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Din and Rachamim

05/15/2020 11:30:54 AM


Over the holidays this past year, I talked about Din and Rachamim - justice and mercy. I spoke about how we constantly have to balance between these two poles. Sometimes we need to judge others, and other times we need to be lenient and err on the side of mercy. If this is true of how we treat others, then it is equally true of how we treat ourselves.

For those of us working at home I worry we may be erring a little too much towards Din, judgment. We may wonder why we are not as productive as we think we ought to be. We may think to ourselves that we have more time but are not getting as much done as we were before the pandemic (although for the record, I am not totally sold on the idea that we really do have more time, but for the sake of this learning let’s assume we do).

So let us say we do have more time than we did before. Why is it we might be less productive than we think we should be? The reason is that time has to be coupled with something else. That something else is energy. Just because we have more time does not necessarily mean we have more energy.

Consider the Israelites. They get freed from slavery, therefore, they have more time than they did before. However, we need to factor in the other variables. They are now walking more than they did before, carrying around their own stuff, and pitching their own tents. While these tasks may not take up as much time as the tasks from when they were slaves, they may in fact take more energy. The tasks in which  they are being asked to participate perhaps take up more bandwidth than the tasks of their previous lives, just like us during this pandemic.

When we begin to factor in the variables - when we begin to look at how much energy our new daily routines take - we are practicing Rachamim. We need look at our lives with understanding. In looking at our new lives we need to not just consider time, but factor in energy as well. This is a marathon and many of us have trained as sprinters. So while we have been given more time to complete the race, we need to recognize that our energy may not be sufficient. We need to pace ourselves. We will finish this marathon and we will push ourselves, but we need to be mindful of our energy levels and tell ourselves it is okay to not be as productive as we think we should.

You are doing great. Be strong and exercise understanding, not just of others, but of yourself as well.

Shabbat Shalom

Fri, May 29 2020 6 Sivan 5780