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Here's what we can learn from the moon as we battle COVID-19

Friday, 20 March, 2020 - 3:23 pm


No one could imagine a time that synagogues would shutter and all public Jewish gatherings would cease. The current reality is extraordinary and many wonder how it will be possible to celebrate Pesach or if the community can sustain its powerful vibe under these circumstances.

This week, if we would have been gathering together in the synagogue for Shabbat morning services we would have used two Torah scrolls. In the first we would read the final two portions of the book of Shemot “Vayakhel & Pekudei” and in the second we would read the portion titled “Hachodesh” which documents G-d’s instructions to the Israelites about the Pesach sacrifice on the eve of their redemption from Egypt.

The opening statement of the Pesach preparations is the mitzvah of the Jewish calendar. Jewish festivals and observance are determined by dates following the lunar cycle, and provisions are set in place to ensure the festivals are celebrated in the proper seasons. 

In a nutshell, Jewish life revolves around the month-long cycle of the moon, and there is something fundamental we learn from the moon that allows Judaism to thrive under all circumstances

Although the moon was created to illuminate the night, it has no control over how much light it can project at any given time. At the beginning of its cycle it is a thin crescent, and regardless of its best intentions and efforts, the moon cannot get brighter than that. True, every day it progresses and fills up, reaching its fullest potential on day fifteen, but after that it recedes and wanes even if it wished it could remain brighter.

But no matter its current position or capacity to shine, it shines no matter what - fulfilling its G-d given mandate to illuminate the world.

Judaism works very much in the same way. Every mitzvah depends on specific circumstances and even when circumstances limit our ability to observe many mitzvot, we continue to radiate divine light to the world by investing more effort into the mitzvot we are able to observe.

We are a social people and it seems implausible to be vibrantly Jewish when we cannot congregate and celebrate together. As we pray for all those already affected by this terrible virus and for the entire world to heal from its impact, let’s absorb the lesson of the moon and realize that specifically now we have been granted unprecedented opportunities to grow in our Judaism and appreciation for each other.

The blessing of modern technology will allow us to remain united while we are physically apart.

I invite you to join the Chabad virtual community. We will be hosting all of our regular classes and the weekday evening services online as a video and phone conference. Below you will find information about next week’s online events. If you would like to receive regular updates and reminders with the necessary online liks and phone numbers please join our Chabad EP Updates WhatsApp group here: https://chat.whatsapp.com/HIwrzkXNxmO6bs89kySPqu

Stay tuned for our online DIY Passover tutorials to ensure you are ready to celebrate the Seders on Wednesday, April 8 and Thursday, April 9.

In addition, please reach out and check up on each other. If you are in need of assistance or emotional support please do not hesitate to contact us. Together we will pull through this difficult period, hearty and healthy.

May we merit very soon the arrival of Moshaich who will usher in the era of redemption when peace, health and tranquility will reign for all.

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