Esther Pollard's 2010 birthday letter to Jonathan

Published date05 February 2022
Publication titleIsrael National News (Israel)

Jerusalem, August 1, 2010

My Beloved Jonathan,

I don't really know how to write this letter. I want so badly to help you. I need to make you understand things that I barely understand.

What I do know is that we have spent a very, very long time trying to attack a problem logically, when that problem is totally resistant to logic.

You have every right to be angry. You have every right to be depressed. You have every right to hate. And I certainly do not have any right to tell you otherwise or to try to mitigate your anger or your hate. Maybe they are necessary. Maybe they are a part of the divine plan.

I am angry too, though I try not to dwell on my anger. I am frustrated and tired and worn out, and like you, have not been feeling well for so long that I really do not remember when I last felt well. Everything is a question of degree.

If I get this letter done tonight, it looks like it will arrive for your secular birthday, if you are not yet home by then. So as my gift to you, why don't I just try to speak what is in my heart, without varnish or sugar coating.

If I did not believe in G-d; if I did not believe that we are souls having a human experience (as opposed to our being humans having a spiritual experience); if I did not believe in gilgul ha'nishamot (the reincarnation of souls); if I did not believe in Jewish History or the Jewish Prophesies; if I did not believe in the ultimate redemption of the Jewish People and the coming of Moshiach; if I did not believe in any of these, then I also would not believe in the concept of soul mates. Without belief in the concept of soul mates, and the clear understanding that I was born to be your helpmate, your ezer knegdo, your opposite half in this lifetime, then it could be said that it was my choice to marry you and my choice to take on a lifetime of travail and suffering instead of choosing an easier path by choosing another mate.

Often I think about how my life looks through the eyes of someone who does not believe in G-d, in Jewish destiny, or in soul mates. I know people like that. Ones I have spoken with, tell me that they think I am pretty foolish to have made such poor choices and to have ended up in this not-married, not-single state of perpetual longing and endless suffering, coupled with endless hard work rolling the boulder uphill only to have it roll down again, and then to start all over again. I have been told, by well-meaning meddlers, on numerous occasions, that I have or had so many talents and merits, why did I have to get involved with someone in prison? Better yet, with someone with a life sentence?

People who have no concept of eternity or of G-d's absolute rule of the world, cannot fathom that I did not have a choice. That the only reason I was born into this life was to accompany you on your tragic/majestic journey from darkness (lots and lots of darkness) to light (o when o when will it appear! --- But appear it must!)

People who have no concept of eternal life have no way to grasp that you volunteered for this mission long ago in the world of souls, and I volunteered to go with you. The sorrow, the frustration, the suffering, the anguish, the depression, the despair and the anger are actually fleeting in terms of eternity. But in terms of a human lifetime they have been overwhelming, relentless and unending. No one in their right human mind would knowingly volunteer to take on any lifetime that is this difficult. But as souls, we did. That is, you did. And I could not let you go it alone, so I did as well. But only to follow you.

As you so aptly put it, not so long ago, we are both partly in prison and we are both partly free. That is how bound up in each other we are.

Having said that, there are some differences in our perspective. Apparently those differences are what allow each of us to survive our respective Gehinoms.

I don't understand, and never did understand your ability and your will to keep fighting and fighting and fighting. I am not built that way. I give up. I don't give up in despair or in defeat. I just pull back and hand it back to G-d. That makes you angry. You don't like when I say that. Ok, so for the last 10 years that I have been feeling that way, you and others kept...

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