Sukkos, 120 Words. Altruism Might be a Diversion
I know a fellow in therapy.
In order to reconfigure his thinking, he is, amongst other strategies, being painfully weaned off various chemicals upon which he has allowed himself [perhaps driven himself] to become dependant.
He told me, he thinks of his suffering and torment as an opportunity to gain a perspective and appreciate the difficulties that others must be enduring.
I praised him for his nobility and humane character.
But he shocked me. He is not thinking, he informed me, about others in his predicament but about others in other parts of the world who go hungry for food and destitute for clothing and basic necessities, and who would willingly sacrifice much [and not see it as such] to have a fraction of what he has and what he has trashed in his few years so far on this world.
And he is thinking about this because –
it is a successful diversion to avoid thinking about himself. He does not really want to think about changing. He wants to BE changed but he does not want to DO the changing.
And I wonder if when I live in my Sukkah and contemplate the various perspectives it suggests to me, if I too am diverting my mind from what I really ought to be thinking about. I perhaps too readily think of the things that I WANT to happen but am rather unwilling to MAKE happen. This world is but a transit station. We learn and teach this. We [say we] WANT this. But in that case why do we divert so much of our energy into living as though this world is a permanent and everlasting haven?
Sure, we [say we] WANT Moshiach but have we packed our bags with the things that are important to have and with which to herald Moshiach’s arrival?