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I’m over 70, diabetic, paralyzed from a critical stroke, and the recipient of a donor kidney, beneath the auspices of Renewal, from an exquisite girl who has chosen to stay nameless. Docs inform me this places me within the highest attainable class of danger throughout this pandemic.
What have been the implications? I had no various however to isolate and observe all the rules.
I’ve been to far too many digital shiva calls and funerals. A lot tragedy. A lot unhappiness. Amidst all this, I needed to share just a few ideas as all of us undergo this horrible plague.
A brief prayer many people recite upon waking up, first identified to us within the Seder HaYom by 16th century Safed Kabbalist Rabbi Moshe Machir, begins with the phrases “Modeh Ani.” Every of us thanks God for “returning my soul to me.” Like many, for me, it was a rote recitation. I scarcely gave the phrases a thought.
No extra. Now I sincerely thank Hashem for permitting me the blessings of one other day, totally understanding that it’s now not one thing to take with no consideration.
What follows from this, for me, is that I attempt to make every day depend.
We’re warned (Avot 2:10) to repent a day earlier than we die. Clearly, since we by no means know when that day could come, we have now to be cognizant that every day could also be our final.
This all the time true message resonated powerfully for me, as I’ve seen so many gedolim, in addition to associates, neighbors and acquaintances who’ve been felled by this plague. Subsequently, I’m attempting to make every day depend, acutely acutely aware it could be my final.
I attempt to not deal with the constraints imposed by my paralysis and by the COVID-19-mandated isolation, however as a substitute to linger on the constructive.
As my spouse and grownup youngsters are much less busy, they’ve extra time to work together with me, to our mutual enjoyment. There are additionally so many high quality digital shiurim obtainable on-line from world-renowned rabbis, that I discover myself capable of be taught greater than ever, and I absorb as a lot as I’m able to soak up. And after fairly a lapse, I’ve been capable of resume artistic writing once more as soon as once more. I might be remiss if I didn’t specific a heartfelt hakarat hatov (thanks) to my eshet chayil, Dr. Rachel C. Sarna who supported me in each attainable means as I went via these tribulations.
In Ahava Rabba (Ahavat Olam) which we are saying earlier than Shema, we pray that Hashem grant us to be taught and to show, to maintain and to do (lilmod u’lelamed lishmor v’laasot), primarily based on the Mishnah in Avot 4:5. I really feel the present circumstances encourage me to get nearer to with the ability to fulfill these lofty targets.
I nonetheless have many doubts and questions on what is going on and why. All of us do. However I’ve had questions earlier than. Why did I stroke? Why did my kidneys fail? There aren’t good or simple solutions. Job wrestled with the identical questions. Trying to find solutions is OK and a part of the human situation.
My good good friend Dr. Alan Flashman, a distinguished psychiatrist, has written concerning the darkness throughout these unsure instances, the place the unknown is a lot better than the identified. He suggests it is likely to be a time of what the Kabbalists name berur or checking out, and ultimately issues will grow to be clarified. It’s not an method that he himself is solely snug with, being extra snug with making choices and accepting accountability. This isn’t attainable within the present circumstances. We simply don’t know.
Within the Gemara in Zevachim 90a, we learn that there is no such thing as a pleasure just like the decision of doubt. It’s a profound remark, however will get us no nearer to satisfaction till the unknown turns into clarified.
How will we cope with this conundrum? We notice that Hashem’s methods are sometimes hidden from us. However we additionally know, as Rabbi Akiva acknowledged, that “All the things that the Almighty does, is for good” (Berachot 60b). This dictum was codified as legislation within the Shulchan Aruch (Orech Hayim 46:15). I’ve discovered it to be not solely Jewish legislation, but in addition true and clever. It has gotten me via the robust instances earlier than.
Hashem works in some ways, amongst them via first responders and medical professionals, all doing Hashem’s work. It’s correct to wish for them. Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis of the UK composed a prayer for them, which will be recited at any time. It praises “docs, nurses, all healthcare professionals and key staff, who tirelessly search to heal and assist these affecting, whereas in doing so put themselves in danger.” All these have been working lengthy hours for our profit.
Above all, we have to be sturdy and to maintain Hashem’s Torah (Joshua 1:8). Then, this too shall go.
David E. Y. Sarna is a retired engineer, entrepreneur and creator.
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