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Beit Midrash Jewish Laws and Thoughts The Coronavirus Pandemic

A Second Wave of Postponing Our Immediate Needs and Satisfactions

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As we were attending services in the synagogue this past Sabbath and during Chag Shavu'ot, we heard rumors of a possible outbreak of the Coronavirus yet again. A potential second wave of this highly contagious virus is upon us. We kept hearing key words like "outbreak", "quarantine" and "social distancing" over and over again. There was a lot of whispering in the atmosphere and rumors which were spread by congregants.
Every person has an opinion and thinks he is such a "wisenheimer"-know it all.
In reality, the situation is not as grim as it looks.However, in light of the rise of recurrent corona cases, the issue of postponing our immediate needs and satisfactions is resurfacing yet again.
We already mentioned postponing our immediate needs and satisfactions דחיית ספוקים, defining & setting up new priorities, as well as בלימת דחפים, meaning to curb, harness, control our impulses and bring them to a complete halt, in previous articles.
The ability to remain on 'constant alert' even after we have managed to control the bulk of the crisis is sometimes more difficult than the peak moments of the corona crisis itself. It is the same as going on a diet or participating in an anger management therapy. Everything is relative, everything is proportionate to what we already achieved but our work is never done; we need to maintain our achievements, we need to stay vigilant all the time.
This 'being on guard' mental state of mind, allows for proper coping with regressions due to the corona era (probably expected in the upcoming months).Rather than experiencing the sky high feeling of euphoria and then the rock bottom of despair, rather than being thrown down between the waves of extreme emotions, rather than suffering a sharp jolt which characterizes people who move quickly from one extreme to the other, it's better to go for the middle way, surfing consciously and soberly on the waves of our lives , which by nature, bring their own ups and downs.
In these moments, I recall a wonderful story from the Babylonian Talmud in Tractate Yevamot (121:1): "Raban Gamliel said: "Once I was sailing on a boat, and from the distance I saw a boat that was shattered and sank into the sea. I was grieved over the apparent death of a Torah scholar, Rabbi Akiva, who was on the sinking boat. When I disembarked into the dry land, all of the sudden, this Rabbi Akiva appeared before me; he sat down and delivered a certain Halacha (Jewish law).I asked him: "my son, who brought you up from the water?" He answered: "a plank from the boat came at me, and with every wave and wave that came upon me I shook my head ".In other words, I was banging my head in front of each and every wave that came towards me, so the waves didn't wash me off of the shipwreck which I was riding.
What lesson can we derive from this fable?
Every wave that comes before us, whether big or small, we need to cling tightly to a "plank", to a life belt. The metaphor is, in every hardship or obstacle that we face in our lives, we need to cling tightly to our life support belt which is the Torah, the Tree of Life - the eternal wisdom. With each wave we "shake our heads", we sometimes bang our heads, we plow forward, we ride the waves till we reach a safe harbor. We cling to the Torah as one clings to a life belt till we reach a safe shore in our lives.
וְתֹמְכֶיהָ מְאֻשָּׁר חַיִּים הִיא לַמַּחֲזִיקִים בָּהּ עֵץ.
-משלי ג:יח
"She is a tree of life to those who embrace her, and those who hold on to her are happy."
Proverbs 3:18
Evil will pass
Good will prevail
With the help of G-D
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