Translation by Yehoshua Siskin
Several days ago, a famous person passed away. Within half an hour, someone expressed to me on Instagram that it was a shame I had not yet written something about him.
We are accustomed to hearing about unfolding events as soon as they occur and to reacting to them immediately. Commentary is expected to come instantaneously so it seems that whoever is quickest to respond has the greatest understanding of what just happened. If you didn't tweet your two cents right away, you missed the boat.
My brother-in-law Yisrael Meir opened my eyes to a different perspective, as articulated in the book of Deuteronomy (Devarim) that we are now reading in the Torah. There we are instructed how to properly assess reality. Only after forty years of leadership does Moshe Rabbeinu offer his commentary on the events that occurred during the people's desert journey. What once was a frightening challenge now seems of marginal significance, while what appeared to be of little importance now looms large with eternal meaning. With the passage of time, we better understand our past mistakes and successes. The events themselves may even appear differently -- viewed as ephemeral details of a lasting story.
So take a breath, whether it comes to cabin fever with spouse and children during our long summer vacation or to challenges of our daily routine. So just take a breath. Even if we can't think forty years ahead, how about four months? The book of Deuteronomy is telling us to step back and try to see how each event in our own lives will be written about in days to come.