Everyone Calm Down

Welcome, I guess, to the first week of the new administration. The past few months have rung with shouts, accusations, well- and ill-founded arguments for and against the transition to new leadership, hair-pulling, curses, beatings and general mayhem. Nice. Very dignifed.

What on earth is it all for?

Lev melachim b’Yad Hashem, we’re taught. And it’s a key lesson; it provides context for our mission in this life and the suffering we have undergone in history. Everything happens for a reason, and that reason is that Hashem wanted it to happen. To paraphrase my brother’s old Rebbi (and take him out of context), it was good for us.

That only applies in class? Not at the Shabbos table, in text, in conversations with our friends, our family, people we don’t even know? It’s acceptable to dismiss the role of Hashem in global events and get into fights over the honor of people who never knew we existed and wouldn’t care if they did?

Common wisdom recommends that we accept the things we cannot change and find the courage to change those we can. Surely the only things we can change are ourselves. And surely that’s crucially important, contributing to making us better people and better ovdei Hashem.

So can we just chill with the political talk? It’s just air, and we could be using our breath for better things.

Ayala Baum