I need to KVETCH a little… I know you’re listening, so here goes…
People are walking around shaking their heads, ringing their hands… after everything we’ve had to deal with this year, with the pandemic, and then the riots, we’ve now been “blessed” with a hurricane that passes through our area leaving most of us without power. Many of our friends and neighbors are still without power, going on Day 5! That’s never fun for a whole host of reasons, let alone in the middle of August.
A meme has been circulating which reads: Which plague are we up to now?! (Must be darkness…)
Dear G-d, I love my job, working for you. I really do. I love teaching Torah and inspiring my fellow Jews to increase their mitzvah observance. But at moments like these I find myself in the dark (quite literally…). How to explain a year that’s been one challenge after another after another?!
I must’ve gotten this same text message from 20 people: Rabbi, what else can we expect to happen in 2020?!
I know… it’s not my job to question. I understand what my role is and what it’s not. I always tell my people when they complain about their “tzoros” (troubles): I’m in sales, not management…
I also trust without any shadow of a doubt that you haven’t left the cockpit, that you’re running the show every minute of every day. I know there has to be a purpose and a plan to this craziness, and that ultimately it’s all for our good. I imagine you want to get our attention and wake us up from our complacency, and remind us what’s really important in life.
But please G-d, dear Father in Heaven… I think we got the message. I don’t think we’re going to go back to the old “normal” anytime soon, and I mean that in a good way. We’ve all matured, we’ve been changed for the better during these five months of unprecedented uncertainty. What used to really matter to us is now hardly on our radar. Our focus is on staying healthy, keeping positive and focused, and staying close with family and friends. And that includes staying close with You, our Father in Heaven. We got the message!
In ancient Egypt, Pharaoh needed 10 plagues before he could admit that there’s a G-d who runs the world. We’re not perfect, but none of us is a Pharaoh… We’ve had enough plagues… we’re ready for redemption. Redemption from the craziness of what has been 2020 so far… and ultimately the full and complete redemption when the world and all of us living here will realize Your presence as the central focus of our lives and our world.
Please, dear Father, bring healing to the world from COVID 19. Let us find a vaccine or whatever is needed to remove its cloud that hangs over our heads. Bring healing to a nation torn apart by political strife and animosity, where family members become estranged from one another because of their preference in an election.
Wake us up to the beauty of life in Your presence, a life lived with mitzvahs and with meaning, with Torah study and with truth.
But please… no more wake up calls. We’re already awake. We see what’s important in life with 2020 clarity… and we’re not going back to our old habits. Please, just turn on the lights and help us find our way back to you… We’re almost there.
Rabbi Sholom M. Paltiel is the Rabbi and executive director at Chabad of Port Washington