Thought for the Day - Rabbi Lionel Blue

Dear Listeners,

We’ve had a shock. The 21st century is becoming another century of worry and the faults in us not our technology. In Europe it isn’t difficult to see what happened. We spent more than we earned and mortgaged the future to bridge the gap. Well the future became the present, as it always does and now we can’t pay the bill. Banks and pensions ceased to be secure in the frenzy to make a fast buck, We were only economical with the truth.

In the crises of the last century people panicked and sought scapegoats to avoid their own responsibility. That’s when Hitlers happened. Well, we haven’t reached that point yet but we could.

That sense of shared responsibility is important. It's why the talk is currently about people in all sectors needing to feel they’re in it together. It worked in the past. I remember as a kid, when slumps made life even tougher than now in the poor parts of London, in some ways life was more decent. Front doors were rarely locked – the key dangled on a string behind the letter box, available to all. Electronic home fortifications suitable for suburbia and Alcatraz were unknown.

Here’s some personal tips to cheer you up because worry sharpens anxiety which makes problems worse.

Remember a lot of worries cancel each other out. Also list all the things you ever worried about and tick the ones that actually happened. Not many I suspect. It was the things you didn’t worry about which happened, but that’s a thought for another day.

If I can’t get to sleep from worry, I think up some Jewish light bulb jokes, which help its better than counting sheep’
‘How many Jews does it take to change a light bulb?’ Two - One to change the bulb and another to tell him how to do it better.
‘How many psycho analysts does it take to change a light bulb?’ One - provided the light bulb really wants to change
How many Jewish mothers does it take to change a light bulb? None- ‘Don’t worry about me. I’ll sit alone in the dark.’

And a word about prayer. The sincerest and shortest prayer I know is ‘Help‘. Don’t ask for miracles but courage. Perhaps a simpler lifestyle could be a comfort not a tragedy and some of the best things in life really are free, like friendship, kindness, compliments and kisses. This isn’t schmaltz but personally tested - so Don’t Panic!

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