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Quarantine, Moses & Shared Responsibility

Friday, 11 September, 2020 - 11:37 am

Canva - Woman Holding Sign.jpgSo the new year of school began and thank G-d all of my children are doing okay in their respective classes and schools and getting used to the new rhythms of life. Zalman is enjoying online school with twenty students from places like Chile, Venezuela, Colombia, Canada and many States within America. Mendel is enjoying in person school in Brookline with social distancing protocol and likewise Chana & Levi are doing the same in their schools in New York.

However a few nights ago, one of my children who studies out of town was potentially exposed to someone with COVID like symptoms and at midnight on Sunday we were scrambling to figure out quarantine and how to make it manageable. Luckily after three days of quarantining which was done in an abundance of caution and with guidance of doctors, the person was confirmed to have been negative and after several more tests, the all the clear was given to go back to society with social distancing.

As I discussed with my child the whole idea of the quarantine, it really centered on the idea of responsibility that we all have for one another and how the actions of the youth involved could have ramifications far beyond themselves. It was a powerful reminder that what is true about COVID-19 is really true about so much more in life, as in truth life, is never simply about our own personal journey, instead it is also how our actions have bearing on others and even more so how to some degree we are responsible for what is happening to others.  

Tomorrow we will read the beginning of the final address of Moses to the Jewish people in the portion known as Nitzavim, in which he reiterates this very theme of shared responsibility. As he reminds them of their personal spiritual obligations and the covenant they each have with G-d, he adds a powerful new idea to the Jewish lexicon which would extend their obligations far beyond themselves and this was the concept of “shared responsibility”. This principle told them that being a good person is never going to be just about their own personal journey or decisions, rather to a certain degree we are all going to need to be truly responsible for one another.

As we think of the many lessons that we come across each day, the current pandemic and its ramifications have most definitely reminded us of the power of the individual and just how far each individual’s actions can reach. In Judaism it is always emphasized that what is true in the negative is doubly true when it comes to the power of good.

If one person can pass on a virus which can cause so much havoc in the world, certainly each one of us have been endowed with the potential to share good which will cause so much positivity in the world.

Good Shabbos & Shabbat Shalom


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