By Rabbi Dovid Markel
When I was studying in Kolel in Crown Heights, the Rosh Kolel and prominent rav of the Crown Heights community, R. Avraham Heller, related the following story:
During the Bolshevik Revolution there was a water carrier in a small shtetl who once remarked to his friend.
“I’ve noticed a strange thing; when I’m carrying the water, at times the water on the right spills a little and I hear that day the Red Army advanced. Other days, the water in the left bucket spills a little and the White Army is victorious. I really think that I affect the outcome of the war!”
When his wife overheard the conversation she screamed at him: “Mottel, didn’t I tell you not to involve yourself in politics?!”
We often delude ourselves that our obsessive political conversations and postings have some sort of consequence on the elections, or the political state of affairs, but to paraphrase the serenity prayer, we should have the wisdom to know the difference between that which we cannot change and that which we can.
( R. Pinchas of Koretz once noted: “The world is full of light, it is hidden though due to all the nonsense that is spoken.” I think this an apt description of current discourse on social-media.)
R. Baruch of Mezibuz once stated: “If I am sent to purgatory, I will stand on the roof and speak Torah. All the tzaddikim will gather to hear, and it will automatically be transformed into paradise.”
Though we may not always be able to control our situation in life, we must realize that through our perspective and actions we can transform a veritable hell into a paradise.
Instead of expending so much energy on matters we cannot change, we should instead expend energies on making the world a better place – sharing a Torah though, doing kindness for our fellow, and generally being good people, ready and willing to dedicate our lives to G-d and His Torah.
In doing so we shall indeed create a veritable G-dly paradise in this world, and the Almighty G-d, who runs the entire show, will ensure that His people – and all of humanity – have revealed goodness in all physical and spiritual matters.