Pekelach

Sometimes we look at someone and think, “I wish I could be like so-and-so.”  Or, “So-and-so is so lucky.  I wish my life would be like that.”  A person who seems like they have it all may in reality be secretly harboring terrible tzuras of their own, be it serious illness, familial, financial or legal problems.  The truth is, everyone has their “peckelach” (burdens).   When we see people in a particular situation, be it good or bad, we are never seeing the whole picture.  How many times have we thought, “Wow, I’m shocked – – such a nice family! I don’t understand how such a terrible thing happened!”  when we hear of troubles of one sort or another.   The truth is, we can never know what goes on behind closed doors.  This is slightly less true in Israel, where there is less privacy and people tend to live very densely.  But in America, where people dwell in single-family homes and/or have much less of an “open door” policy in their relationships with friends and neighbors, we really have no idea what is going on in someone else’s life.  The reality is, if we really saw a complete picture of another person’s life, we would never trade our own peckelach for theirs.  It is difficult to fathom the depths of another’s suffering.  So many seemingly robust people who are surrounded by friends, family, and financial security are sick, unhappy, lonely, frustrated or overwhelmed. Irrespective of what your “yichus” (pedigree) is, everyone has family dramas, soap operas, and skeletons in their closets.

Since beginning this blog, I have lost count of the number of people who have written me, saying “I have fantasized about making a major change in my life for many years.”  Many people are not necessarily in need of a drastic change; they simply need time off to de-stress.  I consider “time off”  different from “vacation.”  Our move to Maine has opened a floodgate of heartache, as readers of this blog have shared with me the tremendous challenges faced by them in their relationships with others, mostly family.  There is so much anger, resentment, and fatigue out there.  Out of respect to their privacy, I will not share their stories here.  Perhaps if you are reading this, you are thinking, “Oh, she’s talking about me.”  I am not singling you out.  Unfortunately, “you” are one of many.

I recently checked out a book from the library, entitled “Let Go Now: Embracing Detachment” by Karen Casey. It’s one of the most “Jewish” non-Jewish books I’ve ever read.  I am not a fan of pop psychology or self-help books, but this one is a winner.  If you can go through it slowly, and actualize some of the suggestions, it might help a little bit.

3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Rachel on December 25, 2010 at 4:44 pm

    Just want to mention that pekalach isn’t just the burdens, its each person’s whole package which includes the good and the bad

    Reply

  2. R,
    You are so right.

    Reply

  3. It is so true. I know someone extremely well, and what everyone around her sees is quite different from reality. To someone who doesn’t know her, she has it all. Beauty, brains, talent, charisma, family, friends, etc. – and in tremendous doses, thank God. Like what Rachel said above, pekalach is not only the burdens, but the whole package. I wonder how many people who peer jealously at her out of the corners of their eyes, and whisper that God just loves some people more than others, would take the good in her life if it came along with the enormous difficulties and challenges, the pain and suffering that she has had to endure.
    And yet, at the same time, knowing that as clearly as I do, I still look over my shoulder sometimes, as well. I think it is a human trait, and one that we all have to work on.

    Reply

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