Some Jewish thoughts about COVID-19

Dear Families,

I struggled to find something to say amid this crisis that would add a Jewish thought and went through article after article to find something. My own words are never as eloquent as others. Here are some thoughts from an article (I have shortened it to get the words that resonated most to me) From Finding Meaning Amidst the Coronavirus Panic 3/15/2020 by Bob Diener: 

“We will shortly be sitting at our Passover tables reading the story of the 10 plagues. Pharaoh and the Egyptians assumed they could copy any magic trick that Moses would show them. They didn’t believe there was a God of the Jews causing the 10 plagues. They also didn’t wake up or learn any lessons from the plagues. As soon as the plague was lifted, they broke their promise to let the Jews go free. No repentance, no change of heart, no change of behavior.

“What is our response to the coronavirus going to be?

“In legalese, we call this a force majeure event, meaning superior force or act of God that is beyond our control. As I sit back and think about what is going on, I realize that the solid ground we walk on is an illusion. If there is an omnipotent superior force who created the ground we walk on and gives us life, health and wealth, why can’t He take it away and test us?

“We think we are in control and in charge, but this is an illusion.

“Since my family and I will be working and studying from home over the next few weeks, we plan to reflect on a great quote from Ethics of the Fathers: ‘Who is rich? One who is happy with his lot.’ We plan to take this opportunity to adjust our lives so we are content with what we have even if part of our wealth and freedom are taken away. When this pandemic is past us, we hope to have a more meaningful life because of the adjustments we make now.”

Our hopes now are that we all come through this stronger together but that will only happen if we reach out to others (while keeping social distance but close in kindness). The story that may or may not help is the tale of King Solomon who was given a box when he became king. He was told to open it when things got really bad and look at the words on the coin and then when the bad resolved, he was to turn the coin over. As to be expected in any kingdom, things were bad and Solomon opened the box to read, “This too shall pass.” We all know what happened when things were good again and he opened the box once again to turn the coin over and read, “This too shall pass.” Is it comforting to know that both the good and the bad will pass? Yes, and no! But we are reminded that we appreciate the good so much more when we have experienced some pain. May this time not be too painful and may we find the joy in our time together!

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Joel Batalsky

    Great article!!!

Leave a Reply