The Nine Days are, for me, depressing, introspective, and frightening. I can almost feel a gasp of relief when Shabbos Nachamu comes; it is like a pent-up emotion, suddenly released, that I was only half-aware was there.
The news headlines don't really help much. With every story I read it is so clear how Hashem is tightening the vise of galus, trying to make us give up and turn to Him so He can finally redeem us. "Oh--the economic crisis wasn't enough for you? Iran's nuclear threat didn't do it? Okay, how about really serious anti-Semitism? No good? Okay, how about rabbonim being arrested so that the whole world will look askance upon Orthodox Jews. Does that hurt? Are you crying "uncle" yet?! No? Okay, how about in-fighting, Jew against Jew--even religious Jew against religious Jew, as in the case of the riots in Yerushalayim over the Hadassah case?" The noose of galus is pulled tighter and tighter, words like "another Holocaust" are bandied around with eery nonchalance.
Aside from the roiling cauldron of fear that dances and grows inside my heart, there's another emotion--I guess I could best describe it as somber self-introspection. It's the voice inside me that says, "You? What a joke! You're not doing enough! What are YOU doing to better your avodas Hashem? How do you ever expect Geulah if you don't get off your seat and start working some more spirituality into your life? What's with the lack of davening? What's with the lashon hara? What about being a good mother and wife? What about exalting Torah properly? How about tznius?!"
What about...what about..what about...ad infinitum. The accusatory finger wags and points and comes up with some pretty startling, downright shameful evidence. Woof.
So I rambled about it to my husband last night, railed against my horrible, less-than self, told him how far I feel and how there's no way that my actions are possibly bringing Geulah any time soon. And my husband--ever so wise!--pointed out something that I believe falls under the category of einfald (genius thought). I have to double-check with him about the source for this idea, but I will reveal it to you now, dear reader, in all its shining simple complexity, in the hopes that perhaps you, too, can benefit from its beauty. He said, "When you tell yourself you're a nothing, you're not very likely to be able to improve. When you tell yourself, instead, 'I am destined for greatness!', you're automatically on different footing. Surely, a person destined for greatness ought to be able to fit in a few small behavior changes each day, working toward a higher Self!"
That's it, folks. For today, I am a person destined for greatness, and all joking aside, it's true--simply because my soul is an immortal piece of G-dliness with magnificent, unlimited qualities. I think I will try to climb out of the doldrums of self-doubt and instead, do something constructive--like mumble a little tefillah. I mean, people destined for greatness do mumble tefillos, don't they?
How do YOU deal with the Nine Days and current world events?
About Riva Pomerantz
I'm a freelance writer, widely published in several magazines including the internationally-distributed Ami Magazine and Mishpacha Jewish Family Weekly. Riva's work also appears on the award-winning website www.aish.com, amongst others. You can buy my books here.