By Rabbi Dovid Markel
There is a certain period when things are “just fine” that is the sweet spot one’s true standing in their relationship with God.
When things are overwhelmingly bad, we cannot be blamed per se, as the verse (Shemot, 6:9) states: “they did not hearken to Moses because of [their] shortness of breath and because of [their] hard labor.”
How can we pay attention to the word of God, when we are overwhelmed, preoccupied and our attention is pulled elsewhere?!
Can the Jewish People truly be at fault when they did not properly hearken to God in the midst of back-breaking slave labor that took all their time and attention? Can they be judged when they were sequestered in cramped and filthy ghettos struggling to survive? Can they be blamed for not paying attention when they were being persecuted, beaten and killed in crusades, inquisitions, and pogroms? Can a generation doomed to gas chambers and mass executions be at fault when they lose their faith in G-d?
This is conveyed in the Talmud’s (Kiddushin 29b) instruction concerning when an individual should marry: ” Can a person engage in Torah study with a millstone hanging from his neck?!”
When things are going too well, and one is faced with the test of wealth it is also possible that an individual will forsake God.
This is expressed in the verse (Devarim 32:15) “And Yeshurun became fat and rebelled; you grew fat, thick and rotund; [Israel] forsook the God Who made them, and spurned the [Mighty] Rock of their salvation.”
When people are struck with the test of wealth, it also occurs that the overindulgence in corporeal pleasures causes that a person becomes coarse, and no longer in tune with G-d’s message.
The sweet spot to know where we are in our relationship with God, is how what we do when things are generally “fine” — not too good, not too bad, not too much wealth and not too much poverty.
At that moment, it becomes clear whether we are interested in God’s message for humanity, or not…
Generally speaking, from a historical perspective, the overall state of the Jewish People today is one where things are generally “fine.”
It is at this time when our actions to choose to connect to God are indicative that we care about this relationship at the core, and it is, therefore, our actions now that will effectuate the ultimate redemption….