Oct 4, 2011

The Fingerprint of HaShem

Clouds rolling in over the mountains in Centennial, Colorado. 
Something funny happens when you get divorced. At least it did to me. While visiting home in Lincoln, Nebraska, I was tempted with the urge to throw it all away. To go out to my favorite treif (not kosher) restaurant. To just throw all caution and devotion the wind and give it all up.

But it was fleeting. Incredibly fleeting.

My dad lamented that he couldn't take me out to eat, and I managed to find some kosher meat at the local Trader Joe's and made some meatballs and brussels sprouts. I was content. I stood my ground. I stood up to the inclination to give everything up.

And then something else funny happened.

I joined Frumster.com, a frum Jewish dating site. Yes, I've only been divorced for a few weeks, but something in me said "find a husband already! You're not a spring chicken! You want a family! Find a super frum guy to guide you! You're a converted divorcee, you're going to have to work hard to find a husband!" I found myself looking only at the men in black hats and beards -- there's something dashing about a Lubavitcher or devotee of Hassidus. Something that says, "Wholly devoted to HaShem, wife, family, Torah, life." It's too soon.

I know what you're thinking: Chavi's gone off the deep end. She's going to become a Lubavitcher and start praising the rebbe as mashiach or something. (PS: I love Lubavitchers.)

The funny thing that happens when your life stops and starts again in a new place with a new haircut and new people is that you're tempted -- in good ways and bad. Throwing it all away, taking up the uber-frum torch. And every day is a challenge. Every day I wake up after a sleepless night and think to myself "Who am I? What has become of me? What does HaShem want from me?"

Clearly, I guess, I'm not ready. I'm not ready to move on, but I'm tired of being here. I mourned my marriage for six or nine months, give or take, and the fatigue of feeling alone has worn me down. I have already made many good friends here in Denver, and I absolutely adore the community. I love being able to see the mountains no matter where I am or where I'm going. It's like witnessing the fingerprint of HaShem every moment of every day.

And the uncovering of my hair? Well, I'll admit to you all that it isn't what it's cracked up to be. Maybe it's just that the girl who cut it didn't do a good job or something, but I feel like I'm trying to step back and be someone I'm not. I'm trying to go backward when all I can do is move forward. A marriage changes you, relationships change you. And yes, it changes your hair and how you feel about it, too. I chose to uncover because according to Rav Moshe Feinstein, there is a leniency for young women without children, especially when they relocate to a new community. I asked one of the rabbis on the beth din of the get (divorce), and he advised me to uncover, so I thought, score! Uncovering! Hair liberation! But after you've covered, it's just not the same. As much as I kvetched about hair covering, I miss the ease of throwing on a hat. My head is plenty cooler on a hot day, but I don't know that that alone is worth it. I'm sure I'll write plenty more about my hair covering, and I'll give you the various sources for uncovering after divorce -- stay tuned.

So where am I? I have no idea. I really want to find a nine-to-five gig so that I can have a reason to wake up in the morning and do something with myself. Right now I feel a little lost. I need to get back into parshah study and learning, because I know that there is something that HaShem wants and needs of me, I just don't know what it is.

I guess we're all waiting for our sign.


{ T G L } said...

Dear Chavi,

I wish you all the best in your journey and thank you for blogging so openly about your challenges and temptations.


Redacted said...

My divorce was long before I even considered conversion, but I still remember that feeling. There was freedom and a relief, but also a painful scar there. It took a long time to heal and even today, in a new relationship, in a life that doesn't resemble anything I left behind, there are moments when I feel the subtle twinge of that pain again.

I can imagine the conflicting feelings at uncovering your hair. I think, for Jewish women, our hair becomes almost an outward reflection of our inward relationships. The changes in your life and your heart are visible there, in your hair.

I hope the fresh air and lighter head lead to new life and energy for both you and your hair in the months to come. And please, as one divorcee to another...don't jump back into the dating pool TOO quickly...take some time to heal and process all this. You deserve it.


Rebecca Einstein Schorr said...

Thinking of you...and marveling at the spiritual journey you are experiencing.

Sending you {{{hugs}}}

Chana said...

Hey, the fleeting temptation means that you are still *thinking* and *feeling*.

In the end, it will be good. And if it's not good, it isn't yet the end.

Anonymous said...
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Batya said...

Chavi, that's teshuva. We're supposed to do it every day. It's based on free will. Every move we make is a decision.
Hair-covering is a sign of marriage, or been married. Taking it off is a public statement of "annulment." May your next marriage be the right one with children, G-d willing.
Shannah Tovah, Gmar Chatimah Tovah

Anonymous said...


Don't rush into anything. There will be time enough for dating.

The honesty you've expressed here is impressive. I wish you a L'shana Tova and all the success in the next year.

the rabbi's wife said...

The same thing happened for my DH when his first marriage fell apart. He wanted that Philly cheesesteak, the bacon cheeseburger, etc. it's so funny how food seems like the first thing you'd chuck after a life-changing event like this. Just the comfort aspect, I guess, the familiar. As someone who Fiddled around with Kashrut a lot before going full bore, I can tell you, going back isn't like you remember. it's not as good. Even Bacon. I promise.

Although my comfort food now is yummy, yummy nachos. They're even GF! I plan on making a LOT when we come to the states next. Good mexican ingredients are still hard to find in Israel

Chaviva Gordon-Bennett said...

@TGL Thank you sooo much. Shana Tova!

@Redacted It's so weird how I spent so long mourning my marriage that when it actually happened it was almost completely numb. Like it had been over for a long time. The fresh air is blowing very hard today, so it's doing me good. And never fear, I won't dive into the deep end. I'm in the shallow end for now, figuring out who I am and what I need/want.

@FrumeSarah Todah rabah!!! *hugs*

@Chana Amen, amen.

@DenverYid So funny that I didn't make the connection that this was you, lol. Thank you so much for the kind words! I added you to my blog roll :)

@Batya You're right, it is. So I'm doing some SERIOUS teshuva right now ... yipes. G'mar chatima tovah to you! Shana tova v'tzom qal!

@Sheldan I know, I know. I pride myself on honesty. This blog is my baby, my soul splashed on virtual paper.

@TheRabbisWife I didn't know he'd been married before! That's insight. He's such a mensch. Luckily, I never liked bacon. What I really wanted was french fries and a bowl of soup from my favorite place. Oddly, not super treify things, but treif none the less :) When are you coming to the states next? Need me to mail you some Mexi-food? Because you KNOW I will.

Aliza "La Jewminicana" Hausman said...

I know a lot about being lost. Just when I decided to convert and felt like I'd found myself, I got sick for life and felt like I'd lost myself again and it's been years of trying to find myself and who I am as a disabled person who needs to be dependent on so many other people but still doesn't have the right support system.

I'm glad you have some people out there for you because that's a big help when you're lost. If you're around the right people then being lost can be an interesting thing. It has taken me to dreams I thought I'd lost forever. It has allowed me to help people I wouldn't have otherwise met. It has helped me tell my life story, something I was forced my violence to keep secret for 17 years.

It's hard being lost but I think there's a purpose to it. I hope you find that 9 to 5 gig. I know so many women who have gotten divorced and had a handful of kids and no way to support them and it sucks. My mother was one of them.

You will be in my prayers. I hope you find yourself. I hope you find your way. I hope that in doing so, you continue to be you. Whatever changes you've made or will make, I truly believe you'll still Chaviva.

Aliza "La Jewminicana" Hausman said...

Also, statistically, most men get remarried within 2 years. For whatever reasons, women don't. If you want to start getting out there, that's nobody's business but your own. We don't know how long you've been mourning your marriage or what went down. Only you do. And only you will know if you're ready to take that plunge or if you just want to stick a toe in and see what happens.

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