Rebelling Against Coronavirus

By Rabbi Chai Posner

What does it mean to be a religion of rebellion at a time like this as our world confronts coronavirus?
Rabbi Sacks has written that Judaism is a religion of rebellion. We refuse to accept the world as it is. Just because something is conventional does not mean it is right. Avraham was the Ivri (the Hebrew) because he came mei’eiver Lanahar— from the other side of the river. The whole world was on one side and Avraham was on the other. 

What does it mean to be a religion of rebellion at a time like this as our world confronts coronavirus?

Well... it does NOT mean carelessly ignoring the advice of our medical and governmental professionals. Judaism is also a religion of practicality and realism. On the other hand, rebellion does NOT mean being gripped with paralyzing fear or excessive precaution. Judaism is also a religion of groundedness and common sense.

Our rebellion at this time needs to be defiance against the sadness, loneliness, and hopelessness that may arise during this trying period. The physical distance that is necessary to be safe and to protect us medically needs to be met with spiritual, emotional, and virtual closeness to anyone and everyone we can. Conventional wisdom would dictate that quarantine and social distancing push people apart. We must rebel against this notion.

This virus has reminded us that we are all connected in much deeper ways than we recognize. And at a time where these connections feel detrimental, we must be extra vigilant in reminding ourselves that there is so much good that comes from being connected with others as well.

So in the time ahead, as we move further apart, let us pray that this experience brings us closer together. May this time of physical distance and disconnectedness be a time of spiritual closeness and connection for all of us. And may we all merit to gather together soon, from the four corners of the earth in a perfected world free of pain and suffering, and filled with light and joy.

Wishing you a healthy and a peaceful Shabbat,
Rabbi Chai Posner
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