Would you rather be Ferris Bueller or Phil Connors? (Note: Ferris Bueller’s day Off and Groundhog Day are unapologetically required viewing to understand this message. If you haven’t seen them yet, do yourself a favour and watch them tonight).
Since the outbreak of Corona, some 18 months ago, the mention of the feeling of Groundhog Day has become so frequent that it has become a caricature of itself. The tragedy (and comedy!) of Groundhog Day is that weatherman Phil Connors, played by Bill Murray, is forced to live the same day over and over, and over! again until he does Teshuva and becomes a better person. This is tragic because we, as humans, strive to progress. We don’t want to feel like hamsters running on a wheel expending energy but getting nowhere. Unfortunately, since March 2020 many days have felt just like this and the talk of capsules, lock downs and restrictions this Rosh Hashana feels eerily like last year. And yet, we have progressed, this year is does not need to be like last year at all.
And so we get to Ferris Bueller, the charming rogue who seizes the day to make the most of every minute. I did not understand the heroism of Ferris until I made one of my kids watch the movie this summer as part of his cultural enrichment. He pointed out something quite profound but obvious about the movie. It is not about Ferris Bueller at all, it’s about his best friend Cameron. It’s about how Ferris helps Cameron to overcome his various problems and grow and learn to enjoy himself.
It is really that simple. Our progress is measured by how much we help other people. If we think of others and seek out opportunities to help we are Ferris Bueller, we move forward, we achieve and we make every minute count. If it is just about ourselves, we are doomed to be stuck in Groundhog Day, repeating every day just as if it was the one before. And that is tragic.
I want to acknowledge and thank every one of our amazing staff members, volunteers, PRAS students and all of the wider Telfed family that have spent the past year thinking of others, looking for opportunities to help and trying to make a not so simple time easier.
For anyone who is not yet a volunteer, please join us. There is plenty of important work to be done. We are helping put food on tables, we provide shelter, love loan soldiers, pay university fees and, of course, help the largest number of Olim in decades settle in and discover what we all know to be true: This is the greatest place on earth, and we would not want to be anywhere else.
I wish each of you, your family and loved ones a Shana Tova u’Metuka.
All the best for 5782!