You’re Not That Great

Ronit Sherwin

This week began with a whirlwind. The warnings of the impending rain/sleet/ice/snow storm that swept through Missouri created frenzy on Monday. Grocery stores were packed with shoppers, expecting to be homebound for the week. Walgreens was out of flashlights, salt and candles. Businesses and schools closed early to allow everyone to arrive home safely before the big storm hit. Meetings, appointments and events were cancelled for the day and the week.

Amazing. We are an incredibly advanced and controlling species. Human beings have mastered communication so brilliantly so as to never be unavailable, be it by page, e-mail, cell and/or text. Our homes and buildings are so plentiful and elaborate that we could literally have no need to leave them for weeks at a time. Our cars have televisions, navigation systems and voices that will respond to our commands. We can even attend university on-line, without ever having the experience of living in a dorm room.

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But we still have no control over Mother Nature. I think it is fabulous. G-d must have invented the phrase, “we are only human,” since we seem to forget that we are. Mother Nature puts us in our place and reminds us how little we truly control in our lives. It is with the same brilliance that Jews celebrate Sukkot. We construct these make-shift huts in which to dwell, celebrating with great joy and the many resources of the fall harvest; only to remind us how truly fragile we are as human beings. The sukkah forces us to feel the elements – cool breeze, misty rain, darkness and mystery of the stars.

With that said, I was grateful the storm occurred in February, and not during Sukkot. The message though is similar: “You’re not that great,” I imagine G-d saying. We can always be humbled.