I underestimated this coronavirus.
I’ve never given much thought to the High Holiday prayers where we say, “Our Father in Heaven, remove the plague from our midst.”
I never imagined Corona could break my heart, but it did this week when I spoke to a woman who will be doing the Seder alone for the first time in her 76 years. No children or grandchildren. Just her, lonely, isolated, stuck in her apartment for weeks already.
I never thought Corona would make me cry, but it did when I paid a virtual shiva visit to a woman who lost her father to the virus. I cried with her as she described not only losing her father, but sitting shiva with no visitors and nobody to say kaddish for him.
I was devastated to learn that Rabbi Yisroel Friedman, Rosh Yeshiva of the school I studied in many years ago, passed away this week. May his memory be a blessing.
My heart physically aches when I see the hundreds of names of people (including friends and family) needing our prayers for a speedy recovery.
And when news arrives of people I know, admire, and respect, who have passed away, my heart shatters.
But in tandem with the pain, the turmoil, and the heartbreak, Corona has brought out the best in us. I see it all around me.
I see people praying for those they don’t even know. I see Torah being studied at an unprecedented rate across the universe.
I am connecting with friends I have not seen in 25 years. Corona has brought us together.
I am spending more time with my children, too. I’ve been with my family for breakfast, lunch, and supper every day!
Tens of thousands of homes have become beacons of light and sanctuaries of Torah.
I spoke with a doctor this week who has volunteered to go into the eye of the storm—the hardest hit hospitals—to help complete strangers.
These are the things, the people, the experiences that inspire me. In the darkest of times, there are still rays of light peeking through, illuminating the world for the rest of us.
When the Jews left Egypt, we are told “their cries went up to Heaven,” and, “G-d heard their cries.” I cannot imagine that G-d does not hear us now. Our cries, our tears, our pleas. He hears it all.
Master of the Universe, we beseech you: It’s time to end this plague and bring Moshiach right now!
Wishing you all a kosher and happy Pesach.
Rabbi Uriel Vigler