A Time of Many Times

When we read the third chapter of Koheles, we are brought to a profound understanding of the human experience of time. Time is temporary, no time lasts. When we are happy, we know something else will follow; same when we are sad. 

Corona times started with a “time” that was common to all, a time to be cautious. When it seemed that that time has passed, we welcomed a less cautious time. There was the possibility of solidarity with a “time” that belonged to us all.

No more. While in Koheles one “time” passes into another, today in Israel and in many places abroad it is hard to identify what “time” we are in. And we are not all “in synch” – in the same times.

What a challenge for us as therapists! When we had sessions of “caution,” most of our clients had similar concerns, we learned from one conversation to the next. Now each session lands in a different time. Some clients are cautious, perhaps more cautious. Frightened, perhaps more frightened as the threat they perceive tarries. Other clients are sure the threat is gone and are eager to resume a more open lifestyle. Some clients are angry that they don’t find a secure source of reliable guidance. And some are bewildered by the same. And we as therapists are no exception.

The human and clinical challenge is formidable. Each session requires its own empathic structure, but no two sessions seem similar. The therapist rides a roller coaster of roles and emotions: some hours seem like the slow arduous ascent, some the invigorating and terrifying descent.

And for our community as well, there is the challenge of solidarity with extreme pluralism. Our “we” expands to include all of us, no matter in what time we happen to be living. Perhaps this is an additional meaning we can draw from Koheles, that can help us accept each other in our differences.