Fear, with all its definitions, feelings and types, is an emotion that Hakadosh Baruch Hu put in our souls, just like a virus is part of the physical being. The Creator, in His great mercy, created a world that includes every single thing.
The current situation generates anxiety and even panic. But believing Jews know that while quarantine is a physical state, isolation is personal and dependent on each individual. Naturally, it is easier to feel connected when the physical situation allows it. But what will determine, and entrench, the situation is our feeling.
Often, when we are referred for medical treatment, we feel a certain fear. The right way to deal with the fear is to remove the uncertainty as best we can. A believing Jew is a maamin, and trusts in the chessed of Hashem completely; every other action he takes is hishtadlus. That is the hanhagah that Hakadosh Baruch Hu created.
This is part of the hishtadlus that we are commanded to make. We try because that is what we are obligated to do. And we daven and plead for the results to be the best for us, because that is the hanhagah of Hashem.
Fear might be destructive, but it is lifesaving.
Therefore, no…don’t be afraid of the fear. Face it head-on. Because that is the Will of Hashem. The One Who imbued us with this fear also empowered us with the ability to cope with it. And the Healer of all flesh is the Mafli La’asos Who created the virus, the way we cope with it, and the defense against it.
There are those walking around in these times of coronavirus with a sense that it is the end of the world. Borders are closed. Markets are threatening to bottom out. Even the house is not our fortification and we have no idea where this is going. But the truth is, we are more at a beginning. We are closer to the way it was when creation began. All the advanced technologies that have been progressing rapidly over the years, relying with siyatta diShmaya on human ingenuity — those same people lived in the distant past in peace and tranquility, with pleasant good lives even when the world was not global.
Mankind, primarily because of its desire to get rich, has advanced technologically in giant steps — with its advantages and drawbacks. Sometimes, not only does technology not advance mankind, it causes it to regress.
The current situation is just one example. If not for the constant movement, the virus would have been halted in the place where it was created, and it would not have created a situation where the entire world is in a state of emergency.
The aggressive virus has been able to upend world order specifically because of advanced technology.
A virus, in contrast to bacteria, does not sustain itself. It enters the body and is sustained by the cells in our bodies. It is similar to a weak, hungry person who asks for something to eat to revive himself, and, when he gets stronger, rises up against his benefactor; so, too, the virus.
Viruses can only grow inside a body. On the other hand, they are also not affected by antibiotics. Every person develops natural antibodies to viruses that attack him.
In most cases, a vaccination for a virus is extracted from the virus itself. Each virus has an active part and a non-active part. When we get vaccinated for the flu, for example, we are injected with the non-active part of the virus (or a weakened virus) and that exposes the body to the virus in a controlled manner. The body then produces antibodies and inoculates the body.
The coronavirus is considered aggressive because of the exposure and rate of contagion. Therefore, drastic steps must be taken to prevent its spread.
We have to protect ourselves because of the obligation to do hishtadlus. From Above, we are expected to uphold that obligation, and the rest is in the Hands of the Creator. It is all from Him, and it is to Him that each Jew should strive to return with emunah and simchah.
The virus is like the yetzer hara. It enters us and thrives from the person’s nature, which sometimes stumbles. The more we stumble, the stronger he gets. The more we stand firm against him, the weaker he gets. Just like a virus.
Right now, there is no vaccine. It is on the way. And until then, we need to work together to prevent the spread of the virus.
The mutual responsibility for one another is a zechus that protects us from punishment. The unpleasantness, the distress that we are experiencing because of these steps, are actually a zechus being given to us to help others. So although we have to disrupt our routine as per the orders of the authorities, we can do it out of a sincere desire to help the other person. Isolation is our true way of connecting to Klal Yisrael.
It is clear that we should not aspire or seek out these types of “zechuyos.” But as they were granted to us, we have the opportunity to utilize them for good, to ask Hashem to remove from us, from Am Yisrael, and from all His creations, all plague and illness. We cannot let our spirits sag. The spirit of a person, and his spiritual strength, are what sustain us through illness, and we must raise that spirit in the way that Hashem asks us to.
A believing Jew is a connected Jew. A believing Jew is connected to his roots. Believing Jews are mutually responsible for one another.
And this responsibility and care for our fellow Jews has the power to withstand any destructive force, of course with tefillah, emunah and bitachon in the Creator.
Hu asanu v’Lo anachnu.