Every woman who walks through my salon door has a story. Sometimes it’s written all over her face, but more often it’s hidden behind a sweet smile, often buried under a meticulous manicure and a perfect-looking sheitel. But we all have a story that has shaped us and molded us into the strong women that we are today.
There are so many women out there fighting battles that no one knows about. Many keep those battles buried in their hearts. Regardless of whether you open up to me while we chat away when sitting in my salon chair getting your wig cut, or you prefer to keep your thoughts and feelings inside, I feel and truly understand your pain. As you leave, I daven for you, and hope that in some way I was able to take a little bit of your pain away.
I used to wonder why Hashem challenged me with so many different types of “women’s issues.” After all, wasn’t one of my many challenges enough for one woman to bear? During each crisis I cried out many times to Hashem, sometimes begging Him for help, guidance or a miracle, and sometimes expressing my intense anger for being put in such a difficult situation. Recently, over the last two years, I was able to look back at my challenges and understand the purpose of my many painful challenges.
A couple of years ago I was speaking to a client who was struggling with a similar issue I was having. When she left, she handed me a copy of a beautiful prayer “Tefilat Todah,” a Prayer of Thanks, which I have since been reciting every Friday night when I light the Shabbat candles. It thanks Hashem for all the wonderful things He has given you. There is one paragraph in particular that really speaks to me. It thanks Hashem for all the struggles and hardships one went through and is going through. It seems odd to thank Hashem for our hardships! The prayer states: “Thank You, Hashem, even for the times when I don’t feel happy, thank You for the things I don’t have, and thank You for the difficulties that I face.” It goes on and states, “Ultimately everything is for our benefit; even if we don’t see it at the moment that it is for our best, deep in our hearts we know that everything comes from You, Hashem, and is the very best for me and designed especially for me. The difficult times that we go through enable us to fully appreciate the good times in a way we would have never done. After being in darkness one can fully appreciate the light.” Because of my many challenges, not only can I truly relate to and feel the pain of another woman, but I am also now able to fully appreciate the many things that others take for granted.
On Rosh Hashanah we read about Chana, a woman in unbearable emotional pain, suffering from infertility, whose prayers were finally answered. Women’s tefillot and tears have a strong effect in Shamayim. When you daven this Rosh Hashanah, please keep in mind all the women who are suffering many private battles that we don’t know about, and beg Hashem to send them a yeshua and relieve them from their anguish.
For the women dealing with difficult marriages, the heartache of broken dreams and the loneliness under their smile. The women who fear their husbands and their home is no longer their safe place, and for the women who have been betrayed by their husbands. I know too well the depths of your pain and daven that no matter what you decide to do, Hashem blesses you with inner strength and the wisdom to deal with your situation.
Keep in mind all the single women, who year in year out hope, wish and dream of having a man at their side, waiting for them after shul. Inspire them to never give up hope! After so long, I never could have even imagined a “malach” walking into my life and loving me and my children so much. Daven that their “malach” comes soon.
Daven for all the women who painstakingly endure the roller-coaster of fertility treatments and ache with longing for their miracle to materialize or who yearn to push a buggy (stroller) to shul so that they can just “blend in.” I know how emotional and painful each needle stab can be, and know there are months you need a break from it all, and that’s OK. The day you enter my salon, beaming and pushing a baby stroller, chills go through my body and happy tears roll down my face for you.
Beg Hashem to help all the single moms who bite their lips and fight internal battles daily—worrying about bills, tuition and everything in between. They give up basic needs so that their children’s needs are met first. Yet, somehow they still manage to infuse simcha and laughter into their homes. I too know how brutal the struggle is. I daven for all of you that Hashem carries you through all the times when you just have no more strength left inside of you.
Keep in mind all the women who have loved and lost their babies (both born and unborn), who walk gracefully by you in shul, hiding invisible tears and inaudible cries. It took years for me to recover from my loss. Today I still imagine “what would have been” when friends of mine who were pregnant at the same time as me are celebrating their son’s or daughter’s bar/bat mitzvah, or sending them off to their year in Israel. When a women breaks down in my chair and tells me no one knows that I just had a miscarriage, I too cry with her. As she leaves, I daven that she should have a quick nechama and a healthy pregnancy soon.
Think of all the women whose childhood dreams of having a healthy child who will talk, play, smile and scream gleefully didn’t materialize. All the women whose children are different and don’t “fit in,” whether it be special needs, emotional difficulties and or “off the derech.” I too know how hard it is to walk around in a community like ours and put a smile on your face seeing so many “normal” children around them celebrating their milestones and smachot. Daven for them that they too should have nachat from their child.
For all the women who battle depression, psychosis, sadness, despair—the isolation of it.....the raw loneliness. Know that we all have had days where we just need to bury ourselves in our beds and are unable to face the day. Daven that they should be healed and be able to attain inner happiness and peace.
And for all the women who have difficult family situations, meddling in-laws, difficulties in dealing with blended families and having the very tough role of being a stepmother. I too know how painful and challenging it is to navigate these relationships. Daven that Hashem gives these women the necessary chochma and bina to navigate them.
As women pass through my door, I know firsthand and can truly relate to their stories. I cry with them, laugh with them and my heart truly rejoices with each simcha that I prepare their sheitel for. May Hashem answer all of our tefillot and the tefillot for am Yisreal this year l’tova. Wishing everyone a Shana Tova U’metuka!
Sari Friedbauer is the owner of Sari’s Wigs. She is a licensed hairstylist/cosmetologist and a certified wig maker. She is available for consultations and can be reached via texting at 201-694-5319.