I had something of an epiphany yesterday evening.
I was in the car with my oldest daughter yesterday, as part of her levuyee 3 month period post passing her driving test, when she has to be accompanied by an adult.
So, we’re driving to Mahane Yehuda, and I was still in the bad mood I’ve been in for a week, on and off.
Suddenly, this song by Yaakov Shwekey started playing:
I know God uses all sorts of different things to give us messages – even cheesy (but catchy…) tunes by Yaakov Shwekey.
So, I’m listening to it, and I hear these words:
“Life is the people we love
And what we give to one another
Loving is giving, giving is life”
And suddenly, a light bulb goes off in my head.
The last few weeks, I’ve been struggling with a feeling that nothing really matters.
I know I’m not alone in that. I see my kids, and my kids’ friends, and I speak to my own peers and relatives, and I know so many of us are struggling in this ‘Covid-1984’ reality, to really find meaning in life.
Suddenly, all the certainties got blown out the water.
The career really isn’t worth as much as we thought. Making enough money has become even harder. Any ‘certainty’ that remained has vanished in a puff of smoke. And all our ‘standards’ and ‘goals’ and ‘plans’ have dissolved, as well.
It’s hard to plan, hope and dream when we literally have no idea what the next 24 hours will bring.
And then add on to that the tremendous difficulties and obstacles that we’re all encountering to do even basic mitzvot right now.
As well as the onslaught against holy places, yeshivot, mikvahs and synagogues, and the deliberate closures planned to coincide with every Jewish holiday, there’s also the ‘bog standard’ miniot that accompany every mitzvah.
Even stuff like going for a walk has got so much harder, mentally, wrapped up as it know is in 5 million internal discussions about mask-wearing, dodging the police, how fast to walk in order to be able to claim “I’m exercising”, and all the rest of it.
So it is, that I’ve been in a place the last few weeks where I’m finding it hard to answer the question:
What is the point of all this?
What’s the point of getting out of bed?
What’s the point of writing more stuff?
Or cooking more things?
What’s the point of trying to build, to create, to unite, when there is just such a huge big enterprise of evil that controls the world (apparently….) and that just continues to destroy, degrade and divide?
I’ve been struggling mightily to answer that question.
And then yesterday, I heard this song by Shwekey, and it something clicked.
Right now, the whole job is just to work on my bad middot, and to do kindnesses for others.
And also, for myself.
And that’s it.
It’s a big enough job, believe me.
The last few weeks, my tolerance and patience for anyone else has been really low, even for the people I love the most.
I see now, that it’s all just a mirror.
God is making us all super-sensitised to ‘bad’ so we can clean up our act.
But the corollary of that is that we are seeing ‘bad’ all over the place, because the time has truly come to deal with it properly.
Each of us has our own job to do, to clean up our act.
I certainly have a lot of work to do, to start seeing ‘the good’ again, and to stop focussing so much on the bad.
And when I do that, I know the world around me will also automatically start to look like a brighter, nicer and more hopeful place again.
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