It’s All in Your Hands

I debated whether to actually write a Dvar Torah or just send you this 4 second video: 

At this time of anxiety and craziness, whenever I watch this, I just burst into laughter and it makes some of my tension melt away. So that’s one piece of advice. Find the thing(s) that make you smile and keep them close. Revisit as often as needed. 

There’s something else this video teaches me (yes, I will find meaning in absolutely anything… that’s what rabbis do, people!). She points the toy gun at herself and accidentally (?) shoots herself. Don’t we all do things in our moments of crisis and angst that are often damaging? 

I learned from my very logical, engineer-trained father (z”l) that worrying about things you can do nothing about and cannot change is a kind of self-harm!!! Do what you can as long as you can and then… let go of the rest. Worrying about things out of your control is literally destructive to your health (which is what we are trying to preserve, right?!?) 

I also note in the video that the girl is crying inconsolably before shooting herself and continues afterwards. Assuming that she lives in a loving home with loving guardians (and clearly her brother is right there), she has food, clothing, shelter, love, toys, family, and so much more. 

Rather than crying and kvetching and ramping up our anxiety further, get GRATEFUL people! You have food. You have a clothing. You have a home to live in. You have people who love you. You have your stuff surrounding you as you read this. And we live in South Florida where we are quarantined in 76-degree gorgeous weather with little humidity. 

I’m not minimizing the risk or saying we shouldn’t be careful with our health, but this is not Ebola and it’s not the Black Plague and it’s not even the 1918 flu pandemic. 

What I am urging you to consider is to see this event as an opportunity. Yes, you read that right.  An opportunity –but only if you are worthy of it. Those who are worthy will take stock of what they have that is truly meaningful and worthwhile and double-down on it. With the time you now have, call the friends and family you don’t often speak with. Read the books you never get around to. Take an online course. If you are able, take up brisk walking, one of the best kinds of exercise there is. Garden. Tackle home improvements. The list could go on for pages… 

As long as we are healthy, we have been given a GIFT: the gift of time. 

And in the time we have been given, let us take meticulous care to build ourselves into a spiritual sanctuary in the same way that G!D has meticulously laid out for the Israelites in Parashat Vayakhel-Pekudei to build a physical sanctuary. Verse after verse, the Holy One goes into enormous detail about all the component parts of the Mishkan/ Tabernacle/ Sanctuary. Why is all that needed?

Because anything important is worth all that detail. Any great project is worth all that detail. 

Today in the time of COVID-19, YOU are the project worth spending time on. How do you want to build your sanctuary? How will you decorate your soul during these days? How can you bring light and beauty to the lives of others, even with all the restrictions? 

You can sit around crying and harming yourself with the “bullets” of worry OR you can be grateful for the opportunity to build something. It’s all in your hands (pun intended!) 

Shabbat Shalom

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