Some argue that we are anxious today more than ever. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, anxiety disorders today affect 18 percent of the adult population of the United States, or about 40 million people, and account for more visits to mental health professionals each year than any of the other broad categories of psychiatric disorders.
The reason for that is perhaps due, ironically, to the comforts and abundance in our lives. The information revolution and all our advanced technologies provide us with an unprecedented amount of options. More options and information creates more awareness, and more awareness of the things we can’t have – and seeing how others have more than we do – increases our anxiety and sense of inadequacy. King Solomon the wise said it best: More knowledge more pain.
But is ignorance the only path to bliss?
Fear is perhaps our greatest enemy. Not because it is loud and aggressive, but because it is invisible. Is there a person alive that does not suffer from some fear, known or unknown?
Though fear has been with us throughout history, today it has taken on acute proportions, both globally and personally, as we face fears of all sorts, as an unstable economy undermines our feelings of security, as national and international tensions continue to escalate, unleashing underlying emotions in this climate of global uncertainty.
This week’s Torah portion offers us a fascinating formula to counter fear and anxiety. But not before learning that fear is a very real part of our lives and even the great Moses found himself trembling, terrified of confronting a formidable adversary…