Oy vay, the roaring 20s are back

Oy vay, the roaring 20s are back

I feel it in the air.

Maybe it’s the nice spring weather that we’ve got here in the last few days. Perhaps it’s the constant stream of good news about declining covid cases in the country, and around the world.

But it feels as if the situation is getting better.

Do you feel the same?

In recent weeks, I have heard more and more people refer to the roaring 20s.

And it makes sense. The roaring 20s came just after a terrible pandemic (and a world war, thank G-d, we didn’t have to deal with that!). After a long period of struggle, life was finally back to normal. Everyone just wanted to go back to the things they loved.

So what was the roaring 20s like?

I googled.

First results from History.com:

“In the Roaring Twenties, a surging economy created an era of mass consumerism.”

Oy vey.

That was exactly what we needed, right? As if until now, we didn’t have enough consumerism!

Only a year ago… we all gained a new perspective… we learned to appreciate spending time at home without having to go to faraway places… we learned to appreciate the small things in life, the sunset from our windows and the songs of the birds in our streets… we looked up to the UPS and USPS drivers with so much appreciation… we realized that it is not what you have that makes you happy..

And then, boom! Welcome to the roaring 20s, where we forget all the lessons we have just learned!

To be clear, I am all in favor of economic growth; we need it. The lives of so many people in so many industries depend on it. And by all means, let’s go to restaurants (kosher, of course!) and find a well-deserved vacation. But could we have a better version of the roaring 20s this time?

As usual, our Torah is the best place to turn to.

3,333 years ago (yes, this is not a mistake), the Jewish people was about to experience their own out-of-the-woods moment. After decades of slavery and torture, they were about to be liberated.

A few days before this big moment came, G-d summoned Moses and Aaron. He had an important message to them. “I know that you are all so excited. You might want to throw an all-night party, drink and celebrate until you pass out.

“But that’s not the right way to do it.

The best way to celebrate freedom, the best way to be grateful for the newfound life, is to add more mitzvot to your life. Add more holiness to your life, do all the mitzvot you could not do before, always be grateful and remember your humble beginnings, and teach your youth to do the same.

(Okay, G-d didn’t really say that part about drinking… but I think the rest is what He had in mind!)

So, as we are emerging from this pandemic, my prayer is that:

1. The weather stays nice and even gets better

2. Covid-19 is wiped off the earth

3. Everybody should experience an economic surge, along with blessings in all areas of our life, and

4. We should remember to incorporate more mitzvot into our lives, as a way to thank G-d for his blessings.

Wishing you an [early] kosher and happy Passover!

Mendy Kaminker is the Rabbi of Chabad of Hackensack. He welcomes your comments at Rabbi@ChabadHackensack.com

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