What's the worst that can happen? For some people, apparently the worst than can happen is that the worst doesn't happen.
Last year's snow was a psychological fault line dividing my life into two distinct parts. Before last year I would say: "Oh great! It's snowing and the snow is sticking!" This year I said: "Oh great! The snow is melting!"
Last year they probably talked on the radio, warning of a big 'once-in-a-score-year' snowstorm, but who really pays attention to the weather reports? Then, the snows invaded. Thursday night I was delighted by the snow. In the morning all the hills from Eli, our town, to the horizon in the north to Schem (Nablus), was a white winter wonderland. It was beautiful. But…
The electricity had gone off in the night. No electricity meant no light and more important: no heat. The roads were closed because of the ice and snow. Then the phones went dead. Next the cell-phone batteries gave up the ghost. The supermarket was closed – so we had to improvise chalot for Shabbat by overturning a large frying pan to make pita. Then Shabbat morning the water stopped coming into the house – no electricity no water pumps to push the water up the hill.
It was then that I learned an important message about humanity. Sitting there in the cold without water I thought: "Oh! If only we had water!" When the water started flowing again, after Shabbat, I immediately started thinking: "Oh! If only we had electricity!" We always want more! If it's more morality, more character, more good deeds – that's great. In creature comforts we have to learn to be happy with our lot.
For me, walking in the snowbound village to synagogue early Shabbat morning, I felt like Tevye the milkman in Anatevka more than in Eli of the 21th century. I could almost hear the snow-laden branches humming: Tradition! But for many, last year's white, icy siege was so traumatic, up here in the hills, that when the forecast this year predicted snow – people expected and planned for the worst. Going with the flow we bought emergency lights, twelve water bottles for drinking, filled the bathtub and charged the cell-phone batteries. I even bought a kerosene heater, if the electricity goes out, and my dear wife bought me a pair of high boots for the snow, the kind I always wanted (just like Tevye's). Some drove for the coast or south with the first snowflake. Everyone expected the worst: no electricity, water, heat or contact with the outside world.
This year we find ourselves on the way to elections. Often many of us think: "If ----- wins the election then the town/country/world/universe will collapse!!" Because of that people tend to be apprehensive, which makes them think negatively and be susceptible to negative electioneering. I do not wish to hear how the world will fall apart if the other guy wins the elections; I want to hear how you're going to make the country a better place!
Without detracting one iota from the importance of the elections, it may be safe to assume that the worst won't happen. There are people who are tasked with the responsibility of thinking how to combat the worst possible scenario, like military planners. But for the rest of us – it doesn’t make us healthier happier or better people by thinking: "Oy Vey! The sky might fall!!"
This winter, when the snow fell, it melted quickly, the roads were open most of the time, and most important: the electricity didn't fail! So the worst didn't happen. I now have a pair of high boots for Purim, to dress up like Tevye the milkman!