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The universe is telling us to dial it down

This pandemic has influenced my life as a Jew as well as a citizen of the world. We’ve talked much about the “calling” or rather “screaming” to heal the earth. God’s Bereshit, the pure creation, has been tampered with.

Jews and non-Jews know this by now.

The reminder of the revelation that we control nothing has released me from fear, guilt and expectation.

David Lonner

I will never look at nature or the sky in the same way. It is our oxygen, our refuge, our survival. We’ve lost our deep roots in nature and the wilderness, chasing after money, power and fame.

This pause has made me realize that we are all connected. Everything is alive and created with care, divinity and purpose. That means respecting all living things – animals, insects, birds, trees, plants and the air.

I no longer squash bugs in my house. I stopped peeing in the bushes.

I know it sounds small, but it is an expression of my respect and connectivity to nature. This is what the Bible teaches us beyond rules and the 10 Commandments.

At times I reflect on the story of Noah’s Ark. How have we gotten to this point of destruction in our current narrative? It is devastating.

I find myself spending more time in my garden, my new sanctuary, and go deeper into prayer than when I’m in a proper minyan. It allows me a one-on-one with Hashem and engagement in hitbodedut, where I say out loud what I’m thinking and express the wonder and awe I have for the beauty of God’s creation.

I have been struck by the “shir hashirim” at the end of my Shacharit prayers. On Wednesdays, for example, part of the shir says “Oh God of vengeance appear! Arise O judge of the earth, render retribution to the haughty. Until when will the wicked exult?” As a society, we have pummeled the earth and are now in a state of civil discourse over how to heal it and ourselves.

I hear it loud and clear: The universe is telling us to dial it down.

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As I listen to the silence and sounds of nature, I am struck by its harmony. I find myself with a profound sense of joy, and trying not to feel guilty about it.

The reminder of the revelation that we control nothing has released me from fear, guilt and expectation. Whether we believe that God controls it all, our fate and destiny, we are all forced to live in the moment.

I reflect often about what my authentic contribution to this planet can be as I shift into a new mode. I am grateful for my health and all the love I have in my life. However, being a Jew requires us to step up and repair the world.

I ask myself every single day: what more can I do?

David Lonner is the founder of The David Lonner Company, a management and production company based in Los Angeles.

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