41. The Great Crash of 29

If you read about the great crash of 1929, you’ll find an interesting social phenomenon. You see, when the world economy tanked in that year, many people lost fortunes. But what’s especially interesting is that people began jumping out of windows. And oftentimes when you read the stories, it wasn’t the fact that a man went from great wealth to poverty, it was much deeper than that. It was that the US economy was no longer there. The almighty dollar, that which I trusted in, all that I knew to be secure and real, was suddenly worthless and empty. And in a heartbeat people understood that which I trusted in, that which I relied in, didn’t last. It’s gone and is no more.

One of the most painful moments in a person’s life is when that which he trusted in leaves him. Explains the Chovos Halevavos, all of us will have that. If I trust in anything but Hashem, he guarantees I eventually will come to a point where that which I trust in leaves me. If it’s my health, if it’s the US economy, if it’s my business acumen, if it’s the goodness of people, if it’s the fact that life will continue as it always has been, whatever we trust in eventually will leave us, and therefore the difficult work is upon us to begin to realize that all these things we rely on, all these things we trust in have no basis, have no background to them.

When I understand that these things are just vaporous, they’re just mirages, I begin to understand that Hashem is behind everything. And then I learn to transfer my trust from those things which aren’t reliable, to Hashem, Who is reliable. I learn to move my load from those things which will leave me, to Hashem, Who is there forever.