Dear reader,

Have you ever tried to access a common word, and you just couldn’t remember it? Or you’re ready to dial a favorite number, and your mind turns blank?

The other day, when I momentarily forgot a friend’s name, after misplacing my keys yet again, I started to worry. What was happening to my brain? Why couldn’t I access common words or names? Was this a sign of something going awry?

And so, when I went to my physician for a wellness checkup, I mentioned my concern. She inquired about my schedule, to give her a glimpse into my lifestyle. I mentioned the typical day, filled with myriad details, obligations and nonstop responsibilities, from family to work to community, from meeting deadlines to all the things that constantly tug at us without reprieve.

She smiled knowingly. “It sounds like a case of cluttered brain syndrome,” she reassured me. “It’s when our brain becomes so cluttered with the far too many responsibilities we are juggling that it momentarily finds it difficult to access basic information. The condition typically afflicts women more than men, since women generally are such multitaskers.”

I was relieved by my doctor’s diagnosis; now I had a syndrome on which to blame my lapses. It wasn’t that my dear friend wasn’t dear to me. And it wasn’t that a relative’s phone number wasn’t important to me. It was simply that my brain was on overload trying to juggle the big and small details of just getting through life.

And then it hit me that truthfully, we are all experiencing Cluttered Brain Syndrome on a far more global and cosmic scope.

Life in exile is compared to a dream. Just as a dream is full of contradictions and paradoxes, in exile we are fragmented beings not living in accordance with our priorities and values. It’s not that our connection to G‑d isn’t important to us. It is! It’s just that we’re overloaded, accessing the many minute details of daily living, that we don’t always behave in a way that is in tune with the greater picture.

On a microcosmic level, I’m not really sure what the cure is for my cluttered brain. After all, the tasks still need to be taken care of. But I do know that intuitively I’ve arranged my home to be as clear, orderly and serene as possible. I know, too, that I need to calm and remove as many stresses from my life as possible to focus—and refocus often—on the big picture.

On a cosmic level, too, we need to declutter by concentrating on what we know is of true value.

But ultimately, perhaps, the only absolute cure to this syndrome is to completely clear the static of our world and finally usher in an era of serenity, peace, prosperity—and clarity—for all of mankind. May it happen immediately!

Chana Weisberg,
Editor, TJW