During Shavuot we read the portion in Torah about God giving us the Ten commandments.  And included in those are the commandments is “thou shalt not steal”, “thou shalt not kill”, “thou shalt not commit adultery”.  


In Judaism there is a concept of a Sabbatical year: a shemitta year, when the agricultural land in Israel is given a rest in the seventh year of  it's seven year cycle in order to increase its fertility and productivity after that.  This is a very powerful commandment which even seems counterintuitive because the Torah promises that those farmers who observe the laws of shemitta carefully will be blessed with their land yielding enough produce for three years (


During this pandemic time, we need to think to ourselves “Why is this happening?” Obviously, none of us can really have a definite answer because we are not the Almighty. Only He knows why anything happens in the world. To try to guess would be a waste of time.


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.

Subscribe to