Rabbi Ralph’s regular anti-Corona vaccine dose

Words of Chizuk and Inspiration

One of the wonders of these strange and perplexing times is that it reduces life to the essentials. It sharpens your focus on the things that really matter – your health, your relationships, your faith, your family, your community.

So many of the things that were so important a month ago – or was it just a week ago – no longer seem that significant.

This is actually one of the critical lessons of matzah because it is bread in its most basic form, simply flour and water. Its got no additives, no hot air, no pretensions, no obfuscations, no put-on-airs.

So in this matzah corona season I get time to think, to reflect on those closest to me. For some the actual close proximity over an extended period can be taxing. I may see things I didn’t expect or don’t like. On the other hand, as in the joke: – Yesterday I had to stay home and the computer and phone weren’t working due to a power outage, so I sat down on the couch to talk to the woman in my lounge. She’s actually a remarkable individual. Oh… she’s my wife!

In this strange season I get to more deeply appreciate the love of my family and the warmth of my friends. For some this may be the opportunity to sit down and have that long put-off talk (and remember help is just a phone or WhatsApp call away).

Sitting at my desk yesterday, I heard a beautiful symphony of sweet bird-song. I looked up at the tree that brushes the window and caught a glimpse of some tiny birds flitting from branch to branch, one pair rubbing their small heads on each other. They were exquisitely camouflaged and hard to spot. Usually I wouldn’t have been at home or too busy to notice, to take the time to look up, to thank God for all the good still in my life.

I thanked those birds for taking me away momentarily from the latest Corona figures on the TV and radio. I thanked them for reminding me that for all the pain, confusion, anxiety and suffering around, for all the havoc this diminutive virus is transmitting across the world, it is also getting us to re-evaluate the small acts of love and tenderness we can perform, to be thankful for the little gifts God is giving us every day that  we wake to good health, positive people and a glorious blue sky.

I was grateful to them for nudging me to look up:

“I lift up my eyes to the mountains – where will my help come from? My help comes from God, Creator of Heaven and Earth.” (Psalm 121)

About the Author
Rabbi Genende recently retired as the Senior Rabbi of Melbourne’s premier Caulfield Shule and took up the position of Senior Rabbi and Manager to Jewish Care Victoria, Melbourne’s largest Jewish organisation. He was a senior Reserve Chaplain in the South African Defence Force and is now Principal Rabbi to the Australian Defence Force, Member of the Religious Advisory Council to the Minister of Defence (RACS), board member of AIJAC (Australian Israel Jewish Affairs Council) and member of the Premier's Mulitifaith Advisory Group. He was President of JCMA (Jewish Christian Muslim Association) and a long time executive member of the Rabbinical Association of Victoria. He also oversees Yad BeYad a premarital relationship program, is a member of Swinburne University’s Research Ethics Committee and of the DHHS ,Department of Health Ethics Committee and sits on the Glen Eira City Council’s Committee responsible for its Reconciliation Action Plan for recognition and integration of our first peoples. Ralph has a passion for social justice and creating bridges between different cultures and faiths. For him the purpose of religion is to create a better society for all people and to engage with the critical issues facing Australian society. The role of the rabbi is, in his words, to challenge the comfortable and comfort the challenged. In 2018 Rabbi Genende was awarded an OAM for his services to multi-faith relations, and to the Jewish community of Victoria. Rabbi Genende is a trained counsellor with a Masters degree from Auckland University. He is married to Caron, a psychologist, and they have three children and two grandchildren.