Essay: Rabbi Yanky Raskin, LMSW | Video: Shaya Sussman, LCSW
On Being Alone
“He [the Metsorah/leper] shall dwell alone — his dwelling shall be outside the camp.”—Vayikra 13:46
“What is [Moshiach’s] name?” … “The leper of the house of Rabbi [Yehuda HaNasi] is his name.”— The Talmud, Sanhedrin 98b
Even as we are forced into quarantine, we (at times) continue to act and enact behaviors, so that we do not experience the experience of being alone.
We binge watch, smoke, drink. Worry, fear, obsess over the news, etc. Whatever it takes to escape being with Self.
Where are we running? Why is it so hard to be with ourselves?
Well, we think, I am nothing to write home about; perhaps we think of what we have done, or some of our tendencies, our desires, or various behaviors we engage with to this day. There is discomfort and dis-ease when we think about Self. I can tolerate anyone else…
But what if we go deeper, and we discover another layer and perception of this discomfort and dis-ease.
What if right beneath the layer of discomfort lies a potential waiting to burst forth and express a perfect soul in motion?
What if the pain and discomfort is our mourning that this Self has yet to emerge, what if the fear is of the power we have buried right beneath a thin layer of leprosy/ugliness?
Perhaps it isn’t our smallness we fear to sit alone with, but our greatness.
This Shabbos dare to be alone. Dare to be with yourself. Run, but not outward, only inward.
This Shabbos dare to entertain that there is a part of us that stands alone, due to its greatness. For there is something that you alone can share with this world.