Firstly, I had always been the one to come to Seder right on time, no games. I stayed until the end. Now, it wasn't that simple. I started feeling things crawling under my skin. I just couldn't sit. I couldn't believe that there was something in my body that was stopping me from learning. How could this be? It was so painful. It felt like it was robbing my destiny from me. "don't you realize that my destiny is to be a gadol? Don't you realize that I must keep on learning?" I told myself. How could this be happening.
I would go out in the middle of seder and do cartwheels in the chatzer. this felt good because it relieved some of the stress but I had no choice but to wonder "what was happening to me?" I felt out of control. I was advised to take a break and go to a moshav. It was actually nice. There were nice fields and open spaces. I didn't stop. As a break, I didn't learn gemara, but I learned mishnayos yevamos. I knew that anyone who know yevamos got respect and lord knows how much I needed that. I remember thinking "what kind of break is this?" "why can't I stop?"
I had gotten this idea in my mind, that if my soul was clean, I would have greater faith. I must have read somewhere, that if a person dies "al kiddush Hashem" it destroys all of their aveiros, I also read that if someone imagines that they are dying "al kiddush hashem" then it is as if they did. So, not being one to shy away from original methods of reaching my goals, I had a brilliant idea. During the shabbos meal when everyone was enjoying their shabbos meal, and singing nigunim, I would go up to my room and, in the dark, I would dance, while pretending that I was being burnt "al kiddush hashem". To me this was "normal" just in case that says anything. I figured that, if my sins for forgiven,if I was clean of all impurity, all would be calm. Then all would be ok. That's all I really wanted, for things to be OK.
Then I did something which I never thought I could ever bring myself to do. I had been so sure of my way, so sure that anyone else was wrong, that there was no way in hell that I would ever consider that anyone could be right. All I knew, and all I needed to know, was that I was on a path that would finally bring me the respect that I've been looking for all along. I finally figured out how to learn, now I will force the information in my head and get that respect. Basically, "I'm on the way to the top, I have to get there yesterday, so get the f*ck out of my way" (I didn't use that word in my mind, but if I could have, there would have been no better word)
About this time, I was in so much pain that I finally started thinking about who I could possibly speak to who could tell me about this kind of pain. Of course, i was in such turmoil about this attempt because somewhere inside, I knew that what I was doing was crazy, and that I had to stop,and at the same time "how dare anyone suggest that I stop, I know EXACTLY what I'm doing!".
I went to an old friend of my father who lived in Har Nof. All I remember was being so bewuildered and shamed. I didn't even know the words to put to my pain. Nothing made sense. All I remember was that somewhere in the conversation, I asked him "how long will it take me to feel better?" I was hoping that he would say a week or so. He said " it could take 10 years" I was shocked, that was exactly what I didn't want to hear. "I don't have that kind of time to get ahead, I need to get better right now?" I thought. "Well" I said, "how can I possibly wait that long?" I asked. He said something like "even if you get to experience one good day, it will have all been worth it". Those words were quite bothersome, just a short moment of light in an ocean of turmoil. But I always looked back at that brief moment,with David Goldstein as a short moment where I got to hold on to a life boat, and see that someday I may want a life that was different than the one I had this moment, but for now, I went right back into my intense learning desires. How dare they think they can stop me. Damn it, I will get the respect that I am looking for.