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Let us multiply and spread

וכאשר יענו אותו כן ירבה וכן יפרוץ

* Translation by Yehoshua Siskin ([email protected])

Have you heard about PTG (post-traumatic growth)?
We hear a lot about PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) but not much about post-traumatic growth — that is, a positive response to traumatic events. At a recent Women’s Renewal workshop, Rabbi Aaron Darmon spoke about this lesser known phenomenon.
This is not only about resiliency or a return to the routine of daily life and normal functioning. It is rather growth as a direct, beneficial consequence of the trauma itself. It’s about making changes and reaching new heights that would have been impossible had the trauma not occurred.

This is a response, he explained, that the nation of Israel has demonstrated for thousands of years: the ability to grow from crisis and trauma. This was shown immediately after the Holocaust, when the nation did not sink into paralyzing despair, but returned to the land of Israel where it made astounding progress and flourished in every area of human endeavor.

In the book of Exodus that we begin to read this week, this famous verse is found: “The more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and spread.” The more the Egyptians enslaved and abused us with grueling labor meant to break us, the more we increased in numbers and actually experienced explosive growth.

May we be privileged once again to flourish like never before in response to our most recent trauma.


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