On the Jewish calendar, this morning marked the morning I got up from Shiva 3 years ago. On the Gregorian calendar that happens tomorrow. It will hopefully mark the end of a period of intense self-reflection that I have gone through every December for the last 3 years. It is a time of emotionally reliving memories; both the incredibly painful ones, as well as happy ones. It is also a time of year for celebrating how far I have come and creating new happy memories.
2 years ago, I wrote a post about how December 31st would be a sad day for
the rest of my life. Then this year, on December 31st, I found
myself at a wedding for one of my cousins. I felt the love from the baalei
simcha who have always been super caring towards me. At the family table I felt
proud to be part of my family as the various family members connected the dots
of my family tree. They could only see my family as a complete family because
they were people I have been related to for my entire life or in 2 cases for
their entire lives.
During this intense emotional time period, I couldn't help but to relate to
the story of Yosef that is read during the same time of year. He went through tough
times from the death of his mother as a young boy, to having his brother seeing
him as a threat that sent him on the path to slavery and eventually jail.
Through it all he managed to overcome every challenge rising to the 2nd most
powerful person in all of Egypt. At the end of the journey, he saved his entire
family. In the merit of overcoming such difficult challenges he did what only
his father had done. His children would also be the heads of their own Shvatim
(Tribes). His father's blessing to his children are the same blessing that
father's give to their sons on Friday night.
Once the complete story is revealed to all, there is another angle that
doesn't always get noticed. Yosef made every effort to show that he showed no
ill will towards his brothers. Time and again we see that the brothers are
skeptical that perhaps Yosef has been biding his time to take out his just
payback. He could never truly unite his brothers into one cohesive
My life has changed so much over the last 3 years. I have changed so much
during that time. I have made myself a better person. Although, technically I
have a blended family, at its core, we are one cohesive unit.
With those around me, I often feel like I have the same struggles as Yosef.
Some have accepted my family as a complete family and others haven't. Some see
our family as Channah and I and then Peri and Shlomo, with a very clear divide,
while others see us in varying permutations. I find it very hard to
relate to those who can't see my family as a single unit. The hardest is trying
to figure out where I am holding with those who don't make it clear. I also realize that in most cases the
different permutations may be in part my fault.
Over the last number of weeks, I have seen clear examples of why I love this
community so much. I have witnessed people reach the highest levels of chesed,
while in the same breath have also seen the opposite, which saddens me to see.
I am looking forward to moving this summer to a new community who will only
see my family as the complete unit that it is. I believe that it is a huge step
to help in making our own happiness. A step to being accepted for who I am
instead of what once was.