Thursday, July 15, 2010

Scarred Hearts

Children are more emotional than adults. When I was younger, the tears were so close to the surface, anything could set them off. If I got hurt, even the teeniest scratch, I would cry. If I heard of someone else getting hurt, I would cry. And if I heard of someone in emotional pain, my heart went out to them.

Every pain that I heard of, every time that I cried scarred my heart. It had been fresh, young, unblemished. But as I grew older, each tzara that I heard about added another layer of scar tissue to the surface of my heart.

And then the defense mechanism kicked in.

If something is known to hurt you, you're not going to chase after it. More likely, you'd run away. When a heart mangled with so many tzaros, so many wounds and scars, realizes what causes its pain, it shuts itself off. Emotion is still there. But the outreach, the feeling for others just …


And now, I can no longer bring out the emotion for others that I used to have. That empathy is not gone, but severely depleteed. When I hear of a tzaar in klal yisroel, I don't cry. I maybe say a kapitol tehillim, but I can't find the tears. I can't find the emotion that used to define me.

Sometimes it hits close to home. That girl who just had twins – Chana Ruchama b-s Tziporah Faiga (she should have a refuah shleima) – is my age. She's my friend's friend. That hurt. But not as much as it would have hurt 10, 5, even 1 year ago. There's just too much tzaar.

The thing is that we as Yidden have an achrayus to be there for our brethren. We have to physically remove the scabs on our hearts and let them feel what we need them to feel. As Yechezkel says (36:26)והסרתי את-לב האבן, מבשרכם, ונתתי לכם, לב בשר (I will remove the stone heart from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh).

The second Beis Hamikdash was destroyed because of Sinas Chinam (baseless hatred).

Now is the time to fix this mistake so we can greet mashiach on Tuesday.

Now is the time to get rid of our scars and hearts of stone and replace them with a flesh, loving heart that can open itself to the rest of klal yisroel.


Brochi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
itsagift said...

Thanks for this post. It is so powerful. I agree that this is something to work on, to really feel another person's pain and cry as if it is your own.

May we be zoche soon to have our hearts of stone replaced with a heart of flesh, a heart that truly cares about one another-and by then we will be sharing in other peoples happy times instead of sharing and feeling in their pain!

Staying Afloat said...

So timely. We recently had a death in our community, and I kept thinking about how many levayahs I've been to for young people. I was wondering if I had any tears left.

I did. I think it's about ahavas chinam, because if I look at a tragedy as happening to someone I really care about, it's going to strike me differently. But you're right- not always. We have to have defenses so we can manage.

Your post reminds me of that pasuk- I'm blanking where it's from, exactly- "U'mal es levavchah", or something like that.

Food for though for me. Thank you.

aminspiration said...

Yes, we have been hardened but it seems to me that the reason we have such a difficult time crying is because it is so far removed from us. When something personally difficult happens to us, we cry, we feel the pain. Why? Bcz it hits home for we relate to it. This is one of the greatest tragedies of tsha bav that we dont even know what it is that we have lost in order to mourn it properly.

Feivel ben Mishael said...

I don't understand the "so we can greet moshiach on tuesday" comment??

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