The Myth of Invincibility
In today’s modern world, it’s easy to feel no need for Hashem – we can do everything. Despite feeling invincible, we control nothing. Hashem’s greatest gift to us is when He makes clear to us that He’s the invincible one!
And I’m the little one
The lowest among them all
Standing here shaken and amazed
And I’m the little one
The last of the nation
Standing here excited and thrilled.
Adi Ran, Ki Ata Kadosh
We took the kids to Yarka, a Druze town in northwest Israel. They have an indoor amusement park. Imagine a giant football stadium that can hold 70,000 people and a football field, but instead is filled with a roller coaster, bowling alley, Ferris wheel, rock climbing, movie theatre, and all the games you can imagine.
We went on one of the rides together. It was on top of the building. There was a circle of 50 swings all hanging from ropes about 3 meters long. You got into one swing, buckled yourself in, and then the machine started spinning the swings. As it twirled, your weight pushed the swing outward, so your body was flying outside the side of the building.
You had the sensation of sitting on a chair with nothing but 30 meters of air separating you and the cement below. Then the machine started pushing us up to 40 meters. I was terrified. I thought it was all over for me.
It was gift from God.
The Modern World Doesn’t Need God
These days, we all feel godlike. When we are sick, we take a pill, and then we feel better. If we overeat, a little antacid removes any feeling of discomfort.
Nothing makes me feel like a divine being more than the computer. If I want daytime, I press a button. If I want night, I press another button. I even have a button that changes the screen from night to day and back, all on demand.
If it’s hot, I turn on a machine and I am cool. If I am cool, I turn on another machine and I am warm.
Everything I need, I can do myself.
That’s the way I have been conditioned to believe all my life. It’s a side effect of the modern world. The myth that we can solve our problems. The illusion that we have conquered nature.
The tragedy is that we assume we don’t need God.
Scared Back to Hashem
Even those of us who try to rely on Hashem for everything have a difficult time. Society force feeds us the Kool-Aid myth of invincibility and that we can take care of ourselves.
The greatest gift from God is when He sends us a personal message of how wrong we are. Sitting in a seat with a single cable to keep me from falling to my death reminds me of how helpless I am in this world.
I don’t control a thing. At any moment, God can take me out. I am helpless.
I live my life trapped in a body that I have minimal control over. All the exercise in the world doesn’t guarantee that I won’t get high blood pressure, diabetes, or a brain tumor. All the pills, vitamins, and AI-driven surgical robots don’t promise that my body will process my next bite thoroughly, or that a piece of chicken won’t get trapped in my intestine.
Despite the myth of invincibility, our lives are very fickle. It’s all in God’s Hands.
Every time we emerge from the bathroom, we praise Hashem with the Asher Yatzar prayer for another five minutes to do His bidding:
Blessed are You, Hashem, Our God, King of the universe, Who created the human with wisdom and created within him many openings and many cavities. It is obvious and known before Your Throne of Glory that if but one of them were to be ruptured or one of them were to be blocked, it would be impossible to survive and to stand before You for even one hour. Blessed are You, Hashem, the physician of all flesh who acts wondrously.
The prayer refers to the millions of moving parts in the human body that must all function perfectly together for us to live.
It’s powerful to say the Asher Yatzar prayer. To experience it takes the truth of our total dependency on Hashem to a whole new level.
Back in Hashem’s Arms
Living a feeling that I could be dead at any moment brought me back to life.
It reminded me that despite all of the human inventions that make us feel immune from Hashem’s Will, we live every moment at His mercy.
More than air, water, or food, we need His kindness for another moment to exist in His ultimate treasure house of Mitzvot.
If you have trouble internalizing this, do something that feels life threatening (but isn’t!). Take a hot air balloon ride and look 400 meters (about 1312.34 ft) down. Go on a roller coaster ride. Climb a mountain and stand close to the cliff. Stick your head in a sink filled with water and stay that way for 10-20 seconds.
You don’t have to endanger yourself to feel the terror of dying. There are countless situations where you can rediscover just how much of a privilege it is to be alive.
In a small amount of time, we can revive our passion to serve our Maker by remembering the truth:
Without God, without life.
David Ben Horin lives in Afula with his family, millions of sunflowers, and Matilda, our local camel. David‘s Israeli startup, Center Stage Marketing, is a lean marketing agency for startups and small businesses that creates and promotes SEO optimized ROI-driven to the right audience on LinkedIn to make your business the star of the show.