I hope you enjoy these fascinating, beautiful, moving, humorous, and diverse work from some of the Contemplative Writing Group 5 participants inspired by creative-writing prompts from Rebbe Nachman’s The Treasure and The Story of Trust/The Fixer. We’ll be offering more writing workshops after Pesach, IyH. You’re invited to join these and other talented women — Come express your unique psychospiritual self!
Chag Kasher v’Sameach.
Chaya Rivka Z.
Can we all be happy all the time?
We could if we wanted to; it’s just a matter of grabbing the wheel with determination and avoid those sharp curbs, just try to ” draw” a straightforward line between now and your purpose in life. Finding that mission will bring us joy.
The story of Trust is a story about Power and Resilience.
The eloquent blow behind the intention.
The power to become the unstoppable fixer , there are no closed doors for him.
The one that finds strength in knowing the divine intervention in our material world and connects with that flame that moves worlds.
The hurdles inflicted on us are the real shadow behind the fire; we are so vulnerable and yet the exposure will lead us onto our own next step.
Never too comfortable, we need to constantly renew our found happiness. That is the footprint we need to follow.
The contrasting decayed roof and the dancing notes of a violin; the sword that becomes the magnanimous forgiving component, due to the sharpness of a mind!!!
Happiness is so personal , so is depression.
I choose not to go to the dark corners, I want to stay in the center of fixing, in the responsibility of freedom.
We don’t know how strong we are until we take risks. G-d has given us the sword and the fallen roofs to be persistent with our beliefs.
We can try to find the solution to almost every stubborn unopened door; although let’s not loose sight of that airy window awaiting to be explored.
We need the persistence and unconditional Trust in G’d of this story’s universal Jew, the fixer, but also we acknowledge his constant internal flame inside, his own King , whose role will be at times, to dance and feast with him and at different juncture, he will be defining the next sharp curb to throw on his way.
That is life, isn’t it? The eternal equilibrium of so many moving parts!
What is joy?
A key word in Judaism is shalom/shalem, which means “whole, complete,” and, to me, implies contentment.
But joy, simcha in Hebrew, is different. I think it transcends shalem, rises into a higher olam (world).
In the story, the king, who perhaps lives in a grand castle, recognizes his excellent good fortune, but wonders who in his kingdom might have even fewer worries than him. So, he’s not quite content, since he’s still concerned about there being someone else who has what he doesn’t: peace and contentment.
His search reveals someone who has far fewer physical blessings, yet who has joyful music to play and hear, plenty of good food, and even joy.
This man, the “fixer,” lives in a ramshackle house, which is sunken into the ground. The fixer literally lives within the earth, the lowest of the olamot (worlds); he can’t go lower. His house’s windows look out on the ground, the earth. From inside his home, he can see perhaps only a glimpse of shamayim (sky), HaShem’s residence.
In contrast, the king’s home is most likely a grand castle, whose windows reveal vast views of sky. His daily view is rarefied, more godly. Yet the king cannot find contentment, much less transcendent joy.
The ‘fixer’ is always joyful, as long as he feels secure in his ability to provide for his daily needs. When his accustomed work gets stymied at the king’s command, the “fixer” feels angry and upset, but also trusts that God will provide him with a new source of income. He does not expect that God will provide a miracle of actual cooked food; he understands that he must take action on his own to provide for his needs.
So this trust in God, which leads to contentment, peace, and even joy, does not require living in a fancy home, high in the clouds. But it does depends on HaShem’s merciful gifts and protection, which need to filter down to the earthly level.
The “fixer” has a quality that is a huge gift: he is able to see the possible, to see beyond what appears to be physical reality. (This is also what allows him the ability to fix “broken” things.) This may be a result of his bitachon (absolute trust). Or his bitachon may be a result of his confidence in his ability, his recognition of his own nekudah tova (drop of goodness/special ability).
And yet … he is alone. He has no wife, no children, no friends, no guests.
It is only when the king invites himself inside the ramshackle house that the “fixer” is able to fulfill a mitvah — the mitzvah of hachnasat orchim (welcoming guests). (And if he’s a fixer, why has he not fixed his own roof? Does he not see that it’s broken?)
Maybe interaction with other people is a secret to experiencing an even higher level of joy.
Joy may be the ability to transcend the limits of this world, while still living in this world. Beyond physical contentment. Joy is of a spiritual nature, transcendent.
Rachel Randi Gerber
What did the officer have against dreams? I could imagine him standing on that bridge, day by day, watching people run about their business. No one stopped to think. No one stopped to live. The officer would probably go home at night, eat, and go to sleep, and do the same thing the next day. The only thing out of the ordinary was his dreams. He would dream vivid, clear, beautiful dreams, but what good are dreams in this life? Where will it get you? How could a dream help your day-to-day life? What a waste of time.
Then, one day, the officer sees a man who stopped and contemplated. The officer was caught off guard. “What is this man doing?” thought the officer. “Does he not know the ways of humankind? Of the world? Everyone is busy, running to their day and yet this man stops to contemplate.” He inquires of this man, and he learns that he’s a Jew. “Ha-ha, these Jews, always dreaming. And so naive! He even told me his whole dream! Well, I guess, if he told me his, then I can share mine…”
My treasure is to find myself and be myself, and to find G-d and to be with Him. My treasure is not to live by the lies of this world but to live in it as HaShem intended. It often feels like I am pushing against a boulder that is much heavier than I am. It feels impossible. But then I read Rebbe Nachman’s works, and he shows me that I can do it, that I can break the boulder piece by piece, and even, possibly, go around the boulder.
The Fixer Story and the Mystery of Sleep
I think THE FIXER is a story about ENVY.
I began writing about JOY. The fixer’s JOY seems to be in his living each day — in present time –with trust in HaShem and trust in the resources/ talents/ gifts He has given to him.This man is not just a man who repairs. …He looks about him every day . He looks to notice other people’s needs. I know such a man; this man even calls himself: “FIXERMAN” . A bit like him, I wake up asking HaShem to show me what this day, my day, will need from me . I think of whom I will be seeing and hearing in this day, what action of mine might help bring about something I see/ I sense is trying to happen. That intuition becomes part of my work for that day.
The king also is in my life. Ironically the king is a depressed person who WILL NOT imagine good is coming toward him. Instead he looks for happy people and then whenever he see contentment, he employs his royal powers to erase the possibility of that happiness . The king’s torment is that he does not know he is depressed. He can hardly be grateful for what he has. He prefers to spread his gloom, rather than “catch” a happy person’s joy. Because another’s joy is unbearable, the King uses his Royal Fiat to prohibit any joy he sees.
To me the story’s mystery is SLEEP. Why does the king, return to sleep, again and again, in the fixer’s grounded hovel with its broken shattered roof?
Why does he not return to his palace each night? There’s something he wants there – is in that place. I wonder whether in the night the sleeping king dreams that maybe he might “catch joy” unconsciously when HaShem suspends the rule of his conscious mind. Maybe the king stays in the fixerman’s house , dreaming that he might never leave, … but knowing he can not stay. He must put on his KINGLY CLOTHES and act his KING role.
PS. In this story I also see the history of persecution of the Jews, taxing, making life impossible, over and over again.
As woman as child
sun, grass, moon,
spoon of lumpy or smooth
New taste or familiar,
Elixir for the soul.
My soul is the womb
Now turned inside out
helps babies grow strong
in the sun light
with water, milk, food
Snuggles and stories
transforms the scary into hilarity,
Nonsense rhymes, and rhythms
Bring them the world gentily.
With grandma to watch
they don’t climb too high
or wander too far,
or get run over by a car
Happy travels for the young one
Watched over by an old woman
Who travelled the world
and came home to nurture.
Evelyn Luchs Savitz ©3/7/21