It’s said in the name of the Maggid of Mezeritch, “See how precious the body of a Jew is to the Almighty; because of it we have forgone countless mitzvos!”
Billions of individuals are currently home. No school, work, entertainment. Just us and our families. It’s extremely unnerving, to say the least, but it’s a forced opportunity to go back to basics: Who are we? What do we believe? What role does Hashem play in our lives?
It’s as if everything we’ve learned until this point was all practice for how we’ll respond to the spread of this virus. With fear and panic, gobbling up every forwarded email, post, or text filled with the most dreadful news from around the world? Or acting safely and full of trust in Hashem?
We should feel confident that:
- He still controls the world, everything in it, and that anything that happens comes from Him and not from a new deity called “coronavirus.”
- This will pass with the fewest possible casualties.
- This is very much tied in with the last moments of our long golus.
Perhaps we need to be shaken up from our indifference. Perhaps certain evil regimes needed to be to be taken down in the natural order. Perhaps we needed to internalize the concept of personal responsibility, or perhaps this was the best way to show us that there’s no such thing as “I can do what I want, I’m not bothering anyone.”
Perhaps all of the above.
We now know with certainty that individual decisions affect whole communities and eventually the entire globe.
As Jews we always look for a call to action. Let us all think of those around us worst affected by this—the elderly, certain businesses, families with members not feeling well, etc.—and try to find ways to help them get through this.
The Rambam writes that it is middas achzariyos, cruel to respond to natural disasters as if they’re simply a natural phenomenon, ignoring the message they are supposed to be telling us: “Wake up sleepers from your sleep and return to your Creator!”
May each one of us fulfill our obligations both with regard to physical precautions and in regard to spiritual self-reckoning, so that we are zocheh, in the very near future, to a time when there shall no longer be sickness or disease, for the world will be filled with the knowledge of Hashem.
Wishing you a healthy and, as much as possible, enjoyable Shabbos Mevorchim Chodesh Nissan,