In the last few hours of Chanukah, I am asking for a miracle. We, who lit candles in the last eight nights, were saying blessings and singing about miracles that had happened in’ those days’, have we prayed enough for the miracle now, that will end this plague?
Who would have thought on Purim, that on Chanukah we will be still in the corona craziness? Who would have thought that we will go through the entire cycle (almost the entire – we still have Tu Bi’Shvat) of Jewish Holidays in concern or neglect, depending on the personal attitude, of coronavirus?
Each day we hear statistics about how many people are virus-positive (so sad the word ‘positive’ has now such a negative meaning), and how many died. Numbers. Until we know someone personally. Unfortunately, more of us know someone who got sick with Covid-19. And some of us know someone who died because of it…
This week, in Poland, at age 65 died actor Piotr Machalica. I did not know him in person, but suddenly Covid -19 has his face to me. I grew up on plays with him, in “Powszechny” Theater, where I spent many evenings in my high school days. I watched him in my adult life in other Warsaw theaters. He was unique; perfect in little gestures and words, and he always was.
And it took me few days to process his sudden death, not only because Poland lost one of the best theater actors, and many of my friends lost their friend, but also because after months of dealing with the fear of Covid-19, suddenly it became real, again. Machalica was not a number in the statistics.
I am sure that most of you can think now of at least one person, who you knew in person, or admired from a distance, and Covid-19 has stolen this person from you.
How to deal with this? On the one hand, we cannot live in the fear constantly. We cannot also feed our anxieties. On the other – we cannot deny the right to those emotions. Often, those who keep the rules of corona restrictions are facing condemnation from those, who don’t believe in the pandemic. Or, who simply decided to ignore it.
Each of us, over months of exhausting lockdowns, not even mentioning professional losses, is trying to find the personal balance between staying healthy and sane. It is challenging. And I am the last person to give a recipe on how to do it… But I know, that we must give each other space, empathy, and acceptance to the individual experience each of us has, during this year.
Additionally, in Israel, many of us, Olim Hadashim, have not seen our families abroad, for almost a year. Despite the recent euphoric tourist and business travel boom to Dubai, there are still problems to fly to many places in the world. Moreover, there is a fear that while visiting our parents, we will infect them…
After this week of different than other years, but still, really joyful and happy Chanukah in Tel Aviv, when the last candles went out… I had this sad thought: who will light candles next year?
Therefore I am asking for a miracle that will end this horrible plague. ‘NES’ of our days. Ben Gurion believed in miracles, we should, too.