Faith releases us from being hostages of fright - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

Faith releases us from being hostages of fright

April 10th, 2022 SanTan Sun News
Faith releases us from being hostages of fright

By Rabbi Irwin Wiener

The nations of the world are so preoccupied with their anxieties and ambitions that they do not realize that the very foundation of civilized life is being undermined.-Mordecai Kaplan                                             

Everything seems so mundane given the daily experiences we read about: Death, destruction, hysteria, bravery, patriotism and financial ruin.

There seems to be no one who is able to stand up and offer words of consolation and encouragement to a nation, a family, and a person. There is only faith that has been encouraged by the bravery and patriotism of a few.

Faith has sustained us in all sorts of ordeals. Faith is the underlying ability to cope with adversity. Faith allows us to understand without asking why. Faith helps us realize that there is good and there is evil. It is up to us to determine which will prevail.

“Be of strong heart,” the prophets tell us. Be of strong heart for our own sake and for the sake of all that was needlessly sacrificed. Sometimes we find it difficult to understand everything that is happening so our faith is put to the test.

Sometimes we can’t imagine a world so corrupt that our faith is shaken to the core. Sometimes we see death on such a large scale and hatred seething from the mouths of people we thought to be innocent that our faith is driven into hiding.

In our lifetime we have seen the lack of humanity so unimaginable that we shudder to even believe it was possible. The world seems so polarized that we can’t see the light because of all the darkness and somewhere in that darkness is our faith that we fear will never surface.

Our lives are so fragile and so short. I recently began cleaning out old files and old pictures and my life seemed to flash right before me.  here has the time gone?  What has happened to all the dreams? People are no longer here that once graced our lives. The ranks are thinning and with it all the laughter and tears of the generations.

Reality stepped back in and I realized that that was then and this is now.

But have things really changed? We are aging but the world seems to be in a standstill because the same threats and hurts and disappointments are there. The only difference is that the date has changed. No wonder we lack the spirit, the spark, and the flame of faith that carried us to this moment in time.

Civilization is being undermined by a new order of extinction. Once we faced an enemy and we knew whom they were and how to fight to win. Once we rallied around the concept of survival that included all of humanity. Now we don’t know what is happening to us.

We look around and we see greed and despair and killing on such a level that it appears that there really is no hope, no expectation of renewal.

And perhaps there are no words other than the silent words found in our hearts and minds that try to make sense of that which is senseless. We need the words found in our souls to emerge to free us from the fear of the past and give us the resoluteness to confront this evil. 

And those words, as they emerge, should encourage us to act as one to overcome this madness. No imaginary wish of understanding when there is no one to reason with. No extending of a hand of friendship to be grasped by the clutches of madness.

Mordecai Kaplan understood years ago that civilization would be undermined by concern only for the few with no care for the many. He tried to explain that parochialism is not the road to salvation but a sure path to undermining the very principle of endurance.

The lesson is so simple it escapes us: If we remain hostages to fright we will, in the end, destroy ourselves. If we lose our resolve to remove the “r” and fight then we will have relinquished our obligation to ourselves and to God who gave us the ability to survive the ordeals of everyday living with a one syllable word: Faith.

Rabbi Irwin Wiener D.D. is spiritual leader of the Sun Lakes Jewish Congregation.