Aya Kremerman, a columnist for Besheva, began her career as a model and a famous TV personality. She and her husband began a Jewish observant lifestyle after the birth of the first of their five children. Aya is also a master chef, and reached the semi-finals of the Master Chef VIP competition. Asked what her greatest dream is, she said, "I see myself dressed in white, and my children dressed in white, and we are walking up the steps the Beit Hamikdash" - here the tears well in her eyes - "It is truly alive for me."
There are days when my heart bleeds. There are days that my longing for all that once seemed logical to me overtakes me and drives me crazy. I grew up so differently! I grew up dancing until sunrise, and feeling the sun on your body, and living something called freedom – with no obligations, no laws.
And sometimes my breath is taken away, and my lungs refuse to take in air, and all I want is to scream: "Enough! Stop the train!" and I want to just throw away my intellect – or, actually, my faith.
For a moment all I want is my sense of freedom to return, and to be in charge of myself, without the laws of the Creator of the World. There are times when I just want to feel the sand of the beach under my feet and my hair blowing in the wind, to be free of the weight of my hair-covering. To be how I used to be, and to scream out: What did you to me? What's all this for?
Those are hard times. They are times when I can't control my tears, or my thoughts, or my memories. Days when the memories overtake me, the smells, the tastes, the songs, the dancing…
There are other times when I can't believe what I used to do to myself, when I was enveloped in blindness. Those are the times when I am happy to have been given the chance to fix my mistakes, and happy to look in the mirror and see someone who even from miles away is clearly one who fears G-d. This is truly how I feel: awe, love, and gratefulness. Everything is serene, and all I see is the prayer, the Providence, the certainty that the me of then and the me of now have become one.
But then comes a song, or a taste, or a photo of childhood friends at the beach with their children, and everything jumps right back at me. From the beginning. And the questions start: Why couldn't you just be a good person? Why do you think that not cutting toilet paper is more Jewish than just smiling at a stranger?! What happened to all the goodness that you were taught? – for you know that you were taught to be good. And once again,
Enough. Give me a rest, tears. It's over. Totally over. I'm not going back. You're wasting yourselves for nothing. Look around, tears. Look at the beautiful sweet children, pristine and holy. They wouldn't be this way if it wasn't for the covering and the long sleeves. Look at their natural modesty, which has remained pure.
Look at the husband who guards himself for us. Look, tears. Look one level deeper, the one beneath that which is seen on the outside. Look. You see someone who is more healthy, more complete, more happy. Joyous with her lot. Yes, joyous – are you even familiar with that word? Do you remember, tears? How many tears of sorrow rolled down these cheeks? How many tears burst forth from the same heart that now cries out its pining to go back? Do you remember why it cried then? Because of the loneliness, the sadness, the lack of faith, the feeling of aloneness in the world.
And how much did the soul cry?? Do you remember, tears? Do you remember how suffocated the soul felt then?
So, yes, tears, it's true: we gave up a lot. We gave up the hair, the sea, summer, jeans, food, and a million other things. But, tears – when was the last time you appeared because we were broken inside? When was the last time you rolled down this face simply because the degeneration was so great that we began thinking that we ourselves were one big degenerate?!
Tears of longing, be still. It's now the turn of tears of happiness and prayer, tears of the joining of Father and daughter, tears of unification of the Holy One and His Divine Presence.