Discover more from The Tali Steine* Writing Project (*pseudonym)
Saver of Worlds
Yesterday, I made a hurtful mistake. I wrote a social media post mentioning a rabbi's name but leaving off her rabbinic title. It might have had something to do with the really hard day I had yesterday, or the various things I was upset about when I wrote the post, but that doesn't change the fact that this omission was hurtful. As a friend corrected me, and I apologized, there was something that bothered a part of me. There's something that has always bothered me.
When we talk about titles, there are several truths involved. One truth is that any title, such as Rabbi, involves years of hard work. Leaving off that title disregards the immense amount of work and the ongoing leadership that being a rabbi should entail.
The second truth is that some kinds of hard work offer no titles. They offer no communal recognition.
I'm writing about this because a part of me is feeling incredibly hurt in this moment. What title do I get, she asks, for being abused by my parents? Surviving that torture took hard work. What title do I get for having to devote the last six years of my life to healing from that trauma? I still struggle a lot. Which title do I get as a reward for my work so far? What degrees will I earn?
I needed to answer her. I told her that there is no degree program for trauma survivors. Not only that, the outside world is incredibly judgmental of trauma survivors, criticizing them for their reactions and struggles, rather than calling out abuse or abusers. None of it is fair, and all of it is hard work. There are no titles granted.
"But," I say, "in the inner world, where my light filled Self leads me, where there is an inner community of parts, we can absolutely offer you a title. Which title would you like?"
She thinks for a moment and says with a smirk, "Queen." She rejects that one, and then says, "You know how in the Talmud it says that one who saves a life saves the entire world? In healing, I'm saving my life. I'm taking back who I was supposed to be, and who I am. I’m saving the beautiful life that is me."
My light asks, "So, Saver of Worlds?"
She smiles. "Saver of Worlds. Yes. I like that. Please call me Saver of Worlds."
*I am now on Facebook. Check out Tali Steine Writing Project if you are interested in following me there. I will continue to post to this blog, but I hope to also use Facebook to share resources and support for abuse survivors.