Rabbi’s Corner

Rabbi’s corner: Confronting information overload

Rabbi Thomas A. Louchheim

There is no age and no situation where values do not play a part. Modernity has created a fire hose of information that often — without reflection — drives us to analyze the information from our own accustomed viewpoint. We are so rushed to decide that we leave our values (if we recognize that we have any) in the wake. In our haste to take a side on an issue, we are pulled into self-defeating behaviors that threaten our relations with others. We are caught in a net where we feel obligated to judge others and thereby become unable to participate in a civil discourse. The rush of information input pressures us to compare ourselves to others, judge others, and separates us from our connections and our community. Any of this sound familiar?

We recently observed the end of our Hanukkah celebrations. It is an opportune time to reflect on the Talmudic debate regarding the lighting of the Hanukkah menorah. One rabbi argued that one should light eight candles on the first night, seven on the next, six on the third night, and so forth — indicating how many days are left in the holiday. Another rabbi argued that the lights should increase on subsequent nights, teaching that in matters of holiness, we should expand more and more of it in our world. It also does not hurt that at the darkest time of the year we endeavor to bring more light!

Our Tucson synagogues are dedicated to teaching enduring values that, in the midst of emotional darkness, bring greater and greater light through kindness, generosity, patience, equanimity, and grace. Our religious homes are here ready to transform your spirit and bring healing and wellbeing into your community. The religious values of our faith have the ability to assist in digesting the information we are constantly receiving in such a way that your actions will protect both your community and your connections to others.

Where the world seems darkened by despair and hopeless, and you at times feel helpless, and alone, your synagogue is here to provide the light of holiness, bringing hope, caring, and values for you and others to live by. See you in shul, my friends.




Congregation Or Chadash