Left with ourselves and God

Elizabeth Hersh is Senior Rabbi at Temple Emanuel (TE), and a blogger on the Jewish Light’s website (stljewishlight.com).   Joel Iskiwitch and John DeMott, authors of the  “What can you do?”  sidebar, are congregants at TE.

By Rabbi Elizabeth Hersh

Do you ever feel sorry for yourself? I was in a terrible state of self-pity when I confided my grumpiness to a friend. He said I might as well feel sorry for myself as no one else was going to do it for me. How accurate! The light bulb went off in my befuddled brain. Why would anyone feel sorry for me? Nevertheless, these are my feelings and I am going to own them until they move to another place.

In the same week I was sharing this with a friend whose insight I greatly respect. In the end, she said, we are left with ourselves. Maybe, I would add with ourselves and God. As much as I wish someone would completely understand my feelings, no one can. The emotions are left for me to work through, perhaps by turning to a greater source.

It brought to mind my individual responsibility to own my feelings and to travel to a place of inner peace. Most friends or acquaintances cannot comprehend why we feel a particular way so how can we expect them to share empathy or even sympathy.

One of the greatest gifts we can endow in our children or families is to build a relationship with the Divine. God is one who is ever-present, non-judgmental and abounding in unconditional love. Those are the attributes I need in order to leave the self-pity behind me. Yet, while I know this to be true, God is not necessarily the first place I turn. I have learned an invaluable lesson. God is in all emotions.

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