tali, trauma, and the end of the world

Tali’s fear of the shattering of the world is taken from Jewish teachings that the world is indeed broken and that our job, called in Hebrew tikkun olam, is to put it back together again— starting with ourselves. Being a kid, she takes it all quite personally. Her own actions are liable to be the tipping point, quite literally, of the end of the world. How did she come to this? She overheard the grownups in their study group talking about some such idea found in early kabbalah about ‘primordial worlds created in order to be destroyed, and destroyed in order to be rebuilt’—but wouldn’t that have to include her? Tali, clearly, did not know what ‘primordial’ meant. She took it all personally. And as a result was careful not to trip or tip herself over, or god-forbid attempt a front roll or somersault, for fear of being that literal tipping point that destroys the world. What might become of it (and her), was too fraught to contemplate.

At first Tali can take comfort in the hamsa she wears—an amulet common to peoples of Middle Eastern extraction often worn for the protection of children (and adults in dire circumstances) which means to Tali, the more she thinks about it, (and having been given a hamsa as a present) that she is clearly in grave danger. Imagine needing to wear a tiny hand around your neck to keep yourself alive in this world! If I put up my own hand, yes, it means STOP, but what’s Tali supposed to do? Wave the little charm at the forces of the universe?

Tali will discover that her dreams can lead her to conquer her fears, and then maybe she can begin her tikkun. Sound easy? Not in the slightest. Tali struggles night after night, having nocturnal abilities manifest and then vanish in the morning light.

But that’s another story.