• Rachel Shifra Tal

Faith in Humanity

What do we do when the world falls down around us? One of the drawbacks of living only one lifetime and one lifespan is what happens to us in the here and now can feel like the worst or best experience ever. My favorite people to hang out with are usually more than 30 years older than I am. They have incredible knowledge and perspective. They also are the most inspiring and calming people. A few weeks ago, it felt that no news could be bigger than covid19, not in a hundred years. Yet in one week the tragic and preventable death of a young black man seemed to tear everything apart. All the pent up frustration at injustice, and the devastation people are feeling, exploded out of them. Like the straw that broke the camel's back. I watched in awe of those marching and taking one knee in a safe social distancing manner, then seemingly overnight the United States erupted with riots that were completely out of control. How did we go there so fast? Did I miss a step? What has happened to the world? One day we are united against a virus the next divided in rage. This is where people with perspective come in. The first thing I did was begin to Google quotes by those who have been through tremendously dark periods of humanity. My question to these heroes of the past, how did you keep your faith in humanity? I didn't have to look far at all, injustice, hatred, pain and dark horrific acts of humans to other humans literally litters all of history. This information alone isn't a comfort, because knowing the world has and is always filled with tremendous suffering, injustice and pain doesn't help. I learned very early living in this world that one of the best ways to survive is to stop asking why, but change the question to “what now?” Bigotry, racism, hatred, intolerance, people have tried for centuries to delve to the root cause, where has it gotten us? A word that terrifies me has come to the fore, reverse racism. Have we replaced one form of racism with another? Instead of getting stuck on the question “why did this happen?” we need to focus on “what now?” What can we do? Can people hold different views and still respect one another? What about different religions? Politics? Why can't we tolerate differences? This question, has had no answer that suits. It never has. How can we tolerate others? This question may be more answerable. I don't have the answers, so instead will bring in the wisdom from our sages and the Torah. Here are a few possible ways. Try them on for size and let's see if they might be able to help with the what now? The Torah does not waste one word, every letter, every line every phrase is perfectly poised and the information contained within holds a message and meaning for us. G-D does not need to boast, arrogance