Rabbi Stephen Slater


Feeling overwhelmed?

Finally, it’s about to be 5783. Yet at the start of this year it is likely many of us may feel overextended.

For parents, as school starts we re-enter greater normality, but we may also experience a variety of difficulties. We all let go of a lot during COVID-19. As we resume more normal patterns of life, some may struggle with a sense of feeling overwhelmed.

In addition to our own jobs, we need every day to do the endless list of tasks that make up “life administration.” In an election year, the media coverage is vicious and the additional specter of economic woes, rising geopolitical tensions and the ongoing war in Ukraine – none of which individually we have control of – may leave us on the brink.

How do we cope with this continuous sense of being overwhelmed?

Coping can look like survival mode when the daily goal is mostly to find small ways to reduce our pain or increase our comfort. But “survival mode” is a trap, blocking out a far more joyful way of experiencing life. At the beginning of this year, let’s ask, “How can we manage life while thriving?”

I believe that the opposite of being overwhelmed is living life wholeheartedly.

Torah assures us that in the beginning, God planted a garden called Eden. And when God looked at the world he had made, he dubbed it, “Good.” More than that, he called the humans, “Very good.”

The Torah is wisdom for life, during these High Holy Days we ponder these questions on what it takes to live well.