We are bombarded by constant distraction. This, I believe, is a tactic of our yetzer hora, the evil inclination, which tries to take us away from a clear view of reality by assailing our minds with a constant fine spray of distraction from every angle, much of it in the guise of “important things to deal with.”
Sometimes it seems the Ten Plagues are being visited upon us and that our world is crumbling, just as in ancient Egypt. The plague of lice can be compared to our contemporary plague of mental distraction. Like lice, these distractions seem to be everywhere, each one making you feel as if you’re going bananas – you can’t concentrate or focus on what is real and important in life. Sometimes your entire life seems to fly by while you deal with the lice. And then, all of a sudden, you realize a lifetime has passed and you’ve missed everything. The distractions have become your entire life.
“Shema Yisrael, Hashem Elokeinu, Hashem Echad.” God is One. Perhaps that means there is nothing else. Perhaps that means all the distractions are of no importance whatsoever.
Perhaps we should focus completely on God and believe that, if we do, He will solve all our problems; everything will be arranged for us if we understand He is our King and His will runs every detail of our lives as well as the life of the universe He created and maintains.
We are approaching Purim. For the longest time I wondered why is Purim so close to Pesach. Isn’t it redundant? The two holidays seem to focus on a variation of the same story. In each case, Am Yisrael is totally surrounded by mortal enemies intent on destroying us, God forbid. In each case, we do teshuvah and Hashem saves us from what would otherwise be total annihilation.
So why do we need both Purim and Pesach? Didn’t we already learn this from Purim? And then we have Pesach a month later?
Finally it hit me: I was asking the questions all wrong.
Purim didn’t come before Pesach. The events of Pesach occurred hundreds of years before the events of Purim. The questions should be: Didn’t we learn our lesson in biblical Egypt? Why did we need to repeat this scenario again hundreds of years later in the days of Mordechai and Esther?
Answer: Because we don’t learn. The same scenario keeps repeating itself. That’s why history is filled with Pharaohs and Amaleks and Hamans and Tituses and crusaders and inquisitors and Hitlers and Arafats and bin Ladens and… right up to the present.
Hashem keeps saving us and then we make the same mistake all over again. And so He saves us again. When will we learn? When will we realize that Hashem is Everything and that the lice of this world are … simply lice? Do we have to wait until we are once again at the point of annihilation? But maybe this time Hashem will finally be tired of us, God forbid. Can we assume He will save us again?
It is time to understand that the Ultimate Days are upon us. It is time to return forever to Our Father in Heaven. It is time to stop confusing distraction with Reality. We have become corrupted by the materialism that surrounds us. We have become so cynical that we don’t believe we can do teshuvah. We think we are just flesh and blood and desires and cars and salaries and computers and television and news and ….
NO. We are the Children of Almighty God, “a treasure … from among all the peoples … a kingdom of kohanim and a holy nation” (Exodus 19:5-6). We may be distracted by the lice crawling all over us, but if we truly want God to help us, He will pull us out of slavery and bring us up to the Holy City of Jerusalem to witness the coming of Moshiach ben Dovid and the rebuilding of the Eternal Temple.
Then I said, “Woe is me for I shall die, for I am a man of unclean lips and I dwell among a people of unclean lips.” One of the Seraphim flew to me and in his hand was a coal, which he took with tongs from atop the Altar. He touched it to my mouth and said, “Behold! This has touched your lips; your iniquity is removed and your sin shall be atoned.” [Isaiah 6:5-7]