By Sara Yitta Gopin, Beis Moshiach
An unprecedented worldwide upheaval has been triggered by the corona pandemic. As I write these words there are heartfelt prayers for all those in need of a speedy recovery. The panic in the atmosphere is palpable, and has abruptly brought the regular hustle and bustle of my neighborhood in Israel to an unexpected halt. Most of the educational institutions are temporarily closed. Instead of the daily noise of rushing and honking cars, I can hear the chirping of the birds, as I do on Shabbos. Obviously, many people are at home, and finding comfort being together with their families. There is a surrealistic peaceful serenity, despite the escalated anxiety and fear of the unknown.
It was Shabbos Parshas Parah and, even though many people are in quarantine, there was a special chayus in the shul. All those around me were davening with great kavanah, and the uplifting atmosphere reminded me of Yom Kippur. Hearing the Torah reading of Parshas Ki Tisah describe the incense offering given by the Kohen Gadol in the Kodesh Hakodashim on Yom Kippur enhanced the inspiration even more.
After having the privilege of living in Eretz Yisroel for over thirty-six years, I can definitely attest to the fact that there have been numerous periods of overwhelming stress. Sirens shrieking in the middle of the night followed by the frightening sensation of your own home shaking as the “boom” echoes nearby. Tragedies of kidnapped soldiers and terror attacks, the joy of holidays suddenly suspended by funerals of murdered victims, “sealed” rooms during the Gulf War… So much more can be said, but this time the insecurity that is prevalent is very different. It is not because we are afraid of those who are determined to destroy us, but rather an introspection that is precipitated by the “enemy from within.”
We are living in 2020, when advancements in technology have surpassed unimaginable peaks. Throughout history we have witnessed the epitome of human pride accompanied by an arrogant refusal to acknowledge that Hashem is orchestrating the world in a way that enables these achievements. China symbolizes the world’s greatest work force, a populace that is valued for its robotic ability to produce commodities at record speed. Success creates an unbridled ego, and triggers an incessant demand from vulnerable people, while trampling over their human heart. One microscopic germ, covid-19, was sent by Hashem to shatter this modern-day Tower of Bavel. Now nothing is “made in China,” except for hospitals and masks in order to stay alive. There is no doubt in my mind that witnessing the downfall of this “superhuman” country is awakening a universal prayer to Hashem for salvation. In our words, for the Geulah!!!
On the home front, as Lubavitcher chassidim, no one can deny that technological advancements present an unforeseen challenge to maintaining healthy religious lives. In the privacy of our homes, our personal domain, a free spirit easily overcomes us. At those fateful moments we fail to see that Hashem is watching every click of our keyboards. Such is the reality that characterizes our times and enables the most severe existential dichotomy. One invests in his public image, but in his private chambers the spiritual germs are thriving rapidly, without any boundaries. As long as external costumes cover up inner ailments, they become more deeply ingrained and perpetuated. Societal ills have become rampant, affecting us as well, and Hashem has issued a wake-up call in order to heal the shallowness of this fragmented world.
The recent global pandemic is called “corona,” a derivation of the word “crown.” The specific precautions that are required in order to protect oneself from contacting this dangerous germ inspire us to learn a unique lesson. Our spiritual state affects everyone around us, and the truth of what is transpiring inside of us can never be hidden. Even without voluntary communication, moral and spiritual “viruses” have the power to contaminate all those in their presence. The time has come for us to realize that every thought, speech and action has universal impact, and act accordingly.
The antidote to this life-threatening pandemic is through pnimiyus. When the light of Torah permeates us until the very core of our neshamas we are truly illuminated. Observing the mitzvahs with love and chassidishe vitality has a magnetic effect, drawing fellow Jews closer and igniting their Divine sparks. Passion in avodas Hashem is contagious. Cleansing our neshamas, it will surely bring immediate worldwide purification from the corona virus, and every spiritual illness.
Our lives have lost all semblance of stability, which is preparing us for a new and enlightened reality, the Final Redemption. Wearing our golden crown, we stand in the front lines with an unprecedented anticipation to coronate the Rebbe, Melech HaMoshiach. Yes, we are truly ready!!!
The magazine can be obtained in stores around Crown Heights. To purchase a subscription, please go to: bmoshiach.org