What’s happening in the world is overwhelming. The relentless rains are significant to us all and we can see our lives, our stories, our countries, in this context. From coast to coast, continent to continent, it could be any one of us.

Hurricane Harvey has been a devastating, heartbreaking catastrophe – made worse, unfortunately, by human greed and indifference. It’s rendered so much suffering.

We cannot ignore the demands and needs of climate change, the environment and nature. We try to conquer, but nature is a determined force.

Governments must protect its citizens. The no-zoning and anti-regulation building codes meant that Texas set itself up for failure. Explosive chemical plants were built next to schools and residents. And the AG, now Governor, asked for less transparency on what was being stored in those toxic plants.

The White House just rolled back requirements for businesses and corporations to report gender, race and ethnic pay gaps. No transparency means more economic discrimination. This ruins lives. Women will work longer, harder, for less money and children and families will suffer.

Israel has forsaken its literal birthright as a welcoming tent and set policies designed to reject 70% of Diaspora Jews. Now, Israel’s Supreme Court wants to know the reasons. Study the story of Hannukah. Israel, under Bibi’s leadership,  has taken a page out of the Greeks’ political playbook, circa 170 bce, and sought to undermine and forbid the spiritual practice of Judaism – in Israel.

Mumbai, home to the poorest of the poor, is under seige from flooding storms. The fourth largest city in the US, the same.

I don’t know about you, but I’m just biblical enough to look at all of this and say, look in the mirror. The Baal Shem Tov said everything we see, everyone we meet, is a reflection of ourselves. I don’t know if this is an absolute. But maybe enough of it is to merit reflection.

There is sadness and tragedy in our family. So much so, it would drown us if we let it. But we muddle through, day by day, trying to rise above, aiming to triumph.

I still remember praying through Hurricane Wilma, my calm – and prayers – during the Northridge Earthquake. I lost my home and had PTSD afterward.

We go to war, we elect a destructive, mentally ill President, we allow corruption and arrogance to lead – we lose ourselves. We fight to stay above emotional, spiritual and financial water. We resist the undertow. But it all takes its toll, no matter our strength.

Our only salvation is honesty, transparency. We are so desperate for truth.

What’s not transparent? Murky flood waters, where people drown and die and we can’t even see them.

What we can see most readily? Human beings trying to rescue and save one another, especially the most vulnerable – the elderly, the children, the pets, the undocumented immigrants.

So, ask yourself, what reflection does God, or the Universe, want you to see? How, what, do we need to change?

About the Author
Dana is a Jewish feminist, writer and poet. She is passionate about kindness, spirituality, the artist's voice, and speaking out for the vulnerable. She lives in New York.
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