Even if you don’t have the Virus you are not supposed to go out of the house except for emergencies.
This is Israel on March 24, 2020.
However, this is not the first time we have been in Quarantine.
The Jews went around In circles for 40 years after they left Egypt because of the incident with the Spies and also because of the Golden Calf.
They had no Skype or Zoom and no online Shearim. How did they keep themselves busy for forty years?
One of the principals of Torah study is that each week the Torah portion (called the Parsha) sets the tone for the week. Along with that, we say the “energy” of last week’s Parsha stays with us until Tuesday (today) of the following week.
My Rabbi (Ephraim Sprecher) pointed out to me that the last verse in the last chapter in the book of Shmoat (Exodus) that we finished on Saturday in the Synagogue, says “For the cloud of the Lord was upon the tabernacle by day, and fire used to be on it by night, before the eyes of all the house of Israel, throughout their journeys.
Rashi, (our primary biblical commentator) however questions the verse. The cloud did not stay on them when the Israelite’s journeyed only when they stayed at home did the cloud stay on top of them. Rashi says on the verse,” Throughout all their journeys-At every journey which they made the cloud abode in the place where they rested-so interpret the word travels מסעיהם as their resting place also called מסע and similarly in Gen. 13.3 -when he went to his resting places the same word למסעיו for resting is used for travel. Since from the place of resting they again journeyed. Therefore all of them (the resting places) between journeys are also called journeys.
So we are to learn from this that the resting places were also considered journeys. This is the lesson we can learn from being stuck in our homes. Being stuck is also a journey and what we do with this time is up to us.
Will we be able to look back on this period and say we accomplished a great deal and here is what I have to show for it (I finished writing my book, I cleaned out six years of garbage, etc)
Or will we say we played video games and it wasn’t much of a journey.
Onwards and Upwards!
Remember it is very important to be nice to each other when you are stuck together, here is an example from:
A Cute Couple
Moishe and Miriam Epstein, in their late 80s called a handyman to do some work around their house.
“Honey why don’t you sit down by the table and we’ll start supper,” said Miriam to Moishe, husband of 50 years.
“Sure thing,” Moishe replied, settling himself down.
“Now darling, would you like the soup first or the salad?” asked Miriam.
“Umm I guess I’ll take the soup,” Moishe responded.
After a whole meal of one endearing term after another, the handyman who was watching in disbelief couldn’t contain his curiosity any longer. He snuck into the kitchen and asked, “Excuse me Mrs. Epstein. Do you always talk so sweetly to your husband like that?”
“Son, I’ll be honest with you,” Miriam replied. “It’s been five years now, and I just can’t remember his name but I am just too embarrassed to ask, so I am sweet!”