An Open Letter to God – Re: Covid-19

Dear God,

Sometimes, I wonder how You feel about your children.

On the one hand, your blessings are abundant. Each day, You wake us up to the beauty of Your majestic world, and we are wowed.

We see You, and we sense Your love in every ray of sunshine, in every drop of rain, in the sweet melodies of your creatures, and on the smiling face of every child. Your kindness and faith in us are also evident in every breath we take, and in every journey, You lead us on. King David’s words resonate profoundly: “G-d is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations.”

On the other hand, your children’s lives are replete with pain and suffering. The coronavirus has disrupted our entire globe and has caused havoc and destruction in the four corners of Your world. In our Scottsdale community alone, good and innocent people have fallen ill and are still struggling to recover from this dreadful virus. Others, have lost their jobs, and are struggling to stay afloat, physically and emotionally.

It is also beyond me how this new reality has also prevented us from following the guidelines that you have set in place since creation. Our Synagogue in Scottsdale, which we recently built from the ground up for Your name’s sake, as well as countless Synagogues across the world, are now closed. But didn’t You ask us to fill them with Your children and their prayers? And how about weddings that are now left unattended? Haven’t You required us, from the beginning of times, to fulfill the Mitzvah of rejoicing the bride and the groom on the day of their matrimony?

On a more personal note, I could not comprehend the dire circumstances you created for a dear friend and congregant this week. His father, lost his battle to the coronavirus this past Wednesday, in Paris, France, and my friend was unable to attend to him during his last moments in this world, to bury him, and to properly mourn for him. But did you not instruct us to respect our parents, to fulfill all of their needs, and to mourn for them properly in due time?

Yes, it is true. Among the many curses that this pandemic has brought upon us, many blessings have also emerged. Your people, who have been forced to self-quarantine, have also learned to go inward, and re-connect to all that is dear and important: their families, their values, their souls. We have also learned that we are all interconnected, and if a sneeze can have such a global impact, a smile and a good deed can impact our world just as much, if not more. And we have also developed a deeper appreciation for living the now fully and unreservedly, filling every moment with meaning and purpose, as tomorrow is not guaranteed.

And so, as we are about to conclude yet another turbulent week, let us make a deal:
We, your children, will continue to internalize the life-lessons which you have thrust upon us. We will continue to hold fast to Your values, to unite together, and to make Your world better and better each day, with acts of goodness, and deeds of kindness. We will also do our very best to fulfill our G-d given purpose in Your world, and to focus on that which “we are needed for,” much more than on “what we need.”

I know that You trust us when we utter these words to you. After all, You and I know of our community members, and countless more, who have taken upon themselves to deepen their connection with their Divine selves, with their families, and with the human family. During these uncertain times, they have also grown spiritually in so many ways: some have affixed Mezuzot on their doorposts; others have taken upon themselves to light Shabbat candles every Friday afternoon, and many others have reached out to the vulnerable in our communities and showered them with generous gifts.

But You, God, the One who “sees the heart of man” (I Samuel 16:7), we ask that You take into account all of these deeds, along with all of the future needs that we will take upon ourselves, and place them lovingly before Your holy throne.

And in the merit of all of these deeds, and in the merit of Your people who love you and yearn for you, please eradicate this plague from our world immediately, and bless us all with healing and good health. Grant us Your blessings of peace, happiness, and redemption.

And above all, may we finally merit to witness the fulfillment of Isaiah’s words: “Your sun will never set again, and your moon will wane no more; the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your days of sorrow will end.”

Amen.

Yours faithfully,
Pinchas

About the Author
Rabbi Pinchas Allouche is the founding Rabbi of Congregation Beth Tefillah in Scottsdale, Arizona, where he resides with his wife, Esther, and nine children. He is a respected rabbinic figure, a renowned lecturer, and a prominent author of many essays on the Jewish faith, mysticism, and social-criticism. Besides his academic pedigree, Rabbi Allouche is richly-cultural, having lived in France, where he was born, South Africa and Israel. He is also fluent in English, Hebrew, French and Italian. Rabbi Allouche is a member of AIPAC's National Council, and a member of the Vaad Harabanim, the Orthodox Rabbinic Council of Arizona. Rabbi Allouche's wise, profound, and sensitive perspective on the world and its people, on life and living, is highly regarded and sought-after by communities and individuals of all backgrounds. Rabbi Allouche is also tremendously involved in the Jewish community of Greater Phoenix, and he teaches middle-school Judaics at the local Jewish Day School. Rabbi Allouche is also a blogger for many online publications including the Huffington Post, and The Times of Israel. Rabbi Allouche was listed in the Jewish Daily Forward as one of America's 36 Most Inspiring Rabbis, who are "shaping 21st Century Judaism." Rabbi Allouche can be reached at: Rabbi@BethTefillahAZ.org
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