On March 12th both my husband and I needed to be in Jerusalem for only an hour. For various reasons we decided to just jump in and out, skipping going to the Kotel as we usually did. Five days later we were planning to return to town for an appointment at the Ministry of Interior in order to renew our passports. We could have nice, leisurely prayers at the Western Wall then. Or so we thought.
That evening it was announced that schools were closing. After Shabbat there was a special news conference. Among other restrictions we were told that no more than ten people could be together at a time. We weren’t going to be going to either the Kotel or the Ministry of Interior or needing a passport any time soon.
Life has had many more changes in the last six weeks. None of them have been easy but it’s interesting that we, no matter nationality, race, or religion, are all in it together. No one has to be a deep thinker to see parallels between this week’s Torah portion and the Corona virus that is plaguing the world.
This is the week when we learn about the tzaraat affliction. Loosely and inaccurately translated as leprosy it is a spiritual malady with physical symptoms caused, according to our Sages, by spiritual flaws. The Talmud lists seven possible causes of the condition: slander, murder, perjury, debauchery, pride, theft, and jealousy. * Once the diagnose of tzaraat is confirmed by the Kohen, the sufferer is sent out of the camp into isolation until he recovers.
He’s expected to use his isolation time to contemplate the deeds that brought his suffering upon him. He’s supposed to use the time to improve his actions and change his ways. He needs to come out of isolation a better person than when he went in.
We’re all now in an isolation of sorts. It seems to me like G-d has sent us to our rooms, so to speak, waiting for us to get along before He will let us come out. Of course, this is just a conjecture. I have no idea how The Almighty truly works. I do know, however, that this Corona time was given to me for a reason. I want to come out of isolation a better person than I was when I went in.
Like many, I’m doing a lot of praying. I’m not praying to go back to normal, though. I’m praying for better. I’m praying for true redemption. I’m praying that instead of going to the Kotel when this is all behind us, I’ll be going up to the Third, and Eternal, Holy Temple. May it be rebuilt speedily in our time.
*my source is Rabbi Elie Munk’s The Call of the Torah commentary of Leviticus, Chapter 13, verse 2.
My novel, Growing With My Cousin, is available on line at http://www.feldheim.com/growing-with-my-cousin.html or https://www.amazon.com/Growing-Cousin-Ester-Katz-Silvers/dp/194635113X