It’s time for a hard and honest conversation: what is the price tag for locking down society and living in fear? Consider:
- The mental health of children, youth, teenagers and elderly.
- The increase in suicide.
- Substance abuse, including overdose and other addictions.
- The usual life threatening or serious conditions such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease etc. being diagnosed much later and at times too late.
- The undiscovered medical cures being held up by these lock downs.
- The economic future of tens of thousands of businesses which will probably declare bankruptcy when this is behind us, wiping out billions of dollars. Not to mention a year’s worth underproduction.
- The spiritual and moral decline of a society becoming increasingly hostile to one another.
We don’t eat, drink, go to work, spend time with others simply for selfish reasons. We were born into this world to accomplish and build, to innovate and find solutions. Shutting down has enormous ramifications.
There’s also the question of what exactly these lockdowns accomplish. This virus seems to spread regardless of whether a state is under lockdown or not (see FL and CA.)
How about the Torah’s view on questions like this. What’s the risk demarcation in Halacha at which point we close Shuls? When do we close the doors of the Beth Medrash or Talmud Torahs?
In the past our people literally risked their lives to be able to Daven and learn. Of course we don’t want to endanger others, but is it really that clear cut? By what amount does the danger get lessened when the young don’t get together?
Further exasperating the equation are today’s corrupt politicians who do not view this simply from a medical perspective. Indeed, there are plenty in the medical field who disagree with how they are handling it but are attacked and sidelined when they share it publicly.
What’s more, there are doctors who have formulated doses of available medicines and have seen success with them yet have been shamed and ostracized when publishing their findings. It’s only now that some of their suggestions given in March are being looked at positively.
Then there are the politicians themselves dining indoors or going to the gym and have publicly allowed and even supported mass demonstrations – when they align with their cause.
Bottom line. What doesHalacha say for Yidden to do? Is it independent on which state’s laws they are under or we shutdown public Yiddishkeit because our Governor is from a specific political party? (My brother and his wife are Chabad Shluchim to Brandon Florida and under one set of laws and my sister and her husband are Chabad Shluchim to Annapolis Maryland and under a completely different set of laws – public schools are still closed!)
The current post shtetel and public reality of Jewish life gives our Halachik decisions a unique challenge but by no means does it dictate it.
There are many causes for this disaster. To name a few; a Media addicted to sensationalism and fear that erodes social order. The shouting down of opinions expressed from what’s perceived as the right. And a secular society that needs to feel like they have a solution for everything even if it causes more damage, instead of doing their utmost to keep safe while accepting there’s a Creator in charge.
May Hashem heal all who are sick. Get rid of this plague. And help us get out of this safely and successfully.
Even before then, we should experience the redemption from all our challenges and tribulations with the coming of Moshiach ben Dovid, now.
Wishing you a wonderful Shabbos,