|Life Lessons: The Lone Tree: Alone But Not Alone|
|Written by The Heileger Chana Chaya|
Our community is so fortunate and blessed. Those who attend Shabbos services listen to announcements filled with wonderful news along with opportunities to support each other in tough times.
Siman tov and Mazal Tov……..Mazal Tov to Mr. & Mrs. Greenberg (not the real name) who had, yet, another grandchild.
Mazalotv to Mr. & Mrs Smith who are marrying off their daughter.
Congratulations to Dr. and Mrs. Abramowitz who are having another simcha.
Mazal-Tovs announced in shul on Shabbos are more in number than one can count.
There are couples in our congregation who have had their ninth, tenth, and even twenty-fifth grandchild.
Homes display family photos that look the size of a high school graduating class.
I am happy and honored to be a part of such people and their families. I love connecting with the people.
Yet, I can’t help but notice how different it is for so many of the clients with whom I am blessed to work in my alternative medicine practice. The contrast is huge. I ponder how they would feel hearing all those Mazal-Tov’s, while not believing it can yet still hoping it will, happen for them.
Those who walk alone….
Those who suffer from maladies that build energetic walls, which disconnect them from themselves, and from the warmth of friendship and relationship. It’s not just about now, but it is how the past is viewed and how the future is anticipated.
Those who walk alone within and without, those on the autism spectrum, and those not on the spectrum, and those whose ability to verbally process limits relationships… and those who think brilliantly, but are not able to express that in fluent speech … and those who are inundated with and distracted by voices and/or visions, and those whose great sensory sensitivity makes it painful to be touched, or to listen.
Of all those clients, I have never met one who did not want to be in relationship, who did not want friends, who did not want to date, to marry, and to have children. I never met one who did not want the life that they see “everyone else” has and that they think everyone has.
And what about those of us who are widowed, or divorced, or never been married, despite great effort. And those who have not been blessed with children of their own? How do they feel when hearing such announcements? What are they thinking?
I too have felt like the lone tree, with no roots, and hardly any branches. But that story is for another time.
It is for who feel like the lone tree, those who feel unconnected, that I share my own learning... for myself, and for the holy people with whom I work.
I think about some of my favorite biblical heroes. I learn that the feeling of being the lone tree is that of being rooted in Avraham. Avraham Avinu was the lone tree.
Yitzchak was for sure a loner, as was Rivka, his wife who received prophecy. Yakov was alone when he found God standing over him telling him that He will give the land to him and his descendants (Genesis 28:13).
Yoseph was a loner in that he was different from everyone, even his brothers. He was ostracized, the epitome of being alone, and thought to be left alone to die.
Moshe was alone, a lone shepherd when he heard the voice of God Himself.
Even non-Jewish religions portray those who they believe spoke with God as having been alone at the time of the conversation.
It makes me wonder if aloneness is a prerequisite for growing oneself and connecting to the Almighty.
It is only the Jewish people who heard God when they were with each other, not alone, but it was too much to take in and so they asked to be excused from the experience.
When I re-examined some of the writings of the Ramchal and then I learned about his life, I got another perspective on the concept of “alone.”
(The following insights are based on learning with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg, Shlita)
This great man, Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto, lived much of his life alone, but not in loneliness.
It was the year 1743. The Ramchal had just emigrated from Amsterdam to Eretz Yisroel with his wife and son. They traveled alone, just the three of them. Can we even conceive that someone as great as the Ramchal had no one with him? The fact is that anyone who participated with him was burned and their families destroyed.
Today, any big Rosh Yeshiva who travels to Eretz Yisroel, will have 50 people escorting him on the plane. Here, the Ramchal was one of the giants of the world going to Eretz Yisroel and he traveled alone, with his wife and son.
The Ramchal moved to Israel during the last year of the Ohr HaChaim’s life, like a last chance for them to meet - In this world.
Each admired the work of the other. They planned a meeting. The Ramchal was to travel alone from Akko to Yerushalayim for that meeting. But, Rabbi Weinberg shares, the Ramchal became ill after the shiva of his wife and his son, who died in a plague. And so he was not able to make the meeting.
Had that meeting taken place, each, the Ramchal, and the Ohr HaChaim, would have attended alone. Imagine two such greats going to meet. Rabbi Weinberg explains that it is believed that Shemayim stopped them from meeting, for it would have shaken the foundation of the world. Imagine each going to meet the other, and each traveling alone.
The power of going “alone.” Shemayim did not let the meeting happen because of how it would change the way the world was, perhaps before it was ready.
The power that had to be stopped by Heaven was in the power of the Ramchal going it alone.
It was in the power of the lone person on a journey from Akko to Yerushalayim.
The power of our own journey, from where we are to where we want to go, to where the Almighty wants us to strive to be. That journey takes place alone, alone with the Almighty.
Had the Ramchal had a group of people around him, Heaven would have permitted him a meeting with the Ohr HaChaim because that meeting would be with the public figure.
It was not the public, rather the alone Ramchal, who could bring the Geula (Redemption). The alone Ramchal was the person who had the piercing clarity to do exactly what was right. He approached things from the framework that there is a derech hashem (way of God) and he wanted to emulate that by walking his mesillat yesharim (upright path) and that is the basis of everything. The Ramchal taught that when we choose to do that, it becomes the only choice we have to make.
The people who walk alone from Akko to Yerushalyim.
It is not those who make the big production or who have a large following that will bring the redemption. That is why Moshiach (The Messiah) is always described as a silent, lonely person. Yeshua (Salvation) does not come from the people who have a large following. Yeshua comes from the people who know how to walk it alone.
How can we know how to walk it alone, if we never experience the times of being alone? And so the challenge of being alone, the challenge of being a lone tree, instead of being a source of pain, becomes a blessing, an opportunity.
Is it possible that those I work with, who walk alone, are even more powerful and even more connected to the Almighty? Does the greatness that I clearly see in them come from their aloneness?
And so I must realize that even when family does not connect with me, even when others don’t accept my efforts to befriend them, even when I am not invited, even when people respond to me as if I am invisible, even when the alone times are so much longer than the moments of connection, I have to know that these are the times of the greatest, deepest inner growth.
The people who walk alone from Akko to Yerushalyim. That journey takes place alone, alone with the Almighty.
Yes, we walk alone, but not really alone. For myself, I know that this is my journey, specially mapped out for what I need in order to do my best growth, in order to prepare me for the rest of the path ahead. Even when I walk alone, I know there is the Almighty holding me up and staying with me, assuring me that I am never really alone, giving me opportunity to be the best that I am able. The path is different for each of us, the path to our best growth.
The people who walk alone from Akko to Yerushalyim….
Copyright © 2011 Chana Klein