The paint has dried on the canvas of life. What has happened has happened - there is no way to change the past, to whitewash the pain, to ignore the blemishes. But, amazingly, a new frame can be placed around this canvas that suddenly shifts the entire picture.
“To reframe, then, means to change the conceptual and/or emotional setting or viewpoint in relation to which a situation is experienced and to place it in another frame which fits the ”facts” of the same concrete situation equally well or even better, and thereby changes its entire meaning.”1
“[R]eframing can be seen as a generic process in therapy. In fact, I would go much further and propose it to be the single most basic and necessary operation in the process of change and therefore of all therapy. Everything else is subordinate and either aids or, alternatively, impedes this process...It is not that ”...a new frame may be an essential setting...for change”; I would argue that it is the only setting for change...”2
We look at the painful history of our people - and the pain of the present - and we ache for comfort, Nechama. Not the comfort of soothing but the comfort of seeing; the essence of Nechama is seeing things in a new light.
“For N.Ch.M. is consolation and regret, both a complete change of feelings to the way one had felt towards something hitherto. Up till now one had considered something to be right, had perhaps boasted upon it, and then suddenly finds out that one has to be ashamed of it: regret, remorse. Similarly, real consolation is only such, that brings the conviction to one who has suffered pain and grief, that this too leads to ultimate good and everlasting happiness, not the ‘Babylonian idea of consolation’ which says, ‘what can one do, one must accept what cannot be avoided (Bava Kama 38a), but which awakes the consciousness that if one were able to see through and over all the conditions and results and consequences as God can and does, one would not alter what has happened even if one could.”3
And that is why one of Mashiach’s names is “Menachem” - The Reframer.4
We await the day when Mashiach will come and “transform darkness to light and sweeten the bitter.”5
“The World to Come is not like this world. In this world on good tidings we say the blessing of “Hatov v’Hameitiv” and in bad tidings “Dayan Ha’Emet.” In the World to Come it will always be “Hatov v’Hameitiv.”6
“Then,” in that sudden shift, “our mouths will be filled with laughter.”7
”[Humor as] a flash of insight shows a familiar situation or event in a new light, and elicits a new response to it.”8
1 Watzlawick et al., 1974, p. 95 quoted in Antti Mattila, “Seeing Things in a New Light: Reframing in Therapeutic Conversation, p. 6
2 Cade, 1992, p. 163, quoted in Antti Mattila, “Seeing Things in a New Light: Reframing in Therapeutic Conversation, p. 55-56
3 Rav Samson Raphael Hirsch on Berrishit 50:21. See also Rav Samson Raphael Hirsch on Bereishit 5:29 and Rashi on Bereishit 27:42.
4 Sanhedrin 98b. See also Talmud Yerushalmi, Sanhedrin 10:9 and Zohar III:173b
5 See Zohar I:4a. See Rav Kook, Igrot Ha’Rayah I:142.
6 Pesachim 50a
7 Tehillim 126
8 The Act of Creation Arthur Koestler (1964), quoted in Antti Mattila, “Seeing Things in a New Light: Reframing in Therapeutic Conversation, p. 93