When I was walking around London’s West End a few weeks’ ago, I was struck by how empty everything felt. The shops were full of unwearable clothes, the streets were full of unfriendly, stressed people who’d rather stab a fork into their own eyeball than smile at a stranger. The whole city just felt kind of tired and drained, like it had no more energy, no more ideas, no more koach (strength).
There’s a saying that when you’re tired of London, you’re tired of life. My twist on that is that when London itself feels tired to you, then the world really must be staggering around on its last legs.
But while it’s SO different in Jerusalem, in so many ways, there’s also that tired feeling going on here, too. So many shops closing down. So many unsold luxury flats. So many people hanging on to emuna and hope with their fingernails, praying that things are going to turn around soon.
This year is still so young, but Hashem kind of already showed me that in so many ways, I’ve gone as far as I can go under the current circumstances. To put things another way - I’m all out of energy these days. If things don’t come super easy, as mamash a gift from Heaven, then really they aren’t going to come at all.
Because I can’t nag any more, I can’t ‘focus’ anymore, some days I can’t read my own emails anymore, I often can’t even really try anymore, not even for the really big important stuff like Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur.
Rosh Hashana happened in a sort of blur, because I had my London-bound nervous breakdown a few days beforehand. Then Yom Kippur also happened in even more of a blur, as I had my ‘shiva on speed’ for three days in Liverpool where I barely ate, barely slept and spent the whole time burning through whatever supplies of adrenaline I still had left.
Dear reader, I mostly slept through Yom Kippur, and I barely prayed. Not only that, the only time I tried to pray with the community on Kol Nidrei night, I was in such a bad mood I honestly nearly punched someone in the face when they shoved me out of their way.
What a great start to the year!
We all know that before Moshiach shows up, the Gemara tells us that one trouble won’t end before the next one already begins.
My first post-Yom Kippur text was from a friend telling me their dad had just passed away. Then on Sunday, I got an email from the evil lawyers suing me for using a picture of Rav Berland on my site telling me that they ‘only’ want 5,000 shekels (which my husband decided to agree, to get it finished with.)
Then my husband got a message from his accountant that we had to start paying 6,000 shekels more a month in tax!!! I mean, are you kidding??
(Thank God, it turns out he’d got his figures wrong, so we do need to pay more tax, but not that much, BH.)
Then I heard some more shockingly disturbing news from someone else I’m acquainted with, got yet another ‘my parent just died unexpectedly’ email - and decided that I really just want to run away from it all and pull the duvet over my head until Moshiach shows up.
Let’s not even talk about the Vegas massacre, let’s not even mention the crazy geophysical phenomena going on, let’s not even dwell on the fact that my husband’s mother only passed away a week ago, but it already feels like a million years passed.
On top of all this, Jerusalem City Hall decided to dig up the beautiful garden by my flat, which means there is no parking to be had anywhere, plus a load of dust and noise - and now it’s also nearly Sukkot which means the seasonal traffic jams around the Old City are at their peak.
It took me half an hour of very slow circling around my neighborhood to find somewhere to park just now, and by the end of it all I just felt so tired and exhausted. I know that last thing is really nothing, shtuyot. But so many of those ‘every day’ moments seem to be falling into the ‘draining and soul-destroying’ category right now that it’s all contributing to the sense that modern life has just got too hard, too stressful, too heavy, too difficult to process internally, to continue on like this.
Ad matai, Hashem?
The short answer is: until Moshiach comes.
But when is that going to happen?