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August 1, 2015 / 16 Av, 5775
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When The Only One Left Is The Puppeteer: A Spiritual Perspective on the Gulf Oil Spill


There are eerie similarities between the flood and the oil spill. According to one opinion in the Talmud, the flood started during the month of Iyar – the same month this oil spill began. Both the flood and the oil spill were triggered by something unleashed from deep below the surface. And, considering the rampant fraud and theft plaguing our society, the reason given by our tradition for the flood is cause for reflection.

As mentioned above, it is very possible that the use of illegitimate means to hasten the oil extraction led to the broken pipe. Using illegitimate methods to gain something is a form of theft. The image of oil washing up on our shores is also symbolic of theft – something dark and foreboding encroaching upon an area where it does not belong.

Though we strive to be honest and ethical, most of us could stand at least some improvement in those areas. We can utilize the anger and frustration we feel over the oil spill as motivation to focus on these areas.

To get started we can ask ourselves, (1) “Am I doing anything that, though I can rationalize why it’s OK, is against the law?” and (2) “What is a gap in my life in this area and what can I do to plug the hole?”

After we learn the first lesson – reliance on God and seeking His help – the second lesson – respecting boundaries – follows naturally. When our chief priority is having God’s guidance and assistance in our lives, we will never want something He has forbidden. All we will ever want is what God, out of His deep love, wants to give us.

About the Author: Yaakov Weiland has an MSW from Fordham School of Social Service and lives in New York City. Visit his blog at yaakovweiland.blogspot.com.


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