Sunday, July 26, 2009

How Scared Should I Be?

I don't know about the rest of you, but I've been encountering a lot of people who are going into panic mindsets over the current situations in the world. These people are sure that we're headed to World War III and a second holocaust, and they've even assigned each of our current world leaders roles, matching them up to the leaders present in the 1930's and 1940's. "So and so is the new Hitler, and this guy is Neville Chamberlain, and that guy is FDR (who, just in case you didn't know, ignored the situation in Europe as long as he could, even once he knew what was going on)."

There's talk of nuclear warfare against Israel and worldwide anti-semitism, there's fear of a complete economic meltdown, universal Muslim takeovers, and high cholesterol.

And with all that fear going around and the people at Fox News fanning the flames, there are also an immense number of people who don't seem concerned enough. I've heard these people compared with sheep to the slaughter, Jews before the Holocaust, and any number of metaphors for docile idiots.

So, here's my question: Where should I be? Right now, I'm bouncing back and forth from both ends of the spectrum. Sometimes I'm terrified, and other times I'm nonchalant, laughing at how paranoid everyone is. Where should I be? Is there really a happy medium here? Can I be afraid that all of these doomsday predictions may come to pass, but still remain level-headed enough to at least give off the impression of sanity? And what's the point of being afraid if there's nothing I can do? I've always felt that I want to go mad before I die. That way, I won't see it coming.

I have no point to make here. I wish I did. At the very least, I'm requesting insights. I'm curious to know what others think, especially after reading this article.


Rachel said...

That article said basically what I was thinking before I read it, and what motivated me to write that poem I sent around as having just been published.

And what I was thinking before I read it was this:

You should be afraid, and I'll tell you what you should be afraid of. You should be afraid of a Jewish Israeli government that spends more time backbiting than legislating. You should be afraid of haredi rioting and Jewish-run newspapers that put it on the front page. You should be afraid of money-laundering rings in New York's Syrian Jewish community, pyramid schemes on Wall Street, and the story we ran for tomorrow's paper about Shas members defending the detainees (guess what page it's on). You should be afraid that these detainees probably justified everything they did as being within the bounds of Halacha. You should be afraid of people who twist themselves into pretzels to make a siyum at the right time so they can eat meat during the nine days.

You should not be afraid of Ahmadinejad or of Obama or of North Korea or of worldwide anti-Semitism or of Hamas or Hizbullah or long-range missiles, and you should certainly not be afraid of Hitler. You should be afraid of coalition-builders in Jerusalem and lashon hora in the Baltimore Orthodox community. You should not be afraid of people wearing pants; you should be afraid of the hypocrisy that makes them recoil from frum society. You should be undeterred by Iran's nuclear core at Bushehr; you should be terrified by the rotten core of the Jewish community and the embarrassment of its outcasts.

You should look on what we have become, and you should do one thing that we forget to do when we're shouting at each other, the one thing we should all be doing together this one day of the year of pure mourning spirit: You should cry.

And once you have finished crying like your heart could burst, you should do something. Think before you speak. Be dan l'kaf zechut. Help out at a soup kitchen. Be really accurate about clocking your hours at work. Something. I don't know if it will be enough to keep us all safe from nuclear war. But it might mean that at worst, there will be survivors. And at best--that we can correct the damage that Hashem knows needs desperately to be repaired.

MIL said...

FDR did nothing for the Jews because of the most famous Jew in America at the time. He should be cursed and forgotten. He advised against letting the east European Jews into America. He didn't want Riff Raff.

For laughs check out this: in the 40's there was a white paper ( gov research publication) discussion the option of sending the Jews to the Moon.

Any way Fear is a waste of time.