UNSEEN AND UNKNOWN
A COVID THOUGHT
Rabbi Yakov Saacks, The Chai Center, Dix Hills, NY
I was in the airport recently dropping someone off. It was the first time in many months that I had been in an airport building and what I saw both astounded and saddened me.
I saw an empty — and I mean empty — terminal with literally no one around other than a few passengers and a lot more Port Authority employees. I witnessed closed stores and shops, and those that were open had no customers. It was depressing to see and a part of me was frightened and agitated. I mean if this airport is a microcosm of what is going on, then how will we ever recover from this unknown and unseen virus.
As a student of Chassidic philosophy, I was taught that everything that we encounter and anything that crosses our path should be viewed as a life lesson. So, I asked myself what on earth can I glean from living through this pandemic.
I have written about some of the positive effects of Covid, such as appreciating having a home, resetting priorities and acknowledging heroes, such as first responders in our midst. The problem though is that as Covid rages on, these silver lining type clichés can get stale and become underwhelming.
After exiting the airport feeling down, an epiphany struck me and I quickly jotted this fleeting thought whilst standing at the street crossing.
This humongous transportation hub that houses one of the busiest airports in the country has been reduced to a shadow of its former self. It has gone from being alive, prosperous, insanely busy, incredibly important and vital to a limited crew and a small airport feel. What caused this horrific downfall? Something that is invisible to the naked eye and an unknown entity. Wild stuff. An invisible energy that can only be measured in a scientific lab brings down Gotham!
Viewing this from a Chassidic lens, I said to myself, “If something microscopic can cause such destruction, then this must also be true in the affirmative, and other microscopic things can rebuild.” You see, things do not only work one way. If they exist in the negative, then they must also exist in the positive and vice versa. Take fire as an example. Fire can destroy a life but fire can also save a life. An army can kill but it also protects.
There are some positive energies in the world that are mighty, yet most people dismiss them as being insignificant, and they are often overlooked. Some seem to be trivial and are invisible in terms of importance.
Here are examples of magnanimous and life-altering things you can do that are so small, yet incredibly powerful, and wholly capable of creating positive energy.
A good morning to a homeless person can make this human being feel normal and be so uplifting and hopeful that he or she yearns to live another day.
Assisting an elderly person pack her car after a run to the grocery store and offering to return the cart so that she does not have to.
Saying thank you to the person who filled your car with fuel, the grocery bagger or the mail carrier.
We are taught that it is the everyday, seemingly inconsequential things that catch God’s eye. The reason being when an everyday minor act of kindness is performed; it is specifically this that arouses His mercies. We send a small signal up to God and He responds in greater measure.
And by God, we need all the mercy, compassion and love we can get.
Be safe and kind.