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  • Writer's pictureZack Bodner

We must have humility.

Remember when Nietzsche said, “God is dead?” As humans, we think we conquered the world: we tamed all the other animals on the planet; we created ways to breathe underwater; we invented ways to fly; and we can even travel into space, “the final frontier.” We are at the apex of the food chain and can overcome any challenge and overpower any foe. Nothing is beyond our reach. However, every year around the world we see the power of a non-human force. We see hurricanes, tornadoes, tsunamis, earthquakes, fires, avalanches, storms, and floods destroy lives and the very things humans have created. And now, we have seen a pandemic that has devastated the entire planet. Clearly, we need to humble ourselves before the power of Mother Nature, the universe, the One. Said more simply, God is very much alive. We have learned the hard way that we are not all-powerful, that we are still quite vulnerable and that we shouldn’t become too arrogant. While we are indeed unique among God’s creations, we ought to be more humble. That’s one more lesson COVID has taught us that is deeply embedded in Jewish wisdom. According to Rabbi Simcha Bunim, we should all carry two notes, one in our left pocket and one in our right. “When feeling lowly and depressed, discouraged or disconsolate, one should reach into the right pocket, and, there, find the words: “For my sake was the world created.” But when feeling high and mighty one should reach into the left pocket, and find the words: “I am but dust and ashes.”” We still have much to learn about the ways of the world, and humility ought to be on the top of the list.

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