A second wave of postponing our immediate wants and needs

In light of the rise of recurring corona cases, the issue of postponing our immediate needs and gratifications is resurfacing again.Op-ed

Rabbi Hagai Lundin ,

Police close Bnei Brak synagogues
Police close Bnei Brak synagogues
Flash 90

As we were attending services in the synagogue this past Sabbath and during Chag Shavu'ot, we heard rumors of a possible new outbreak of the Coronavirus. A potential second wave of this highly contagious virus is indeed upon us. We kept hearing key words like “outbreak”, “quarantine” and “social distancing” over and over again.

There was a lot of whispering in the atmosphere and rumors which were spread by congregants.

Every person has an opinion and thinks he is such a “wisenheimer,” a know-it-all.

In reality, the situation is not as grim as it looks.However, in light of the rise of recurrent corona cases, the issue of postponing our immediate needs and gratifications is resurfacing yet again.

We have already mentioned postponing our immediate needs and gratifications דחיית ספוקים, defining & setting up new priorities, as well as בלימת דחפים curbing, harnessing, controling our impulses and bringing them to a complete halt, in previous articles

The ability to remain on 'constant alert' even after we have managed to control the bulk of the crisis is sometimes more difficult than the peak moments of the corona crisis itself. It is the same as going on a diet or participating in an anger management therapy. Everything is relative, everything is proportionate to what we already achieved, but our work is never done; We need to maintain our achievements, we need to stay vigilant all the time.

This 'being on guard' mental state of mind, allows for proper coping with regressions due to the corona era (probably expected in the upcoming months).Rather than experiencing the sky high feeling of euphoria and then the rock bottom of despair, rather than being tossed between the waves of extreme emotions, rather than suffering a sharp jolt which characterizes people who move quickly from one extreme to the other, it's better to go for the middle way, surfing consciously and soberly on the waves of our lives, which by nature, bring their own ups and downs.

In these moments, I recall a wonderful story from the Babylonian Talmud in Tractate Yevamot (121:1): "Raban Gamliel said: “Once I was sailing on a boat, and from the distance I saw a boat that was shattered and sank into the sea. I was grieved over the apparent death of a Torah scholar, Rabbi Akiva, who was on the sinking boat. When I disembarked into the dry land, all of the sudden, this Rabbi Akiva appeared before me; he sat down and delivered a certain Halakha (Jewish law).I asked him: “my son, who brought you up from the water?” He answered: ”a plank from the boat came at me, and with every succeeding wave that came upon me, I shook my head “.In other words, I was banging my head in front of each and every wave that came towards me, so the waves didn't wash me off the bit of the shipwreck upon which I was riding.

What lesson can we derive from this fable?

With every wave that comes before us, whether big or small, we need to cling tightly to a "plank", to a life belt. The metaphor is that in every hardship or obstacle that we face in our lives, we need to cling tightly to our life support belt which is the Torah, the Tree of Life - the eternal wisdom. With each wave we "shake our heads”, we sometimes bang our heads, we plow forward, we ride the waves till we reach a safe harbor. We cling to the Torah as one clings to a life belt till we reach a safe shore in our lives.

“She is a tree of life to those who embrace her, and those who hold on to her are happy.” (Proverbs 3:18)

Evil will pass

Good will prevail

With the help of G-D



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