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This Too Shall Pass
Tue, 10/22/2013 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week
Rabbi David Wolpe
Rabbi David Wolpe

Childhood, wrote George Eliot, is soothed by no memories of outlived sorrow.

One of the pains of youth is that we have not yet aged; we cannot imagine how much we will change, how our memories will reconfigure themselves, that this moment is not forever. As we grow, the accumulation of sorrows carries comfort: we have been sad, or hurt, or disappointed before and discovered that change is the one constant of life. As Solomon’s ring had it, this too shall pass.

Not only do we endure, we reshape the past to make it better. In the enchanting “One Hundred Years of Solitude,” Gabriel Garcia Marquez writes: “He was still too young to know that the heart’s memory eliminates the bad and magnifies the good, and that thanks to this artifice we manage to endure the burden of the past.”

Experience is not transferable. To say to a young person that this pain is fleeting, or you may even remember it with fondness, is a futile exercise; even if understood intellectually it can only be felt with the actual passing of time. So the young will grow, the old will preach and the great truths of life will be appreciated anew.

Rabbi David Wolpe  is spiritual leader of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles. Follow him on Twitter: @RabbiWolpe.

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It is not that easy. I am 72, and the injustice of humiliation, beatings and fear I suffered in childhood still hurts. When I asked my mother why she was so cruel, she said that life was cruel to her, so she chose me to vent her own anger on. My entire life was altered by her hatred, I could never reach my true potentials, could never love, live and act as I wanted. Only in adulthood, when I moved to the US, I was able to fulfill my dreams. I graduated from the university with high honor even though I started learning English at 36 y.o. I have daughters and granddaughters who are highly intelligent and successful. And yet I cry thinking how different my life could have been if I were born into a different family...

This Too Shall Pass... I can't even remember the many, many times I have said these four words of comfort for myself and others to save many heartaches. When one is young, they sometimes have lack of vision for tomorrow plus little patience. Thus, many have even taken their own lives, desperately. Then again these four little words have soothed away great pain for many to outlive the most difficult of times.

I am secular, but Rabbi Wolpe's teachings touch me.

I find Rabbi Wolpe's posts life changing and comforting. I'm old and have seen and done a lot....and finding a place like this to get solutions to my pain and long suffering helps quiet those tormenting voices. If only my renewing of my mind didn't require daily work.