A story about Natan Sharansky, the former prisoner of conscience and tireless fighter for the Jewish people, recently made the local rounds. Someone spotted him doing a bit of pre-Shabbat shopping. Thrilled by the opportunity to be in close proximity to one of our present day heroes, this overwhelmed gushing observer could think of only question to ask Sharansky, ‘do you still carry the book of Psalms that Avital gave you when you were sent to Siberia?!’ With that, Sharansky revealed a tiny well worn book, held together by string and tape, and replied, ‘I don’t carry it; it carries me!’
Now that’s something I can relate to! Our eyes and minds trick us into believing that the material world rules us; yet, it’s the ideas which we hold dear that give us life. Our aspirations and longings lift us. And when the ideas are drawn from the book of Psalms (Tehillim) or the Siddur (Jewish prayer book) then those ideas can sustain a life in the Gulag or Siberia or the Nazi death camps or in the great spiritual depression of our time.