White cup with the word 'begin' on it, to link to the idea of judaism purpose of life

As seems to happen every single time I get a book out, the last week or so I’ve suddenly ‘flopped’ energetically and lost sight of what the real purpose of life is.

True, my nocturnal teenagers aren’t helping things any, but the truth is that even when they haven’t been at home, I’ve still been having troubles sleeping and staying focused.

And this is has been going on for months and months.

It was sparked off by ‘the comfort zone’ – that period of time before I was getting on with One in a Generation #2 when I felt like a total waste of space in the world, just comfortably spinning my wheels.

I had enough food on the table, I could buy some new paints and watercolour paper, a roof over my head, I could petrol in the car (which let me tell you, is getting increasingly miraculous, as what used to cost 170 shekels to fill up a small car now costs double.)

I could even buy the odd frock for chag – nirvana.

But I was finding it harder and harder to get out of bed. I still had stuff to do, stuff to write, stuff to clean, stuff to get on with. But it’s like the oomph disappeared out of my life, and I got a terrifying glimpse into the world of early retirement.

I know that retiring at 55 and jet-setting around the world with your cashmere sweater casually knotted over your shoulders is meant to be the pinnacle of ‘happiness’ in our world, but let me tell you – it’s a lie.

A total lie.

(Not that I have a cashmere sweater, or a cruise booked, but the few days I spent driving up to the coast, and over to places like the art shop in Ranaana was enough to show me that all that traveling around / holiday stuff is totally over-rated.) And it’s definitely not the purpose of life, according to Judaism.

What makes life enjoyable is knowing why you’re alive, what your purpose is, what you are putting out into the world and why – particularly on the spiritual side of things.

Holidays and ‘down times’ are useful to sandwich those times together, but as I write this, I realise that this is what makes Shabbat such a gift: If a person keeps Shabbat in the spirit it’s meant to be kept, it really is a holiday for the soul and a balm for the spirit. That 25 hours of kedusha refreshes much more than even a month on a cruise going around the Bahamas.

Anyway, the point is: I got a dose of early retirement, and it drove me completely bonkers and made me feel soooo pointless and miserable.

We are here to work.

We are here to do things. To fix things. To attempt things. To improve. To challenge ourselves to become better and better people.

That realization sparked off a flurry of activity to get One in a Generation out before Pesach – but now, I’ve flopped again.

Why?

Because I realized this morning in my talking to God session, that I’m lacking focus in my life. I sit here continuing to churn things out and to write things, without really knowing why. I’m not talking about ‘monetizing the site’, or anything gashmius like that (although there is nothing wrong with making money if that is your job and role in life. Just doesn’t seem to be my job or role in life, at this point, but then I’m a woman with a small family, not the breadwinner for a large brood.)

Baruch Hashem.

But, the point is – I need a focus and a strongly-defined purpose.

I need to stop running after all the chimeras and to actually sit down and figure out what it is I’m doing in my life, and why – across the board. And the bloke also needs to do that, too.

There is so much confusion, so much smoke, so much madness in the world, and it’s just spinning faster and faster and faster. I can’t live like that, constantly chasing after ‘new’ and ‘exciting’.

I want to chase after ‘real’ and ‘meaningful’ – wherever it takes me.

And nothing else.

So, the next few weeks I will be re-evaluating how I’ve been spending my time. I think I want to pull out of a few of my side projects that have been ticking along the last couple of years, and to put more energy and focus into this website, amongst other things.

And, I want to put more energy into getting Breslov ideas, and Rav Berland’s teachings, out there more, because I see how much they’ve helped me in the past, and continue to help me every single day.

There’s a lot more to say, but these are the contour of my thoughts, at the moment.

The last thing to tell you is that I took my own advice from this post on marriage guidance, and yesterday I started lighting a candle a day for the hatzlacha of my husband. It’s just a small tealight, and I just spend half a minute asking God to bless the man with happiness, health and success, but I made a commitment to do that for 40 days in a row – and I’ll let you know how that turns out.

No prayer is ever wasted, of that I’m sure.

And right now, I just feel that we both need a lot of prayers. We all need a lot of prayers.

The world is going crazier and crazier.

And only the light of Rabbenu can guide us through it, and help us to hang on to the real purpose of being alive, at this point in time.

 

1 reply
  1. Rachel Erman
    Rachel Erman says:

    Thank you, Rivka, it’s a great post. Really got me thinking about the way I’m spending my time. And, speaking of getting more Breslov ideas across, I remember that you promised a while ago to repost the article about Rebbe Nachman and Aliya.

    Reply

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