Many BTs are faced with the dilemma of telling their “story” at some point in their lives. In 2006, Beyond BT Contributor, Shoshana, and a number of commentors provided their perspective in the post name “Telling My Story”.
What makes Bracha’s story remarkable is that she was a Harvard-educated woman, steeped in knowledge about the dangers of eating disorders, who nonetheless found herself fighting anorexia. Her search for meaning in her life took her from the depths of painful, self-destructive habits to a relationship with God, family, and community, a model for anyone struggling to find herself and her true purpose.
The second remarkable aspect is that she felt it was so important to share her story to help others, despite the consequences. Here is an excerpt of an interview with Bracha, posted on Aish.
Did you have doubts about publishing? Have you had any backlash?
I did not have any doubts about publishing it, but I was still frightened before it was released about whether people would react to me differently afterwards. Not that it mattered so much to me, to prevent me from wanting to have it be in the world, but it was still an uncomfortable feeling. Many years ago, one Orthodox publisher had read the manuscript and asked me why I would want to publish a book like this when I had such a beautiful family. She was upset, and protectively, she was asking me why I would want to leave myself open to ridicule by publishing it.
Her words did disturb me, but I had asked a Rav about publishing the book, and I was told that I could go ahead, so I kept trying. I feel one of the reasons I am here on Earth is to make the realizations in this book clear. I want to reach the girl I used to be, and everyone else to whom this book could be illuminating. Thank God, my wonderful husband trusts me to do what I feel I need to do, and all my amazing grown children who now have their own amazing children, thank God, have been supportive.
It’s still early days – but has the book fulfilled the purpose you intended for it?
I hope that this book can reach and help many people with all types of addictions, as addictions are widespread. I have distilled a practical take-away from the book. It is designed, specifically, for people with any type of food addiction, but it could be adjusted to help people with any kind of addiction. When people are overeating, they can ask themselves this simple question: Am I continuing to eat now because my body is hungry, or am I trying to fill my soul? And once that question pops up into one’s consciousness, many wonderful ways to fill one’s soul can come to mind.
Then the person can step outside and breathe in some nature, do an act of kindness for someone, like calling or texting someone who may be lonely, put on lovely music and get up and dance, learn some ancient wisdom, slowly count one’s blessings, etc. The choices are endless, but even just the awareness of these possibilities raises the consciousness of the individual, so that spiritual pleasures can be chosen, and the soul filled.
So the memoir is a tour inside my being to see how this realization came to be. I am praying that the book can help to free many people from their addictions, so that they can enjoy much more deeply pleasurable lives. And that’s what all my children’s books have in common with this book for older people. As Rabbi Noach Weinberg, the Rosh Yeshiva of Aish HaTorah taught, the purpose of life is to have the greatest pleasure possible. That’s why God created us – to give us this pleasure. So by letting our souls shine, as children and as adults, that’s how we can experience the greatest pleasure possible. That’s the goal for all my books, to hopefully help that happen.