We believe that there’s an interesting analogy to discuss between the 10th plague of Egypt (Death of Firstborn) in the Exodus story, and the current Coronavirus crisis.
The Death of Firstborn plague (מַכַּת בְּכוֹרוֹת) is with no doubt a peak in the Exodus story. It impacted all people, of all classes, gender and ages. Even Pharaoh and his beloved ones — the well established and stable institution — were not immune of it. This was the plague which forced him to change his perspective overnight, and not only agree to let the Israelites go — but to actually force them to leave, and right away. Interestingly enough, very quickly afterwards he changes his mind again, goes back to his old ways, chases the Israelites to the Red Sea, and we all know how this ends for him.
Back to the 10th Plague — it is such an important moment in the story, that the entire holiday is named in its context. Passover — as the Lord passed over those who did not perish in this act. And who exactly did God pass over? Who was saved from this horrible act? Not the Israelites as a whole — but those who took action and marked their homes. The Plague only passed over those who took action and were active. And ever then – in the aftermath of this act, they had to rush quickly and leave Egypt — something they were wishing and willing to do a long time ago, but now they have to do it fast, whether they are ready or not.
The Corona Crisis
Just like the 10th plague, It impacts all people, of all classes, gender and ages. Even big corporations and the well and established institution are not immune of it. Many are now forced to change their perspective overnight, and not only agree to change – but pursue it actively, and right away. It will be interesting to see how many will go back to their old ways, once we start recovering from this crisis.
Who is passed over by the Corona crisis? Who is not only saved from this horrible act and survives, but also positioned to thrive? Those who are proactive and embrace the change. Not all digital businesses will necessarily survive, not all remote-work oriented companies will necessarily thrive. Not if they are passive and “wait for the storm to be over.” IT is not enough to be poised, we have to be proactive. On the other hand, not all old-fashioned businesses will necessarily decline, not all offline and physical brick-and-mortar companies and organizations will necessarily demise and fall. Not if they embrace change.
Whether you are on this side or the other, embracing change now has to be fast. Just like the Israelites who long dreamed of the Exodus, and then and to rush and do it – Just like our forefathers who long dreamed to return to our land as we end every Passover Seder with “next year in the build Jerusalem” and then had build modern Israel fast — just like them – we have to embrace change fast, and adapt to the new world that awaits up after COVID-19, the new economy, the new world of work, the new normal — the desert of reality that awaits us after leaving the land of Goshen in Egypt, the same desert which is also the long 40-years-journey to our Promised land.
This is our current Exodus story.