A student told me a joke he had read on the internet: Israel is way ahead of everyone. While the rest of the world is still grappling with Covid-19, Israel is already two disasters ahead—the Mt. Meron stampede disaster and the military campaign against Hamas. Gallows humor isn’t funny, nor is it meant to be. It does, however, point directly to the truth. In our case, the truth is that we are not learning from experience, and this is why we suffer.
Instead of examining why Covid-19 came to us, we tried to get rid of it as quickly as we could so we could get on with our lives. Covid gave us time to think, but instead of thinking why we got it, we thought only about what we will do when it is gone. So now that we got over it, we’re taking other blows since we didn’t learn the message that Covid came to teach us—that the problem is in our relation toward each other.
This, indeed, is our core illness: our poor relationships, sickened by ill-will. Because we didn’t learn it through Covid, we suffered blows in the form of the Meron disaster, the Guardian of the Walls campaign, and the riots of the Arabs all over Israel. At the current pace, the next blow is right around the corner.
The only change I do see from our “pre-Covid” days is that we are not so attached to our jobs anymore, or even to the concept of work as we thought of it before. We have learned to let go of the rat race, and this is a good sign. Nevertheless, it is far too little to make a real change.
A positive change in our lives will come only when we learn to focus on our connections with each other and try to build a society where people are responsible for one another and care for one another. If we stop wanting to feel superior, and start wanting to feel connected, it will affect the entire world.
Since human beings are at the top of the pyramid, everything we do or say, but mainly think, trickles down to all other levels of reality. When we have bad thoughts about each other, it produces bad results on every level of reality. By wishing harm to others, we tilt the world off balance and bad things begin to happen. If we think about it for a moment, we will realize that no other being bears ill-will toward other beings. But we, humans, bear plenty of it. In fact, we bear nothing but ill-will, as it is written, “The inclination of a man’s heart is evil from his youth” (Genesis 8:21).
Therefore, if the only being that bears ill-will toward others stops wishing others harm and begins to wish them well, everything will change accordingly. If we change our thoughts from bad to good, we won’t need to advance from bad to worse; we will go from good to better.