Give space to your sorrow

October 3, 2011

You must be able to bear your sorrow; even if it seems to crush you, you will be able to stand up again, for human beings are so strong, and your sorrow must become an integral part of yourself, part of your body and your soul, you mustn’t run away from it, but bear it like an adult…. Give your sorrow all the space and shelter in yourself that is its due, for if everyone bears his grief honestly and courageously, the sorrow that now fills the world will abate.

But if you do not clear a decent shelter for your sorrow, and instead reserve most of the space inside you for hatred and thoughts of revenge–from which new sorrows will be born for others–then sorrow will never cease in this world and will multiply. And if you have given sorrow the space its gentle origins demand, then you may truly say: life is beautiful and so rich. So beautiful and so rich that it makes you want to believe in God.

– from An Interrupted Life: The Diaries and Letters of Etty Hillesum 1941–1943. Etty Hillesum was a Dutch Jewish woman who died at Auschwitz, Poland in a German Nazi concentration camp.

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May it be Thy will, O Lord our God
and the God of our fathers,
to renew unto us this coming month
for good and for blessing.
O grand us long life, a life of blessing,
of sustenance, of bodily vigour,
a life marked by the fear of Heaven
and the dread of sin, a life free from shame and reproach;
a life in which the desires of our heart
shall be fulfilled for good.

– from A Book of Jewish Thoughts selected and arranged by the Chief Rabbi, Dr. J. H. Hertz, 1921