From the Rabbi

Rabbi Mark

“Kol Yisrael Aravim Zeh l’Zeh” (All Israel is responsible for each other)

For the last several weeks we have been meeting on Wednesdays at lunch at 12. At one lunch, one of my regulars said, “It is good to move around, even if it is only from the living room to the computer.”

It made me think. One of the problems with the virus is mobility. We are humans who need motion. We are used to not only going from one place to another horizontally, steps, paces, strides, etc. but vertical as well. Building bookcases, building shelves and, very often, cleaning ceiling fans. These are all physical movements. But how many of us think about psychological movements? Viewing a movie, our mind travels to other places either in the past or the present or the future. I will let you in on a secret,  my psych movement was to read. It is probably where I began my love of History. When I read about the Swamp Fox of the Revolution or The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising or the founding of Israel, I was transported to the 1700s in South Carolina and Poland in 1943 and Israel in 1948. Anyway, I was no longer in Yonkers, New York in 1965! That way, I escaped the hurt and sadness that my family was expressing and their anger at each other could not touch me. I wasn’t even in the same place as they were, I was in another era.

Biographies were other oases I discovered. A person in their lifetime has many positives and negatives to deal with. My life of sadness, at that point, was put in better perspective by others’ tragedies and how they overcame them carrying on with their lives.

These days we are trying to get through a calamity of massive proportions. We need to move in a positive manner away from the negativity that some are bringing to this situation. Our escape must be to a positive place. Not some Pollyanna village but to one where tragedies have been met and overcome. We don’t know when, if ever, we will go back to the norm that was pre Corona-Virus. The danger is that we are losing hope.

Alone, we are vulnerable to the negatives of depression, doubt, and disease. ‘Why should I take care of myself if it won’t do any good anyway?’ This attitude helps one   abandon one’s self-confidence. Reality then gives in to negative exaggerations and then exaggeration of the pandemic becomes its reality! This plague is real enough, it needs no exaggeration! Please, don’t succumb to fear, the virus of the soul. If you must exaggerate, exaggerate the positives of your life! You have family, friends, community and especially, US. Not only do we share one Temple, be share one Heart. We are your heart!

Many have fallen into the quicksand of loss of hope. They see no future but endless suffering.  It is up to us to throw them a life preserver, not the candy, but the float, and pull them out to a place where we can demonstrate to them how important they are to us. Together on the dry land of confidence we can move together and climb to the Positive peak.

It is not by accident that when we pray, we pray to “Elohainu” our God! We need each other! Loneliness is the secondary victim of Covid-19!! Here is my advice: when significant others are arguing due to the overwhelming negativity of the situation and it is painful, use your usual method of non-harmful escape to leave the stress and tension, when you need more positivity, more love, more caring, call us. We have people eager and ready to help you! Our love will get us through this, together!

B’ahava, B’Yahad,

Rabbi Mark