Friday, May 12, 2017

The Psychology Of Exotic Getaways

I just saw an ad for a kosher tour to Thailand, Vietnam and Singapore. Putting aside all halachic issues [such as leaving the Land of Israel for one who lives there and other issues], I wonder - What is lacking in people's lives that make them feel a desire to travel to Thailand, Vietnam and Singapore. I am not being critical. I am not saying there is anything wrong with it. But people are paying heavy bucks and engaging in exhausting travel in order to spend a few days in these places. What are they lacking where they are? What do they feel they are missing? What need does this trip fulfill for them? Miami or [li-havdil] Israel, are no longer enough. It needs to be a far-off-never-been-there-spot.

Again - I am not against vacations. "Fohr gezunteheit" [Travel in good health]. "See G-d's Alps" as per the famous Rav Hirsch story. I just feel that many people are empty inside and are trying to fill the void with the countless contraptions on the market that they incessantly play with, exotic vacations to places they have never been, shopping sprees etc. etc. 

It is wise to keep in mind the Medrash [Koheles Rabbah 6] on the pasuk וגם הנפש לא תמלא:

אמר רבי לוי: משל לעירוני שהיה נשוי בת מלכים, אף על פי שמאכילה כל מעדני מלך, אינו יוצא חובתו, למה? שהיא בת מלכים.
כך כל מה שיפעל האדם עם נפשו אינו יוצא ידי חובתו.
למה? לפי שהיא מלמעלה.

Our neshamos are from a place beyond this world and nothing in this world will every satisfy it. [See Maharal Tiferes Yisrael Perek Gimmel]

It is worthwhile keeping that in mind so that you are not frustrated with the lack of fulfillment you might sometimes feel.