Daf Yomi Yevamos 19
Roy was absolutely distraught.
“Rabbi, my world is caving in. It seems like the perfect storm has brewed in my life. I’m having problems in my marriage. My kids are struggling at school. I’ve been lagging at work and my boss is constantly looking over my shoulder. And I’m floundering religiously. Why is G-d doing this to me all at once?”
The Beraisa states: If two brothers are married to two sisters and they both die, Rabbi Shimon exempts the third brother from performing the levirate marriage (yibum) or its annulment (chalitzah) with both of the widows. For the Torah declares, “One may not take his wife’s sister as a rival,” meaning that in a situation where they would become rivals to one another, he should not take either of them.
Rabbi Ashi explains: If one brother died and then the other died, they would become widows one after the other and then Rabbi Shimon’s law would not apply. With what case are we dealing here? That they died at the same time. Rabbi Shimon holds like Rabbi Yossi the Galilean who taught that situations may occur simultaneously.
Rashi explains: In tractate Bechoros, we learn about a sheep that gave birth to two baby lambs that emerged at the same time. Rabbi Yossi says that both babies should be given to the cohen as firstborns, while the Sages opine that it’s impossible that both emerged at exactly the same time. Instead, one should be given to the cohen as the firstborn and the owner should get to keep the other one.
Our Sages are teaching us that the perfect storm is a very rare occurrence. Most of the time when life’s challenges appear to be occurring all at once it’s not really so. One thing happened and then another and then another – your problems didn’t all begin simultaneously. You need to break it down and figure out the root cause of the multiple issues.
Inevitably, there is one thing in your life that you’ll find has gotten you out of sync and everything else is caving in as a result. Maybe things are tough at work and you’re taking it out on your spouse. Resolve the work issues and everything else will be resolved. Maybe family relationships are out of sync and your ability to do your job is suffering as a result. Figure out the root cause, work on resolving it, and everything else will fall into place.
Perfect storms don’t come along every day. Life’s challenges do. Don’t let a challenge in one area of your life take everything else over. Separate that challenge away from the other parts of your life and work on resolving it as smoothly and quickly as possible!