When we look back at the pandemic, there will be many things that we will remember and take away from our experience. Some will most definitely cause us some pain in reliving it, while others may serve as reminders for us and may even bring us some warmth. Bear with me while I explain what I mean.
Although two years ago, we may have been aware of how interconnected our world is, we may not have truly realized the impact of an event that takes place halfway around the world could impact our daily lives. See what I mean? It is that deep understanding of interconnectedness that I know I am going to take away and will remain with me the rest of my life.
I bring this up after the world gathered together for its biennial sports competition, better known as the Olympic Games. This year’s games didn’t seem to have the same drama or connectedness past games have had, but nonetheless, we sat and watched the world’s athletes compete in sports that many of us have never tried… I mean, come on… raise your hand if you have ever “curled a stone” or participated in a Nordic Combined race.
And while all of that was going on, we have also been seeing what has been transpiring along the Russian/Ukrainian border. While this may seem a bit unusual for me to discuss, I bring it up as an illustration of how something that many of us may not truly understand is going to impact all of us. Take for instance the stock market…. the tension and concern of what will transpire is already wreaking havoc as we have seen. Or how about what is going to happen to gasoline prices with the very real likelihood of the sanctions against Russia to include the Nord Stream 2 pipeline?
As Jews, we have always understood that as people we are connected. In the Talmud (Shevuot 39a), we find the following teaching, near the end of the tractate, written in Aramaic, that states “Kol yisrael arevim zeh bazeh.” It means all of Israel are responsible for each other. And since we are responsible for one another, we can extrapolate that we must be connected.
If you stop and think about it… being connected is a good thing. Not only does it give meaning and purpose to people, but it also adds a deeper understanding of our role and responsibility as humans to one another. Now it may not feel that way the next time you stop at the gas pump to fill your tank, but in the bigger picture, it does. The hard part though is when events that are beyond our control impact our lives and there is very little we can do.
Some may say that this is just “the price we pay.” I choose to look at it slightly differently. Situations like this should remind all of us that our actions and decisions can potentially have huge consequences and impact lives in ways we might not quite understand or comprehend. So, before we act, we need to think about this and keep it in mind.