We’re in the middle of a plague. I’m vaccinated so I’m practically removed from danger. But I can still pick up the virus and give it to someone else. So, I still have to wear one or two facemasks, socially distance, avoid crowded places, etc. I also don’t want to ‘inspire’ others to disregard health advice. Mostly, I don’t want to be a link in a chain of infection that could sicken, main, or kill people. In my Bible, it says: Guard thou health very well, Love your fellow as yourself, and Thou shan’t murder (the Ten Commandments). It does not say: pray in a shul.
The people who pray in my shul now are not dishonest. They are just not Dutch but thoroughly Israeli. At the moment, we can only be in shul with 5 people with face masks spread out 2 meters apart from everyone else. For them, that is done when 25 people, most of them with a face mask, most of them are spread out 2 meters apart from almost everyone else.
When the genius Hareidic rabbi of the shul gave a lecture of half an hour without a mask, I was done being there until the epidemic has died down.
In the synagogues that I pray, prayers are said for the welfare of the government. To not obey the authorities’ directives, just because it’s so inconvenient, means dishonesty. Not only was I not born a liar (who is?). We also know that G^d doesn’t listen to the prayers of liars.
The Sages teach us in Sayings of the Fathers not to sit in the company of fools and not to follow the majority in evil. Maimonides says that if there are no proper people around, go live alone in the desert. My home.
When Rabbi Simon with his son, after many years, came out of the cave, his evil eye burned normal people to death and he had to return for another year to not destroy normal life. I’ve been inside for 10 months and I just can’t believe what I see. How can so many religious Jews have no respect for authority, human life, and the wellbeing of others?
So, I’m back praying at home, for the time being.
This week, my son got married in Benay Barak. I showed up with my biggest smile. I asked my son beforehand if I could distribute masks. No. Or, if I could put a pile of them on my table. No. And I know my place. It’s not my wedding. I just came to make bride and groom happy. I found almost all things done in the open and socially distant. And I just didn’t participate in or encourage things done too close for health or comfort.