Thursday, April 2, 2015

...From Egypt, to the Desert, to Israel...From Trauma Victim, to Surviving, to Thriving!

...From Egypt, to the Desert, to Israel...
From Trauma Victim, to Surviving, to Thriving!

As a nation we are trauma survivors. 
Hashem shows us through the story of Yetziat Mitzrayim how trauma affects us, as individuals and as a nation. 

 We are commanded to remember every day that we were slaves in Egypt.  Hashem knows, that when we don't remember, acknowledge, and talk about our traumas, we are doomed to repeat them.
As victims, we tend to minimize, rationalize, forget, deny...and then repeat.
Therefore, we are commanded by the Torah to remember, to discuss, and to own our trauma, to own our past and , to own our recovery.  We are commanded to acknowledge that it is Hashem who walks us out of an abusive situation, into the desert of recovery.
Therapy after trauma takes a long time.
As a nation it took us forty years.
Recovery is full of mistakes, and acting out, and consequences.  We complained, we whined, we wanted to go back to Mitzrayim, because at least it was familiar.
At least there, we knew what to expect.
In Mitzrayim, among our abusers, we had an identity. 
 We were slaves.
 In the aftermath we rejected the truth in front of our eyes and worshiped a golden calf.  We denied and ignored reality.
  As victims, we were so busy defending against real and imagined threats we could not introspect.  We could not look at our world honestly.  Victims can not acknowledge any weakness, lest it be taken advantage of by real and perceived perpetrators.
As trauma victims leaving Mitzrayim we struggled to make sense of what happened to us.  We forgot and we still forget, that we are being held by God.  We deny that our every need was, and still is, being cared for.
God understood, and understands that trauma survivors, as individuals and as a nation, are needy, immature, and confused.  We are struggling for a sense of identity.  Who are we, if not victims?  What happened to us?  Was it really so bad?  Maybe abuse was better than this lonely and confusing desert of recovery.
Mitzvah L'saper. 
 God wants us to talk about it. 
 Even if talking exposes our family's and communities, mistakes and embarrasses us. 
Surviving and getting to Israel took a lot longer than we thought it would. Trust was a major issue.  We struggled to trust Moshe and even to trust God. 
Yet, we survived the years in the dessert as difficult as they were.
We did get to Eretz Yisrael.
But It was not without tremendous struggle and tremendous loss. Many didn't make it.
Without God, we could never have survived.  It was God, who took us out, who saved us, and loved us unconditionally as we healed as a nation.
It is God, in every generation who takes us out of abusive situations, who loves us unconditionally, in spite of our mistakes, and who holds us, and provides for our every need, as we wander sometimes for years on end in the confusing, hot, and lonely desert of recovery.
Mitzvah L'saper.  Talking about Trauma is the secret of our survival as individuals and as a nation,
 then, now, and always.