This week we read one of the most tragic events in Jewish history, the making and worshiping of the golden calf. It is difficult to understand how such an incident could have occurred after all the marvelous experiences that the nation had seen.
Our sages explain that when Moshe did not return at the expected time, the nation began to worry that perhaps he had died, for how could any mortal survive 40 days without food or water?
The people became bewildered, insecure, and fell into the despair of depression. In their state of confusion and despair, all rules of normal conduct were suspended.
The Hafets Haim said that although the Torah does not anywhere list being depressed as being wrongful, there is nothing so conducive to committing the grossest transgressions as depression.
There is a parable told of a young boy who was selling apples from a cart. Some hoodlums fell upon him and began running off with his apples. The boy stood there, helpless, and despondent. A wise man then told him, “Don’t just stand there immobilized! You will lose everything! Go ahead and grab as many apples as you can. At least that way you will have something.”
If you allow an adverse incident to disable you, there is no telling where you will end up, but one small act of hope can dispel the darkest of thoughts.