals and not giving up on them, just because we’ve encountered a pot-hole, and found the road is bumpier or longer than we’d originally expected.


  1. Kol hakavod!!!

  2. “…the only things I wanted to eat were chocolate and doritos” Chana Jenny, I love how you’re so real and easy to relate to, thank you!

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