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Karma Happens

Karma Happens

There is a concept, not unique to Judaism that “what goes around comes around”. Some call it Karma, others Poetic Justice, Fate or Destiny. In Judaism we call it Mida K’neged Mida – Measure for Measure. However you wish to call it, there seems to be something built into the fabric of Creation that once you do something and create a reality through word or action, it has a funny way of becoming part of your life in ways that you may have never intended or imagined. Once you do something, it springs to life and has consequences and ripple effects and reactions that come back around to you – for better or worse.


This works on a personal level via simple psychology and on a national or global level through a deeper, cosmic or Divine sense.


To understand this from an individual standpoint, not long ago I wrote about creating your own luck and that our outlook and attitude can shape our future and destiny. People reflect back to you your attitude, face and demeanor. If you are happy, upbeat and positive, you create that as your immediate environment and other people pick up on that. This will in turn bring out the same in them, thereby creating positive and fortunate circumstances that will result in all sorts of blessings. 


Conversely, if you are miserable, sad, kvetchy and unhappy, then lo and behold, the people around you become that way. And this in turn will create negative, unfortunate and lousy results in your life. And on and on the cycle goes, for better or worse, depending on which path you choose.


King Solomon poignantly tells us in Proverbs, “As water reflects back a face to a face, so too one’s heart is reflected back to him by another.” Simply put, if you are miserable and unhappy, your attitude is contagious and those around you will magically become the same – which will reinforce your misery, and even add to it. But if you are upbeat and see the goodness in people and situations, then the people around you will feed off of that and you will have created a cycle of happiness and success that in turn revisits you.


What goes around comes around. The attitude and actions you choose and create come back to visit you – for better or worse.


On a more cosmic sense we see this with Israel. A number of years back, the NY Times had an op-ed piece, Dangerous Divisions in the Arab World. The final words in it caught my attention. Writing about the numerous conflicts going on in Syria, Egypt, Iraq, etc., they noted, “… that nurturing hatreds, for whatever reason, inevitably backfires and makes stable societies impossible.”


Although the Times was not speaking at all about Israel in the piece, nor was there any intention to include them, the truth of that statement speaks volumes. The hatred that Arab societies have nurtured for Israel has come back to haunt them. When Arab leaders, clerics, and street spew hatred for Israel for decades and act on that hatred with suicide bombs, rock-throwing, terrorism and every other imaginable form of mayhem – they thereby legitimize it as an acceptable and praiseworthy form of behavior. However, it was only a matter of time before it was visited upon their own heads. That time is now. And we see it in Syria, Iraq, Libya, Yemen and elsewhere in the Arab world. Once you open the bottle and let out the genie, it is impossible to put it back in.


If the Arab world teaches that you are a hero for killing innocents and children, for disrupting society with mass protests and rock-throwing, then how do you suddenly turn that switch off when it starts to migrate from being a mechanism of “resistance” against Israel to one against Assad, Shi’ites, Sunnis, etc.? You don’t. You can’t. Pandora’s Box has been opened and once it is, it remains so forever. “Nurturing hatreds, for whatever reason, inevitably backfires and makes stable societies impossible.”


And this is how it always is with us Jews, being the so-called canary in the mine. What starts as an anti-Jewish ploy spills over to become much bigger than that and engulfs the world. It happened with Nazism, with Communism and it continues with Terrorism and Islamic radicals. When evil and destructive behavior is tolerated against Israel, then it’s just a matter of time before it creeps into the Arab and now even the Western world.


For years the Arab world used Israel as its convenient scapegoat for all its ills. “Solve the Palestinian problem and you solve all the problems of the Mideast”, was the popular wisdom peddled by governments and pundits alike such as the fool, Thomas Friedman and his ilk. Well, that has now been shown to be a complete myth. And now that the truth starts to seep out – and it always does – it’s time to pay the piper, reap what you have sown; the chicken has come home to roost – and every other cliché that expresses this simple and unavoidable reality: What goes around comes around.


The Arab world is exploding and imploding today before our eyes – but the fuse was started long ago, way back even before 1948. And here is the kicker – they were the ones that lit it. Some call it Karma, we call it Mida K’neged Mida. What goes around comes around.


And the years that I spent lost in the mystery

Fall away leaving only the sound of the drum

Like a part of me

It speaks to the heart of me

Forget what life used to be

You are what you choose to be

It’s whatever it is you see

That life will become.

– Jackson Browne


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