Rebbe Nachman, Nachman meUman… Very late one night, David and I were walking the midrahov as usual. We walked north, past the Artbar cafe on the left and Zefat College on the right. There was a park/playground on the left. We had been there before because I like to swing on the swings, and they have monkeybars where David can do chin-ups. I, of course, can’t do even one chin-up. This night, the park was full of teenagers. David smelled trouble or rather a place where he could get into trouble, his need for the adrenaline rush kicked in, and I followed him into the park. He was hoping to find some grass and bum a toke. He didn’t have any money, but he had a pack of cigarettes to trade for a joint. There were a dozen teenagers in the park, hanging around, smoking cigarettes. We went straight into their midst and sat on a bench. I clung to David, like a nervous bride. I was dressed so frum: ankle-length skirt , two blouses, and a jacket. I even had a hat on. No wonder the hooligans thought I was his wife. In Israel, even naughty children are so beautifully mild. Juvenile delinquency means staying out after dark and smoking a cigarette with your friends. No-one would ever break into a house or vandalize property in Tzfat. It is simply not part of Israeli culture. Everyone is your neighbor. As I clung to David, we talked about this, how sweet even the naughty children are in Israel. Most of these kids were immigrants who had to learn to speak a new language and then make friends. At first, there were some teenage girls in the park, too, but their fathers came outside immediately and took them home. The remaining teenage boys were fascinated by us. I was slightly frightened, but David was in his element. They were bumming cigarettes from him and he was trying to find a joint. Several boys started talking to me in English. They wanted to know why a Datia was in the park at night! David was entirely unaware of their intense interest in me, even though I was still clinging to him. He told the boys that I was NOT his wife, and then one of them put his hand on my knee! I nearly jumped into David’s lap; I was so surprised. In my head, I had been fantasizing about what it would be like if I were his wife. I knew I would be so proud to be married to him, and then the teenager made a clumsy pass at me! I was old enough to be his mother! I tried to get David’s attention to leave, but he was really enjoying himself. Then a teenage Russian boy came over and whispered that we should go so nothing bad would happen. I was really touched by his concern and impressed by his ability to think for himself and not follow the herd. Unfortunately, because he tried to protect us from danger, David was sold. He was staying. So I crawled right up unto his knee. Finally he noticed me and how uncomfortable I was. He laughed at me in a loving way. As far as he was concerned, he had the whole situation under control, and he was right. Then the funny thing happened. The boys turned on their 1980’s style boombox and started dancing to ‘Rebbe Nachman, Nachman me’Uman’. This was a private joke between Hashem and David. It really was funny. Ever the teacher, David used the opportunity to do kiruv. He explained to the Russian boy that Jews worship Hashem and not tzaddikim. It was a miracle to watch the boy’s expression change as he understood the truth of David’s lesson. He was a good boy. He took off his white NaNa kippah and went home. I again asked if we could leave and David agreed since there was no pot and not enough danger.
Now that I know what Clinical Narcissism is, I view that ordeal differently. Yes, I was safe the whole time, but David didn’t respect my needs. One of the boys put his hand on my knee! And David told them that I wasn’t his wife. He should not have put me in that situation, and why wasn’t it enough for him just to spend the evening with me? Why does he need the danger to feel alive? I find Life thrilling enough as it is. I don’t need to go looking for more adrenaline. He hurt my feelings. I know I started this blog as “Letters to David”; but now I am writing therapy letters to myself. Aren’t I? I feel like I will never recover from being rejected by my zivug. I did love him so. Will I always feel this way?
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