Monday, October 02, 2006

The Rabbi's Daughter, God and Yom Kippur

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The Rabbi's Daughter, God and Yom Kippur
© (2006) The Rabbi's Daughter

Yom Kippur is the Shabbat of Shabbats. Many people know it as the day of atonement. A day of fasting and prayers. They say Yom Kippur is the day of the year that Jews from all over the world who normally don't observe any other holiday or tradition usually refrain from work, fast and go to shul (synagogue).

This is the day Jews atone for the sins they have made between themselves and God. The judgment is entered into the book of life, and sealed. Today is essentially your last chance for an appeal. The last chance you have to change the judgment, to demonstrate your repentance and make amends with God.

I am an incest survivor. My father is a rabbi and the hazzen (cantor) of a shul. I am extremely conflicted today. I am no longer observant. I no longer daven (pray), go to shul or keep kosher.

I was abused from a very young age until I moved away. In ways my abuse has continued because of what was taken from me. Because of my abuse I developed a dissociative identity disorder (DID). It's an extreme form of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Meaning I have split off parts of myself, which have taken on their own separate identities. An easy way to explain this is that I time-share my body with other parts inside me.

Yom Kippur is a day packed with events that trigger horrible memories. A day that I become extremely conflicted because of things that happened in my past. I wish I could find a mentally safe way to go to shul and daven as most others, yet I am still in a place that doing so causes severe flashbacks.

I love the melodies sung at Yom Kippur services, yet when I hear them I can only hear my father's voice playing in my head. This is a man who would rape me. He took so much from me each and every time he entered my bed. My father was and still is a hypocrite. To his congregation he is a holy man. A man that they honor and respect. My father is a man who is loved by those in his community. Someone no one wants to believe would take the soul away from his own child.

I am an outcast. Someone seened as being mentally ill. I am someone who has been shunned because I spoke out about my abuse. I let people know I was in therapy. A shameful thing to do if you are from the world of my childhood.

Please understand I am on the path of healing. I have regained so much over the last several years. I am very much loved by the new family I had to create. I am able to do so many things that used to cause me so much pain. Yet, I am still not in a place where I can be in shul or follow the laws that a Torah observant person would adhere to. I have not found a way that I can daven without a great deal of distress. I often question why God would allow my father to do what he did to me? I often wonder why anyone would call God loving? I have trouble separating God from my father. It's very difficult for me to want to atone for my sins to a God I blame for making me into an incest survivor. I've asked several rabbis to help me understand, yet none were willing to. They know my father and don't want to hear the lashon hara. I am alone today and in pain. The tears of conflict and pain feel so endless. My heart aches for some sort of understanding.

8 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your father doesn't own Judaism, and neither do these rabbis you're talking to. There are people with integrity out there. You just have to find them.

You don't have to be in a rush to get back to shul. This isn't the end. It's a new beginning. You will be able to approach Judaism all over again if you want to eventually, and make it yours. But not today. Today is for you to shore up more support for yourself.

-Eisgrau's least favorite son in law
(hereafter to be known as H)

October 02, 2006 3:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the Rabbi's Daughter; I am still a conversion candidate because my abuser had said he could marry me only if I became Jewish, and then found a convenient way out of the commitment. I found out later that this has been a lifelong pattern for him.

I too struggle daily with conflicted feelings about Judaism and have suffered to the point of hospitalization for near suicide. Even a brief relationship with someone who manipulates your soul in the name of G-d is very damaging and is considered "spiritual rape." I can hardly bear to imagine what you must be experiencing after a lifetime of such abuse.

On Yom Kippur I attended my abuser's service and sat in the second row, to prove to myself that he cannot take this from me. I have not seen him for nearly a year.

I can't imagine what strength it must take for you to live with such an awful truth about your father. It is okay to ask G-d why. It is okay to demand His help to make it right so that you can have peace in your heart. And it is okay if I never formally convert, as long as I am being true to my beliefs.

Just think of what you are giving to all of us out here, struggling daily to make some sense of this experience, by telling your story. My heart goes out to you and I will keep you in my prayers that this is the year you find the greatest healing.

October 02, 2006 10:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It wasn't until I left the community that supported my abuse that I was able to start coming back to a Jewish community. Don't worry about practicing Judaism in the "traditional way." We all have our own paths to follow and you and your new family will follow yours.

Just realize that no group of people "speak" for all of Judaism. Like people everywhere, there are the good and bad. You don't have to align yourself with unsavory people to identify with Judaism. You will eventually find what you need. Take your time and go slowly.

Best of luck on your healing. It sounds like you are on a good road.

October 03, 2006 6:03 AM  
Blogger Bunya3Ruth said...

You are showing great courage towards healing by writing of your experience. I too am an incest survivor. My father abused me, my gradfather abused his daughters. Yet, I have memories of being in shul with my Zada, and finding healing in the prayers and music. Today, I love the healing in the prayers. There is much more to Judiasm than your father. Allow yourself to find a new community ..without the history of your father...and just be. Write about what is happening within your soul. Let others learn from you.
ana elnah refanah la
God Please heal her now.
B'shalom

October 03, 2006 12:24 PM  
Anonymous Shana said...

Firstly, let me mention what a great forum this is to be able to respond to your story and read other's responses as well. Fantastic. Might I be so bold to write: Baruch Hashem!
I too will remain 'somewhat' anonymous even though we have now recently spoken face to face.
I am not a incest survivor, however I too am a survivor of the deepest kind of spiritual attack and can empathize with your pain.
There is so very much I would like to write, but it is Very late and I am still partially recovering from Yom Kippur.
Let me state this again, I am recovering. I am recovering from Yom Kippur, from exposing some of my soul in Shul, from facing some of the memories we can relate with, from the wear and tear on my physical body from not eating or sleeping, but most of all from the recovery itself, the healing which my soul has received. It wasn't easy and yes it was painful at times, but as with any operation or serious recovery a person Will encounter discomfort.
I do not agree that this is a time to wait, that you are not ready to heal.
Like a "recovering" alcoholic it isn't easy and may require baby steps (12 steps). However, Don't Give Up. You are a survivor, so I know that you have the strength, and You Are Not Alone.
Here is a little confession>
At one point I had to take myself to a remote back area of the shul I atended to complete the Viduy with me, myself and I. We were fighting some of it, it was intense. I cryed, broke down a good bit and had to regain myself and go on, but I did it. Something inside of me pushed me forward. I had to stop and start several times, but at the end there was a release, a sense of accomplishing a feat of regaining a part of me which was twisted and tormented. It was very late when I finally completed my mission but it truly felt like a new dawn.
Understand, I didn't just read the passages, I got deep, very deep and sought each and every demonic connection I could find. Heal thy self, with G-d's help you can do it! I too left the faith for a long while. I wasn't running, but I was searching. I've been trying to recover for a long time, funny how I am now finding the tools to not only fix my soul, but to grow and rise far higher than if I had not gone through this at all. I am a Balas Teshuvah do you know what that means. Our process is truly a
metamorphosis of the highest spiritual formulation. I'm doing it. You must learn how to overcome your fears and face the demons. You are no longer a little girl.
Everything happens for a reason to direct us closer to G-d. The more horrific your demons are, the higher you will rise when you win the fight. We can and deserve to do better than just survive. G-d loves you so Very, VERY much. You are closer to him than most, you just have large obstacles to endure.
Please know, G-d is not in the physical, so why would you think anything less than a most serious spiritual climb to reach HIM. Out of the darkness, through Hell, return home and go within yourself as deep as you can because Hashem is there waiting to bless you more than you can imagine.
We are part of the same tribe. Our Torah tells us story upon story of other's who have done what I am suggesting. Jacob's family sold him for G's sake. Look at Abraham, Moses ++++++++++++++
We learn about them from our physical realm, not what was going on with their soul, deep within and how they personally endured and overcame what I am suggesting.
Well, enough now. I hope I have shed a little light. I too will be praying for you. You are so very close. It is hard, this is why we are here. Your writing shows how much you want to break through. I am happy knowing how close you are.

October 04, 2006 8:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I think of ever stepping into a a shul or saying a prayer written by "our rabbis", I just want to vomit. I can't help but think of what happened to me when I tried to get help. When I went to them and told them about my parents. Yes, I also hold my mother accountable. She was aware of what happened to me and did nothing.

I can no longer hold what our rabbis say is holy as holy. Did you ever watch the movie "The Village"? It's out on video now. Well that's the same way I see our rabbis. I'm not attacking Judaism or God. I am attacking the unethical behavior of the men who call themselves rabbis.

October 04, 2006 8:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shana,
Are you messianic? What you write sounds like you are or were and still struggling with Judaism?

October 04, 2006 9:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm going through the same thing. I was sexually abused for many years in Yeshivah, from age 13, and no one did anything to prevent the pedophiles. I told my parents and they did nothing. I told one of the rabbis and he called me a liar.

My father is a well-known Orthodox rabbi who can do no wrong. I have been diagnosed wtith PTSD and possibly DID. The only difference between us is I'm a guy, my father did not abuse me and I was baptised.

October 10, 2006 9:37 PM  

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