Out of proportion

Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

We always try to keep things in proportion. But as Tisha B’Av approaches, in the midst of the corona crisis, social worker Roni Printz writes that sometimes letting things get out of proportion is appropriate.

“I remember once when I fasted on Tisha B’Av I was exhausted and sitting outside the synagogue when an old man who had come to pray looked at me and said: ‘Nu, in the concentration camps it was worse.’ True, in the camps it was worse, but today as I am deeply immersed in therapeutic work, I know that this attitude is not helpful. Often we try to smooth things over, not to make a problem into a big deal, and to keep things in proportion. But this is sometimes a mistake since we cannot always diminish pain, much less erase it. Each soul is unique. To compare what happens within us to what has happened or is happening outside is to erase this uniqueness from creation. We do not heal the pain by minimizing it or worse yet, by not recognizing it altogether.
We are living through a time of crisis, through days of true sadness and mourning. We need to provide a place for grief and not say ‘Yalla, get going, snap out of it, this happens to everyone.’ For even when we approach someone sitting shiva (in mourning for a close relative), we do not really console that person. We are not capable of it. Instead we turn to the One who is beyond all proportions and say: ‘May you be consoled from Heaven.'”

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סיון רהב-מאיר

Sivan Rahav-Meir is a media personality and lecturer. Married to Yedidya, the mother of five. Lives in Jerusalem. She works for Israel TV news, writes a column for Yediot Aharonot newspaper, and hosts a weekly radio show on Galei Zahal (Army Radio). Her lectures on the weekly Torah portion are attended by hundreds and the live broadcast attracts thousands more listeners throughout the world.
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