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Yuval Dayan on filling the empty pit

יובל דיין במופע "צמאה"

Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

I wrote to the Israeli singer and songwriter Yuval Dayan that her performance for women at the International Convention Center in Jerusalem was amazing. Dayan, who has become more religiously observant over the years, wrote me the following dvar Torah (words of Torah) in response:

"In this week's Torah portion, a passage appears that has been the most important to me on my road to a deepening commitment to Judaism. "The pit was empty, there was no water in it." Joseph's brothers threw him into a seemingly empty pit since it held no water. But Rashi comments that the pit was not really empty since "there was no water in it, but there were snakes and scorpions in it." In other words, there is no such thing as empty space, there is no such thing as a vacuum. Where pure and sweet water cannot be found, snakes and scorpions will find a place for themselves. And, by extension, when we are empty the worst sorts of things, heaven forbid, can attach themselves to us.

Every desire, every thirst, will be sated with something. The question is: With what? Will it be with pure water, with positive, joyful, and inspiring content, or with negative thoughts and self-destructive activities? When a person is full of good thoughts and a positive and joyful outlook on life, there is no room for despair, jealousy, anxiety, or sadness to find a way inside.

This insight provided me with a powerful tool of how to conduct myself in the world in general and in the performing arts in particular. Many times during periods when I am an "empty pit," when I do not open a book, when I am not learning something, I am suddenly subject to unexpected fears or to things that have no real connection to me. Because when there is emptiness, snakes and scorpions suddenly appear... and when this happens, I am immediately reminded that I simply need to fill myself up with meaningful content once again."


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