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On Election Day 2020

11/03/2020 05:16:30 PM


Because several people asked for some words of encouragement on this most anxious Election Day, here's what I wrote. You can see the recording here:

On Election Day 2020

A lot of us are experiencing sleepless nights, very disturbing dreams, and days filled with anxiety. It could be from COVID 19 or the state of our country or the current election or the uptick in antisemitism, racism, bigotry – you name it.

And although my bad dreams and anxious days began a while back, they really intensified in the middle of March with the shelter-in-place.

A lot of us have turned to the four basic food groups: challah, sourdough bread, ice cream, and chocolate. You know, the “19” in COVID 19 was meant to signify the year the virus was discovered, not the amount of weight we’ve put on, but there it is. Sometimes it feels like there aren’t enough meditations or yoga mat sessions to relieve the anxiety, and melatonin seems to be in short supply.

Maybe if I were an author, I could come up with brilliant words that would alleviate all the anxiety so many are feeling today. Honestly, the best I can do is offer words that bring me comfort.

My go-to mantra is adapted from the Book of Psalms 118:12. 

סַבּ֤וּנִי כִדְבוֹרִ֗ים  בְּשֵׁ֥ם יְ֝הוָ֗ה כִּ֣י אֲמִילַֽם׃

They beset me like bees … I will overcome them in God’s name.”

In other words, God and me … we got this.

The first time I found myself repeating this phrase was years ago after a particularly brutal mass shooting. I had been with a group of Muslim and Jewish women, and when we went around the circle asking what we were thinking, these were the first words that came to my mind.

They beset me like bees … I will overcome them in God’s name.”

My other anxiety-reducing mantra is Psalm 118:14/Ex. 15:2, as taught by Rabbi Shefa Gold.

עָזִּ֣י וְזִמְרָ֣ת יָ֑הּ וַֽיְהִי־לִ֝֗י לִֽישׁוּעָֽה׃

Rabbi Gold teaches, “My Strength (balanced) with the Song of God will be my salvation (Psalm 118:14, Exodus 15:2)” In this practice I find and express my strength, my will, my effort and desire when I chant “Ozi.” When I chant “v’zimrat Yah,” I open and surrender to the God-song and let it be sung through me. Then in the last phrase, “Vayahi li lishuah,” I balance those two aspects of my practice.” [1]

Well, what if God isn’t your thing? That’s ok. Everyone is aware of some powerful force or source of energy and strength in their lives that gives them a sense of comfort. So let go of the God idea and focus on whatever it is that strengthens you: your family, your friends, your community, your work.

Finally, I believe deeply and truly in channeling my energies and efforts with like-minded people who are looking to make goodness in the world. These people are out there. Find them. Let them find you.

Because the bottom line: together … we got this.

Kein y’hi ratzon, may it be so.



Wed, May 29 2024 21 Iyar 5784