Corona as a Mikvah

Thursday, 22 October, 2020 - 2:38 pm

 The Corona is doing interesting things to us.

On the one hand, people are talking about a pandemic and masks and annoying restrictions and are praying that it will disappear and that the world will go back to its normal, familiar state.

But then, when one stops speaking to the microphones, in personal conversations many people admit that all in all the corona has improved their lives.

Of course, there is much pain over those who have been severely affected – and there are quite a few of those – but I’m talking about the world in general, which has been forced to change its ways and has become much more low-key.

A friend of mine said to me: “It was great to make a wedding for my children this way: several dozen people from each side, small-scale – and the main thing is that I wasn’t strained financially from it.” A close friend usually travels monthly between London, New York and Switzerland and now the fastest form of transportation he uses is an electric scooter. He says that physically he feels great, he is much calmer and his work hasn’t really been affected.

A Chabad shlicha who has married off all her children said to me: “For the first time in 40 years of shlichut I sat down to the Seder on Pesach with only my husband. I’m embarrassed to admit it, but it was a pleasure.”

Other friends dare to whisper to me that they enjoy being at home with the kids, enjoy getting to know them from up close.

Mothers tell secretly that the joy of a child who is not being sent to a daycare center at age six months but is staying home instead, makes it all worth it.

A good friend who has been working for the past six months from home says that he doesn’t know how he’ll go back to working in the company offices. He is so happy with the way things are now.

When I think about all this, I cannot escape feeling that the world has undergone a kind of purification, cleansing. The virus is forcing us to divest ourselves of various extraneous layers and meets us up with a more exposed version of ourselves, of our lives. Unfortunately, this has come with a painfully high price tag. Chassidut describes the Deluge of parashat Noach as a purifying mikvah, which washed off and cleansed the world. It is as if Hashem immersed the entire world in a mikvah. The price then was immense, but apparently the deed had to be done.

If I had the courage, I would say that the Corona virus, too, is a kind of mikvah for the whole world. It has brought about a peeling away of undesirable layers, purification, tahara and refinement of the world. By the way, there is no purification or peeling of layers without pain. Even peeling an onion provokes tears.

May we know to keep this in our lives even after the Corona.


Shabbat Shalom,


Rabbi Zalmen Wishedski

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