As the New Year approaches we are reminded again of the scourge of loneliness. It is the first thing that the Torah deplores: “It is not good for the man to be alone” (Gen. 2:18). We are creatures of connection, needing one another to get along in this world.
That does not make being with others frictionless or always easy. The philosopher Schopenhauer compared people to porcupines, who move together for warmth, yet as they come closer their quills stick one another so they move away, and feeling cold, only to come close together again. Many people will identify – it is sometimes hard to be with people and yet harder to be without them.
The pandemic has created too much isolation. Fully conscious of the complexity of the human condition, as the New Year dawns, let’s resolve to reach out to one another and be in touch with those who have lost or are alone. We need to find our way back into each other’s lives once more.