Written By: Chelsea Mika Shar (Chana Michaela Efrat),
Mayanot Alumnus from Johannesburg, South Africa
Water is life. Water is our life’s source. So too is Torah. No matter how dangerous water-life might be for a fish, being outside the water is 100% deadly. No matter how dangerous life may be vis-à-vis Torah, not following Torah guarantees our death. This lesson we learn from Rabbi Akiva. This was one of my greatest clarities and inspirations at Mayanot.
In the confused world of galus (exile) where ruchnias (spirituality) is more hidden and gashmias (physicality) is manifest, life for a fish seems pretty boring in the water. Life on land seems much more appealing! Even a fish on land looks like it is dancing, flapping about. However, in actual fact, the fish is dying.
We are constantly looking at others and comparing. We constantly feel inadequate and boring. However, if we are connected to our source; if we are truly connected, we develop a healthy sense of self. Mayanot provides this opportunity. It provides a space to grow and to learn; a space to challenge oneself and to challenge others. These effects are not always felt immediately, but they are felt nonetheless.
It is very difficult to describe the experience that is Mayanot, however it is safe to say that the experience is life-changing. Although it may be different for every girl, each one departs that much wiser, more connected and challenged. Personally, it sparked such a love for chassidus that is truly indescribable. Not only did I gain knowledge but I gained insight – insight into the workings of the world, into people and relationships, and into Hashem and creation. It has built for me a foundation of life, which I hold very dear to my heart and sense of being.
Undoubtedly Maynot lives up to its name. For all of this and more I am grateful; grateful to Hashem and to Mayanot. Gratitude and thanks does not do it justice, but for now, it is all I have.