The Person Behind The Posts

Thursday, May 27, 2021

It's A Lot... And What To Do About It



Unstable non-existent Israeli government.


4,300 rockets in 11 days.


Spiraling anti-Semitism.

It's a lot.

If you find yourself glued to the news cycle, you can easily get sucked into the vortex. It's so easy to focus one's energy on a specific news story, following it closely and debating it obsessively.

A few months ago, I did exactly that with the vax/anti-vax issue, to the point that I was following the news on nine different groups and dealing with hundreds of rage-filled comments every time I posted a thought counter to the vax narrative. In the end, it became so toxic to my system that I left most of the groups, suspended my Facebook account and resigned from my career in journalism.

I decided to focus my attention on finishing my next book and on learning more Torah.

And that is where I have found the balm for my inflamed emotions.

In The Ishmaelite Exile by Rabbi Yechiel Weitzman (one of my favorite books of all time), I found this quote from the Chofetz Chaim.

"Before the coming of Moshiach, Hashem will act in a hurried manner so wondrous that even all who are wise of heart will be unable to fathom it. The troubles and persecutions [of the Jewish people] will follow each other so closely that there will be no space between them. Just as for an expectant woman who is about to give birth, the more intense her contractions and her pain, and this is her most reliable indication that the birth is nearing, so too, the wheels of the era will turn faster at the time of the birth pangs of Moshiach."

Just reading this quiets my breathing. It reminds me that we are in the process of geula. And the best way (maybe the only way) to get through this turmoil is to cling to Hashem.

I can't allow myself to get distracted by the news cycle. In fact, it makes sense to me that, at this point in history, we are supposed to subdue our reliance on anything that isn't Hashem, whether it's the media, the government, the police, the medical establishment or any other institution upon which we have heretofore relied. Breaking those dependencies reminds us that Ein Od Milvado - there is nothing but God.

Back in Adar, Rabbi Alon Anava offered some concrete suggestions for dealing with the chaos in which we find ourselves (and which has only intensified since March). I find these suggestions so powerful for righting my ship when I am about to capsize under the weight of the whole holy mess.

  • Trust only the Master of the Universe. Know that Hashem is running the show.
  • Don't believe in human actors. Don't put your trust in any human being.
  • Don't live in fear.
  • Help people. Do acts of kindness for others.
  • Focus on learning the pnemius (hidden, mystical aspects) of Torah.

And whatever you do, don't obsess about the news. Most of it is wildly distorted anyway.

Fear only God.

That is the spiritual secret to getting through these troublesome times.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Oh, Rivkah...once again...powerful, yet gentle. I so very much enjoy reading your thoughts, and GOD always...ALWAYS... addresses something I need through your words. Thank you, my friend.