The bus is so empty, I told the bus driver. Yes, he replied, people are scared of the virus. Really? Sure, he said but added, While there is nothing to worry about. When it’s your time, you die. Never before.
Well, I told him, that’s so fast. We look both ways before we cross the street. We can argue if in the end (pardon the pun), Heaven or the stars decide if one dies but we’re supposed to try and protect ourselves.
It may’ve been a funny sight: this driver with a bare clean-shaven scalp arguing for how insignificant human action is and me with all my ultra-orthodox appearance explaining that we’re nevertheless put in charge.
I added: Besides, there is no Commandment to die. Maybe in another 20 years, medical science will put our life expectation at 100; by the time we get there, it will be 140, and two generations later, no one will die anymore; it could be us. And he said ‘faithfully’: We will all die.
I said: What you say, people sometimes say in order to justify smoking tobacco. (I thought: Who knows? Maybe he smokes. I can’t let pass on this opportunity to give him logical proof that he should stop.) We need to do all we can to stay alive. Chai bahem — the Torah is given to have us live, not die. Uvachartah bachayim — And choose life — and not death. We have a choice. Use it.
And then, I had to get out. I wished him the best. He wished me nothing. But that’s OK if he doesn’t believe we can’t do anything about anything. At least he’s not a hypocrite. Though, he can’t help that, of course ….