25 December 2015

"Moderation In All Things"

13 Tevet 5776
Erev Shabbat Kodesh

This is a quick note to address an issue I see coming out of several of the comments. First of all, my thanks to each and every one of you for taking the time to write and share youre feelings and experiences. Let me assure you that every one of you is precious to me and your concerns are validated. Just a reminder though...

We already live in a world and in a generation where emotions are allowed, even encouraged, to run rampant and without restraint. It's even viewed as pathological to keep your emotions in check. Some people seem to feel that unrestrained passion - a little righteous anger - gives them an edge spiritually. And on the other side, there are those who seem to misunderstand the admonition to be happy at all times and they think if you're not smiling through your tears every single day, you're not on a sufficiently high enough spiritual level.

It's not healthy to give full expression to the emotions. The head should always rule the heart. We need to monitor our spiritual vital signs constantly for signs that we are getting out of balance. "Moderation in all things" is the key to a healthy and balanced life. And if you can follow this, you will have a much easier time coping. It's not for no reason that the yetzer hara tempts us to despair. He tries to draw us to the extremes that mark the danger areas. Blood pressure too high - it's a life risk. Blood pressure too low - it's a life risk. Balance equals health.

It's good to be informed. We can't live our lives successfully with our heads in the sand, but at the same time, we have to be responsible for how much we let it into our souls - for our own response to it all. It's good and right to make note of are fallen brothers and sisters, but don't dwell overly much on it until you get this seeping sore in your soul.  That's why we say Baruch Dayan Ha'Emet. We accept that regardless of the pain we feel initially, we acknowledge that Hashem is the True Judge and it was His decision to take this person in this way. And yes, the mental images of orphaned children is tragic enough to render us immobile in frustration and regret and anger at those we perceive to have let it happen. It was HKB"H who let it happen and He knows best. That's where we find the strength to not let our emotions gain so much control of our minds that we go crazy. It's where we find the quiet place of peace that we are always in our Father's very capable and loving hands. 

Cry. Yes. For a little bit. Then, turn off the tears. Be angry. Yes. But only a very little bit, because sustained anger means you do not accept that what happened is God's will for reasons He hasn't shared with us. It implies a lack of faith either that Hashem let something terrible happen on His watch or wasn't able to stop it. This is arrogance and pride and we humans are very prone to it. Be on the watch out for it.

This world has always been full of troubles. It's the nature of it's purpose. The World of Truth and the World of Light and Joy are still ahead of us.

~Shabbat shalom~


  1. Thanks. This message is just as important as all the great commentary you provide us on current events.

    I'm going to a dinner tonight, and I really hope that the discussion stays on light topics and Torah.

    Shabboth Shalom.

  2. Does anybody know where to go to protest?