Now is the new Hebrew month of Iyar.  Iyar is an anacronym for the words “Ani Hashem Refoecha” (I am the Lord Who heals you).   So may this month bring true healing to everyone who needs. And when the Almighty heals, without going through an intermediary, there is no trace of any illness.


The first days of Pesach (Passover) emphasize the redemption from Egypt (Mitzraim).  But the emphasis of the last two days Pesach is on the future redemption with the coming of Moshiach.  We eat a Moshiach seuda on the eighth day of Pesach (before nightfall we gather our family and we drink four cups of wine or grape juice again and eat matza). This is the meal of Moshiach.


One thing this coronavirus has accomplished is to bring out good in many ways: suddenly people are offering things for free and offering all kinds of help to parents, families, children etc. (in terms of entertainment on line, classes and many services).  Our perspective changes suddenly in the face of a pandemic.


Nowadays we are all on edge because of this virus affecting all parts of the world. Nevertheless, what is happening is that all of us are also becoming more grateful for every blessing the Almighty bestows upon us. We are beginning to realize what is priority in life and what is nonsense. No longer does it matter if we buy a new pair of shoes or have a fancier car or a bigger house. All of that is materialism and right now nothing matters except health and safety. This is a war. But it is a war with an invisible enemy.


When the Jewish people were in Egypt, we all were instructed by Moshe Rabbenu to quarantine in our houses the night of the Pesach seder until the morning. Nobody was allowed to leave their homes. Everyone put blood over the lintels of their houses so that Hashem would pass over their homes and strike the Egyptians.


How often do we isolate ourselves from others or decide there are people we do not want to associate with? How often do we choose to like certain people and reject others? How often do we separate ourselves from friends or family members through conflicts or other issues that arise, and many for reasons that are not even valid or justified?


I recently heard a class given by a Rabbi who was discussing the coronavirus (what else is new?). He made a very interesting point. He said that this virus is resulting in self quarantine. Many people are now isolated in their homes.
In every society, people seek comfort together. In western society in particular, we have become very isolated in our lives. People go for themselves. Nobody seems to really care about others.


It is the beginning of the new month of Adar. This is certainly one of the best months of the year for the Jewish people: a month of good “mazal”. A month of joy. In fact, the Torah tells us that when Adar enters, we must increase in joy. But how do we do that? Joy is an emotion: it is very hard to turn joy on and off at will. And to increase every night in joy? How do we do that realistically?


Today is Yud Shevat,marking 70 years of the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s leadership after the passing of the Previous Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak. The Rebbe was a leader, a nassi, for the entire Jewish nation, and in fact for the entire world. And he still continues to lead us, albeit on a more spiritual level. What is it we need to learn from the Rebbe? What he taught us in the first maamar he said, Basi L’gani: that we are the seventh generation from Avraham Avinu and all sevenths are beloved by virtue of being the seventh from the first.


Moshiach will reveal a new and higher light than has ever been revealed in the world before. As we approach that time, the G-dly revelations become more concealed in preparation for this new light so things often appear darker in the world. But the reality is that the world is just preparing for a greater light. I guess it is sort of like when you are in a theatre: before the next show, the curtains are drawn: thick, dark curtains that shut out the entire scenery. Then, when the curtains are lifted , the light shines so strongly and so brightly.

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