Contemplating Corona

בס”ד

Our world has turned upside down and inside out.  Just a few months ago, the majority of the world population watched as China attempted to deal with the novel coronavirus which seemed to be an exclusively Chinese phenomenon.  It didn’t take long in this age of international transportation and global economics, for the virus to reach almost every corner of our planet.  This is no longer China’s problem.  This is a pandemic which has only begun to display its effects on our world in a variety of fields: health, science, economy, industry and social behavior. The world will not be the same place when this is over.  Many will have paid with their lives and their families will be grieving for them.  Many will be wiped out economically and will need to muster up the strength to recover and restart their lives.  Many may not be able to do so and will become a burden on governments all over the planet.  The market will fluctuate and some will speculate and win, while many may lose their pants doing so.  When this is over our health systems will need to recover.   There will be a need to learn from mistakes made, in time for future possible pandemics.  New technology and industry may arise as a result of the insular ways in which we have become accustomed to running our lives as a result of isolation orders.  Working and learning from home through the internet will become the way of the future which means that human social behavior may morph into something we have never experienced before.  Much of our social activity will be conducted online rather than in person.  There will be less touch, less personal interaction, more fear, more anxiety and though mankind will likely adapt, we are beginning to ask questions about just how our future societies will look.  What will be the social costs of such a secluded and private way of living?  How will relationships change as a result?

Of course, whenever tragedy befalls us, as a society, we must attempt to concentrate on the positive in order to learn how to deal with the negative.  What good will have come out of the experience, which we can take with us in building a new future?  Many of us are already taking stock of our values.  What is most important to me?  Who is most important to me?  How do I wish to change my lifestyle so that I will be able to live a life closer to my new found values?  What changes in my daily activities do I believe I can make in order to obtain my goals, without forfeiting comfort, family connection, community, etc.?  These are some of the thoughts many people, now stuck in isolation, are beginning to ask themselves.  If this isolation lasts a good few months, as authorities warn us it may, many of us will find that our lives will not be as they were before Corona.

On the global sphere, world leaders need to begin to ask themselves what they can do to cooperate better so that nations can be more transparent with one another, share information honestly and assist each other with the problems as they arise, rather than wait until they affect us all.  At this point, each nation has shut borders and in so doing, is attempting to contain the threat. When we come out of this global disaster, communication between leaders and communal lessons as to how we must change the way we do everything from what we eat, how we grow crops and animal livestock, how we medicate, how we educate, how we travel and how we relate to each other, must be on the discussion table.  We have the global institutions and organizations in place but they have been, until now, too bogged down with politics to have a truly constructive role in global cooperation for the good of mankind.  There is a need for nations to concentrate on the commonalities between us, rather than our differences.  This pandemic shows us just how much we are alike.  We are all equally vulnerable.

Our world has been spiraling out of control for a long time and this pandemic is the Almighty’s way of putting a huge Stop Sign in front of us all.  We evidently, as a global community, as well as individually, have run out of gas.  The gas I speak of is what truly keeps the world going, not the black gold type, but rather the spiritual type.  From a global view, our world has become so competitive and nations have become so greedy, obsessively conquering one another at the expense of human dignity and human rights. The value of life has been watered down so drastically through world terrorism and economic greed, and the amount of suffering has become unbearable in many parts of the world.  We must begin to see ourselves in a more global context.  What happens half way around the world DOES affect us all and we can no longer act the monkey who speaks no evil, hears no evil, and sees no evil, because acting in such a manner is evil in itself.

On a personal level, we are all being forced to STOP whatever it is we were doing, stay inside, concentrate on our families, our health, everything that is personal to us.  In so doing, the Almighty has forced us to reconsider our personal relationships with our spouse, our children, our parents, extended family members, friends and community.  The Almighty has also forced each and every one of us to recognize just who is in charge of the world.  We may have been under the false impression that Trump, Putin, Khomeini, Netanyahu, Kim Jong-un or someone else, holds the cards, but all of them have been trumped (for lack of a better word) and the truth has been revealed.  With the wave of His hand, G-d has shown us that He hasn’t disappeared from this world despite what we may have thought.  We may have thought that we have progressed in science to the point that we no longer need G-d, believing we have surpassed Him.  We can now produce life or change one’s sex from male to female and back again.  We can even send a man to another planet and we may soon be able to sustain life there as well.  So who needs G-d?

When one is able to turn on the computer and see, in real time, so many dying, fear of death hits home.  Even those who were so removed from G-d, find themselves asking Him for help.  He has, strangely enough, re-entered our global consciousness.  We need to reassess our relationship with G-d, each of us, through our own culture, language and traditions in order to find peace and calm within.  The knowledge that G-d exists and that He has a plan which will be for the good of the world, in the end, is comforting.   A relationship with G-d can reassure us that He is in charge, and the knowledge that we are but a link in His chain of survival of something greater than ourselves, can give us peace.

May humanity evolve from this great challenge alive and healthy, both physically and psychologically, so that we may learn from this experience and better our world from here on in.

About the Author
I am the daughter of Hungarian Holocaust survivors who made it to the shores of the U.S. after losing a large, extended family. They succeeded in building a life for themselves and their child surviving son of 4 yrs. I was born 6 years after their arrival. I grew up in a loving, middle class family. My mother was very expressive and didn't hold back her stories regarding her experiences in the Holocaust. It was from my mother that I believe I inherited my knack for writing. She too, wrote regularly, in English (her 2nd language) in a diary which only became known to me after her death. I began showing an interest in my Jewish roots, in HS and decided to join a 1 yr. program in Israel on a kibbutz after graduation. I fell in love with Israel and upon return to West Coast, met my husband, an Israeli foreign student. At some point, we both became religious, made Aliyah with our 4 children and have lived in Israel for 27 yrs. Our very large extended family reside throughout Israel and our grandchildren are growing up as Israelis, something I am very proud of. I taught English to Native English speakers for over 20 yrs. here in Israel and am now retired.
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