Thursday, February 13, 2014

Aliyah and Personal Growth

When the economic crash hit, the U.S. people had less money in their budgets for non-essential items like psychotherapy.  For the first time in more than thirty years, I was unable to keep up with my mortgage and car payments, and my credit card debt skyrocketed.  I scrambled to find alternative sources of income – even venturing into commercial real estate – but to no avail – nothing worked.
After a few years of “failure,” my wife and I looked at each other – what could we do? – Hashem was blocking every path to economic recovery that I tried – obviously He was sending me a message but I wanted no part of it.
Hashem saw that He had a tough customer in me so He proceeded to start smashing every idol that I believed in and worshiped until there was nothing left for me to believe in except Him. He started with my worship of money, honor and success and quickly proved to me that he could make my university degrees and professional license quite worthless.
Hashem continued by showing me that I couldn’t depend on Uncle Sam or on any of the other materialistic values that had sustained me till then.  The harder I worked the less I had to show for the time and energy I was expending – eventually the stress began to effect my health – and it wasn’t until Hashem had to put me in the hospital – that I got honest enough with myself and started waking up from the American dream I had been living all of my life. 

Even then – when my wife suggested that we make Aliya, I cringed at thought – that would be an admission of defeat – If I didn’t make it in the “land of opportunity,” I couldn’t make it anywhere.  Poor Zev was still holding on to the lie that only “the power of my own hands” could save me – even while Hashem was smashing all my idols – I was “sure” that if I just worked harder I could still redeem myself. Continue here...

Every blessing,
Dr. Zev Ballen