Back in the early 1990’s there was a business conference which featured Michael Dell as one of the speakers. He spoke about how the internet would totally change the way we do things. Boy was he right! He mentioned that businesses need three things to succeed: content, commerce, and community. He mentioned that community was the one factor that would truly make or break a business.
The rise of social media has created a false sense of community. Sure, we can keep in touch with family and friends who live at a distance in a much faster way than sending letters. But, how many of the “friends” that we have will show up in a time of need?
The rise of Coronavirus has shown us that we do have community. My husband and I watched a recent interview of Rabbi Sacks on the BBC. He mentioned that even though we are practicing social distancing, many people are reaching out to others within their community who need help. There are countless examples of people who offer to bring groceries to the elderly or someone who is immunocompromised. We are all facing this together which will bring us closer rather than tear us apart. It is said that Hashem brings the cure before the sickness.
I’m always amazed at how the Parsha coincides with things going on in society. This week, we read Vayakhel and Pekudei together (which is my husband’s Bar Mitzvah Parsha). Moshe gathered the whole community together to teach them about Shabbat. Work could only be done six days of the week, but the seventh day would be a day of rest. Then, the whole community gathered together to bring their possessions to Moshe for the tabernacle. They brought more than what was needed. As a community, they came together for the service of Hashem. Hashem gave us what we need; the ability to be together spiritually. Though we may not have the Mishkan, the Beit Hamikdash, or even our synagogues now, we still have sanctuary in time. We can still pray at the same time as our community. We can observe a day of rest- Shabbat.
Coronavirus has taught us about coming together as a global community. Another thing that we can take from this situation is that we must be humble. Who would’ve thought that this little virus (not to take it lightly at all) would change everything? Perhaps as a society we’ve let our egos get out of hand, and Coronavirus is teaching us to recognize our vulnerabilities. A third thing that we can learn is that we can fight any crisis together. Take a look at how various countries across the world are sharing their knowledge and precautions to take to combat this virus.
Rabbi Sacks gave some advice for how to handle the times that we’re living in right now:
1. Spend time with your children. Really take the time to read with them, learn, play, and enjoy those moments.
2. Slow down prayers. Study them, focusing on the words you are saying.
3. Read Psalms (Tehillim). Psalms bring healing.
4. Read a commentary on the Chumash (Five Books of Moses)
5. Find someone you can call on the phone to say Shabbat Shalom.
You can listen/watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9LDJDxY-5Rk&t=397s
Please make the best of this situation. Though it may be challenging to be home with your families because you may feel like you’re not prepared to handle it, just know that you can do this! Enjoy this time and reconnect with your loved ones.