About a decade ago three of the pillars of this ‘utopian’ society we call America have been shaken at their very underpinnings with the destruction of the Twin Towers, part of the Pentagon and a large portion of New Orleans.
These catastrophes hit like shock waves one after the other leaving us no time to recover before the next one struck. Whether contrived by terrorists, or the result of volatile acts of nature, these cataclysmic events understandably provoke feelings of vulnerability and apprehension, but more importantly, they cause us to ask deeper questions of: Why are these tragedies happening? Why now? What is the message?
When the trauma is “man made” we tend to channel our anxiety and tension into a search and destroy mission, scouring the earth for the nefarious criminals and terrorists, no matter how futile the hunt may prove to be, however, when the misfortune is manifest from a ‘natural’ cause, it is harder to place the entire blame at someone else’s feet, leaving us with the uncomfortable feeling that maybe there are iniquities within us that caused or exasperated the problem. Of course, natural phenomenon such as hurricanes and earthquakes happen periodically throughout the world, so one could just conclude it was just our turn or our bad ‘luck’, but still the questions remain: Why now? Why specifically to us? And most importantly what is the deeper message?
These three cataclysmic events can at the macroscopic level as test of the fortitude of man at the three fundamental levels of human function. Each of us have been endowed with a mind to think, a heart to feel and the body physical strength to achieve.
These tragedies can be seen to correspond to the mind/brains , heart/emotions and body/brawn of America society. The twin towers could be said to be the prototype of our minds, housing as it did the financial genius of this country, its glass encased boardrooms sending powerful messages out—messages that left their indelible mark on the world’s economy. New Orleans, could be said to parallel the emotions as it reverberated with the pulse-beat of its yearly dynamic festivities and now echoes emotionally the destruction that occurred in its midst. For many the pentagon is an impregnable symbol of American physical prowess – the central command of her might and power.
This means that mankind’s goal of living an idealist life based on ones intellectual ingenuity and physical prowess along with the freedom of emotional expression have all been put to the test. The million dollar question is what is the meaning of these tests and what can we do or change in our lives that will help to avoid these kinds of tragedies in the future?
There are no doubt ‘think tanks’ that have been set up to deal with these very questions. There are ‘think tanks’ from the business sector, there are ‘think tanks’ from the military complex, there are think tanks from the social quarter but are there ‘think tanks’ that can be conferred with who will provide the theological prospective?
Let’s us use these unfortunate tragic events as an opportunity to stop ourselves and begin to ‘think’ – what can we all do to make this world a better and safer place where all mankind can live in peace and prosperity? Let us begin to look at both manmade and “natural” tragedies as an opportunity make those changes within ourselves that will bring out the best in us. The Jewish nation is a microcosm of the world and therefore, where there is a redefining of her borders, so also in the world as a whole there is a simultaneous redefining of its borders. Borders are not just physical but they include emotional attitudes and mental constructs. May we all merit to make the right choices rebuilding our borders based on only Torah defined lines of demarcation.
May this year bring peace and redemption.
All articles appearing on this blog are copyrighted by Rabbi Yehoshua Binyamin Falk. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to share/download/copy this information as long as it is accompanied by the copyright. Separately authored/copyrighted materia
- 4 – SELF AWARENESS
- 5 – SELF AWARENESS