Corona a year later:
Corona… another year and we are still here:
As we near the end of another year and Rosh Hashana is almost upon us, I reflect upon the year that was.
If there is one thing Corona has taught me is that
G-d runs the world. And we are here to fulfil our mission.
Every morning I go for a walk and I hear the birds twittering. They sound as if they talking to each other. Sometimes I wish I could ask them:
”Little birds what does the future hold for me and my family?” I feel a voice answering me:
”Do you really want to know?”.
I think about it for a minute:
“Better I don’t know the future!”
If G-d intended me to know He would tell me. The future is unknown to us because we are to live in the present and learn from the past.
Corona has affected everyone. I’m not even talking about the deaths R’L.
Here in Australia, we have been in lockdown or restrictions for most of this year and last. No school, no synagogue, no socialising. It’s been tough on singles, rough on the children and super hard for families.
For those that have lost loved ones and/or their livelihood I cry and ask Hashem:
“Our Father,our King withhold the plague from your inheritance.”
Let us remember that Corona is not a plague brought on by Governments or politicians even if it may appear so, it has been decreed by G-d Himself.
When we think it is our government or we think that it is by coincidence or nature then we are forgetting who is running this world. The more we attribute Corona to nature the more we experience pain because it seems so useless.
Living with Bitachon, trusting that Hashem has a plan and that He is good will affect things to change to obvious good here too. As we say every day in the month of Ellul in the psalm “Ledavid Hashem “-“they would have crushed me (my enemies) had I not believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living” Meaning if we trust in G-d that He is the one in control, that He determines our fate and not our enemies, our struggles and challenges will not and overcome us.
When on a plane, would you consider telling the pilot how to fly the plane? Do you worry every minute wondering if the pilot knows what he is doing? No we don’t! We have pure faith that the pilot knows where he’s going and how to get us there. The parable rings clear. G-d is our pilot. He runs the world, He knows where we need to go and He knows what we need to get there.
I am humbled. I no longer pretend to know much (and the more you learn,the more you realise how much there is to learn!)
Here in Melbourne we have already been through six lockdowns. We tend to forget the pain and the pressure we were under during lockdown as soon as it lifts and we go back to our normal ways, pretending nothing happened.
There’s a quote I like: ‘Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.’
There are things we can control and things we can. So let’s use each lockdown to become better people.
It is estimated that most human beings only use 10% of their brains capacity. I would say that most likely we only use a quarter of our God-given energy per day. We think when things go bad we can’t cope. Dig deep, seek and you shall find. I have found time and time again that we have a lot more resilience and resources then we think we have. Just like a muscle stretches and strengthens, our muscle with Torah and connection to G-d can only be stretched and strengthened through use and growth.
Jewish wisdom teaches us that we should go from strength to strength.
What strengths have I developed in this year? What has this year taught me?
How can I reconcile all the pain my friends family and the world has gone through?
I come before G-d with a newly found humbleness and depth. I thought I had grown last year, but boy was I mistaken. Humbled by all that I and my close friends and family have gone through. It has been a year of learning, falling, failing and getting up again better than before in some small way at least.
I’ve learned to forgive myself and others by realising life is short. I’ve learned to use time wisely. To love and be kind to others. To connect to G-d, talk to Him, argue with Him and show Him I appreciate what He does for me.
There is a chassidim tale that resonates.
There was once a Chassid of R Elimelech of Lizhensk who asked if he could watch his Rebbi do Kapparot Erev Yom Kippur.
Rebbe Elimelech replied : “My Kapparot is nothing out of the ordinary but if you really want to watch somebody do a special Kapparot you need to go watch Yossele ,the innkeeper. His kapparot is the “Real Deal!”
The Chassid eagerly hitched his wagon and rode out in search of Yossele the innkeeper.
At last he found the inn. He found Yossele very busy at work doling out drinks to the peasants. He asked if he could have a room to sleep over for the night. But Yossele had no room for him to sleep there that night. Not to be deterred he asked if he could sleep under one of the tables. Yossele agreed but asked that he be out by the morning. The chossid, of course agreed, excited that he would be able to watch Yossele’s kapparos. He waited patiently all night under the table and as morning came he heard Yossele tell his wife: “Zlata please bring me the notebook I keep on top of the cupboard so we can do Kapparot!”. The chossid, feigning sleep, eagerly listened in.
Yossele opened up the first notebook and said, “G-d, this past year I spoke unkindly to my friend, I woke up late for prayers and I forgot to give charity the way I should.”
“Oh dear G-d please forgive me!” He cried and wept bitter tears begging G-d for forgiveness.
He then asked Zlata to bring him the second notebook and began to read:
“This past year, my cow died in the middle of the year and my child got very ill and I had no money for wood so my family froze for a few days.”
With tears dripping down his face he said, “Last year I succumbed to my evil inclination and definitely did many sins but I also prayed to You for a year of health and prosperity and I trusted in You that it would indeed be this way.” “G-d,tonight is Yom Kippur, let’s settle the score, I won’t be upset at you for not following through on a happy, healthy and prosperous year. And you dear G-d will not be upset at me for the failings I have had.”
He then raised his notebook over his head and circled it three times over his head and said: “This is my exchange, this is my expiration, this is my atonement” and with that he threw both notebooks into the fireplace.
I say: Dear G-d, we have certainly sinned here and there, we are not perfect but G-d we love you and you love us. You promised us Moshiach and yet we are here, still waiting yet still believing in You.
Let’s start anew, afresh. We on our limitations and connection to You. And You on your promise for a world where we can see and feel your good.
May this year truly be a year of goodness that is sweet and sweetness that is good! Shana Tova umesuka!!!