You are heroes. You who follow the guidelines. You who despite the chaos in the government simply take personal responsibility for your lives and those of your loved ones. You who look at the morbidity and mortality statistics and act sensibly. You who did not attend a mass funeral or an unlawful party and did not take off your mask at the office. You who have been juggling your work and domestic duties. You who long for an intimate breakfast with your spouse in a coffee shop after the kids have gone off to school. What nostalgia!
The State of Israel’s front lines can be found today on a new battlefield: it’s located between the living room and the kitchen. Our country is holding strong at this moment in the merit of millions of people like you. Parents who wake their children in the morning for remote learning, wipe tears away after the children fight, print homework assignments, and plan afternoon activities, all the while serving as Zoom technicians, organizers, cleaners, and school administrators. (When will someone invent an app that makes the sound of a school bell?)
No, a 35-year-old lawyer is not supposed to sit at 10 in the morning with a daughter in first grade and teach her how to write Hebrew vowels, while an older brother complains in the background about WiFi service. No, a 38-year-old computer programmer is not supposed to leave voicemessages on WhatsApp at 12 noon regarding her job while trying to quiet children in the background. Only this week, our little girl asked if we are now ordering her a Purim costume just for her or so that her friends can see it too. And then she added: “Mommy, I don’t even remember my place in the classroom.”
When all of this will is over, you are the ones who will deserve a Medal of Honor. You who followed the corona guidelines even when you could have slacked off. You who did not open your businesses. You who again and again criticized the government’s coronavirus management, and continued to pray in a public park. Or explained to your child why we could not celebrate birthdays this year as usual, and not because you feared fines or police. There is not just a picture here of one great victory, but numerous little moments of triumph.
The Rambam writes that the complete and perfected person does not observe mitzvot out of reverence or fear, but “does the truth because it is the truth and, ultimately, good will come from it.” (Mishneh Torah, Hilchot Teshuva, 10:2) Millions of people in Israel, from all sectors, are presently doing the truth simply because it is the truth. Thank you. And ultimately good will come from it.
Translation by Yehoshua Siskin