I live in a quiet neighbourhood. Usually, the most noise comes from the birds sitting on the rooftops and laughing at the hungry cats. Today was different.
The air was filled with the rather annoying refrain Maccabi Sherutai Briut – Maccabi Health Services – as everyone tried their luck getting an appointment for their coronavirus vaccination. Every now and then, a voice would break in to tell us how wonderful they were, but, as everyone was at a different stage in the recording, the result was just a horrendous cacophony.
Maccabi had not seen fit to update its telephone system, so no one had any idea of their place in the queue, nor how long before their call would be answered.
It seems that no one is taking this life-threatening pandemic very seriously. A whole day was wasted yesterday – Shabbat. Yes Maccabi ‘without a break’ was closed. Where was the rabbinate? Could they not have stepped in and told Maccabi that it was a clear case of Pikuach Nefesh. This principle in Jewish law states that preservation of human life overrides nearly every other religious rule. When life is in danger, to use a perhaps inappropriate expression, all bets are off. Almost any commandment of the Torah becomes inapplicable.
The coronavirus has shown that people’s lives are most certainly in danger. As of today, worldwide, there have been 76,732,113 cases and 1,694,152 deaths. If this doesn’t justify Pikuach Nefesh, what would?
It is very worrying to discover that we have a truly third-world health system. The virus has been with us for nearly a year. Surely this has given Maccabi time to update its telephone system.
We can only hope that those in charge of the defense of our small nation are better equipped to deal with the deadly enemies that surround us, Luckily, they are big enough to be seen with the naked eye, no microscopes needed. Unfortunately, there is no simple vaccine.
News Flash – someone has just answered, and I have my appointment with the needle in just a couple of days. I have to drive to Rishon LeZion, Rehovot is too small and unimportant to have a vaccination station. This leaves me with the difficult calculation – which is more dangerous, driving 30 kilometres on our roads or catching the virus?
But all is not well. I still need to make more appointments, an appointment for my sore finger, swollen after the hours spent dialing the same number so many times. My throat is sore from screaming at the totally indifferent phone. My ear bruised from holding the phone so close, trying to make out the rather garbled messages from my health supplier.
Wishing all my readers a quick and successful vaccination.