I would venture to say that we are a generation of addicts. Everyone is addicted to something: some are addicted to drugs or liquor, others are addicted to their desires that they feel unable to control, some are addicted to eating or smoking, and most people in today’s society are addicted to their cell phones, computer screens and technology. Why are we all so addicted? What is it about life that has turned us into “addicts”?
I believe much of it has to do with the lifestyle in today’s world. No longer do people interact the way we used to. No longer is the value of family emphasized as it used to be, including extended family. No longer do friends get together as we used to. People are often lonely, sad, and many are struggling to get married but do not find the right match. People are discouraged. This is the condition of exile which we are in, and the darkness only seems to increase. As technology increases, so does separation between people. And therefore, ,people look for ways to escape their unhappy lives and find comfort. Unfortunately, we fall into behavior patterns which become addictive. We somehow give permission to ourselves to get rid of our “misery” by becoming addicted to our phones, tv shows, videos, marijuana etc. etc. But we must realize this is the work of the evil inclination: to pull us away from what is holy, pure and healthy. Why don’t we get addicted to learning Torah? Why don’t we get addicted to saying tehillim? Because those things bring so much good and holiness to the world that the side of unholiness works hard to pull us away from what is good.
It is so important to teach our children what is proper and what is healthy and to guide them in a good direction in life.
It is important to teach our children how to be happy even without having all kinds of material possessions, or the latest cell phone, or their own computer.
it is so important to emphasize family values, respect and truth.
But first we need to convince ourselves! First we need to break out of our own negative habit patterns. First we need to break our own addictions.
We need to get rid of our coldness or apathy and then we can truly get rid of our own addictions and work hard to bring Moshiach. The yetzer hara, evil inclination, works hard to prevent us from reaching our goals. We need to fight back.
The coronavirus has brought many people to a level of feeling more desperate, depressed, anxious and fearful. It has brought insecurity to the world. So people try to escape from their anxiety. Our synagogues no longer function the same way. Classes no longer are available the same way. Our social lives have been affected. But this also brings out a longing for that Jewish lifestyle we now miss and used to take for granted. When we had it abundantly available, sometimes we may not have appreciated it. Now that it is lacking, it brings out an inner yearning…..and we need to translate that into prayer and action to hasten the redemption, which is the only real solution for all of life’s problems.
May we all merit to get “addicted” to the idea of Moshiach, like the Lubavitcher Rebbe was, constantly thinking about how to bring the redemption. That is the only "healthy" addiction to have.