Dear Jido – January 2024

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Dear Jido, 

Shortly after the Hamas attack in Israel on Simchat Torah, I knew I had to read less news. The stories, pictures, and videos of the atrocities in Israel were just too much for me to handle. I’d read something in the morning and couldn’t function the rest of the day. I just had to read less. 

At the same time, I don’t feel it is proper to stick my head in the sand and  avoid the news altogether. I would like to know if you can offer some suggestions on how to cope with dealing with these tragic events while leading a productive life here in America. 

Signed, 

Consumed 

 

Dear Consumed, 

 

There’s no question that we are all consumed, engrossed, and pre-occupied by the events in Israel and the world’s reactions to this tragedy. Be’ezrat Hashem, we hope that by the time you read this, we have already marched to victory in Israel, here in America, and everywhere that we live as proud Jews. 

 

But how do you manage to show your concern and devotion while still focusing on everyday life?  There are a number of things you can and should do. 

 

Number one – we must all increase our mitzvot. Whether that is by reading Tehillim, praying more earnestly, giving more charity, or supporting those organizations in Israel that are directly assisting in the war effort. This will give you a sense of fulfillment that you are doing your part to help. 

 

Number two – we have to stay informed.  There is no end to the texts, Instagrams, social media, and newspapers (both Jewish and secular) that are keeping the stories on the front page. How do you limit that exposure? Tell yourself – I limit my time reading about these events to 10 minutes a day. I have found that the single most authoritative and comprehensive reporting can be found on DailyAlert.Org, which is a product of the Jerusalem Center of Affairs.  It’s a 6-8 minute read and presents all sides – good and  bad. 

 

But here’s the kicker. “Listen” to this story. 

 

There was a great rabbi from pre-World War II Europe who used to visit our community as a speaker for many years until his passing. He taught me a great lesson. When he was in America, he used to commute from Brooklyn to Monsey several times a week where he founded a major outreach organization.  While driving, he avidly listened to WINS News Radio for over an hour each way. One day, someone gave him a tape of a shiur to listen to (it was actually one of Rabbi Avigdor Miller’s). When he got back into the car the next day and put on the radio, as he said, it was just more of the same. He came to the conclusion -“The world goes on whether I listen to the news or not.” He turned off the radio for good and focused on what was important. 

 

Life goes on. Do what you can to help spiritually and practically. Limit and focus your exposure so that you are aware of what is going on but don’t let yourself become overwhelmed. Remember, Hashem is in charge and everything is for the good. 

 

Jido