Thursday, November 11, 2010

When You've Lost Everything

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Question of the Week:

My life has fallen apart. My husband left me, I have been kicked out of my home and my career is over. And now I am losing my faith too. I used to believe so strongly, but now my thinking has changed. Was I deluded to think that G-d would help me?  


I feel for you in what must be a huge test of your character. Your whole world has been shattered to pieces. Just to get up in the morning and face the day must take mammoth strength.
There is a name for your situation. The Kabbalists call it Ayin Baemtza - "transitional nothingness."

Between any two states of being lies an intermediary state of nonbeing. Like a seed that must become a tree, it first decomposes, nullifies itself and rots into oblivion. Just as it reaches the verge of complete nonexistence, the seed starts to sprout and reinvents itself into a new being. Only by losing its being as a seed and becoming nothing, can it reach a new being, a greater being, as a tree.

It has to be this way. To truly reinvent oneself, there must be a true and complete break from the past, a real nothingness, to make room for the new self to emerge.
You are presently going through an Ayin Baemtza stage in your life. The life that was is gone, the life that will be is yet to blossom, and you are left in a big black hole of confusion, pain and darkness. That is a very hard place to be. Because everyone knows that transitional nothingness is just a temporary state, a step between two stages in life. Everyone knows that except the one who is going through it themselves. For you the nothingness is real. It is hard - maybe impossible - for you to see any bright future ahead.
So what can you do to survive the transitional nothingness? What will keep you going until you transform into the you of tomorrow?
In your state of nothingness you need to hold on to something higher than yourself. Now, you need faith, not philosophy. Say to yourself: My life is in disarray, I don't know what's flying, I don't know what will be, but I am in G-d's hands. This is a process that for whatever reason I must go through. And with G-d's help, I will get through it.
When in an Ayin state, it is not the time to be changing belief systems, or making important life choices. The ground you are standing on is too unstable for you to be able to think clearly. It would be sad - no, it would be tragic - if in your frustration you made choices that you will later regret, but not be able to reverse.
I offer no solutions to your predicament. But I offer you one piece of advice. Just hold on to G-d, the one thing that even in your nothingness you haven't lost. You will get through this black hole and your life will be reborn. The seed is planted. Have faith, and your new tomorrow will blossom soon.
Good Shabbos,
Rabbi Moss


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