Corona's Creative Calling – Parshat Vayikra
Yes I'm Writing About Corona
When we want to start a conversation with someone, we usually call them first to get their attention. We call their name, we ring their telephone, we send an email or any other of a now-myriad of methods to contact someone. When we get the person's attention, then we can start talking whether to deliver a message, get some information or simply to connect with someone (remember the Stevie Wonder song – "I just called to say I love you.").1
This week's parsha starts with God calling to Moshe and then speaking to him. But, notes the Ohr Hachayim, there are two verbs in the verse. God's name does not appear by the first, the calling. "And He called to Moshe, and God spoke to him…"2 His name only appears by the latter, the speaking. And so, explains the Ohr Hachayim, the fact that Moshe was called was just the prep for the real show – the message. Just making the call isn’t enough. Presenting Moshe with the following mitzva was worth God attaching His name.
So, is Corona the call or the message?
It is so much easier to answer that since I've learned the beauty of "not having to know the answer". So, you guessed it, I don’t know. Perhaps the answer is different for different people depending on their level of closeness to the deadly effects of COVID-19. For those directly affected and who may have lost a family member or close friend, the answer may be one or the other. It will be different for nations and its citizens. For communities and its residents. I can certainly not decide for them whether it is a call or a message.
We are all looking for answers when we don’t always know what the question is. Are we questioning the timing? The purpose? The solution? The cure? The global effect? What life will be like after? What does God expect from us? How do we find meaning in this situation. I….don't….know.
I do know that the situation is challenging. I do know that there is much uncertainty. I also know that as humans, we have the ability to take a stand against these challenges. People around the world have been inspired and have found ways to help others without endangering themselves. As my teacher, Dr. Teria Shantall wrote, "Life “plays along” with us. We are in partnership with life. It may be a relationship fraught with conflict and disharmony. But it can also be a relationship that has been restored into what it should and ought to be: one of wonderful peace and harmony. We are either out of step with life, or awesomely and magnificently attuned to it!."3
The choice is ours.
Whether it is a call or a message, humanity has the ability, together and individually, to answer that call responsibly and with courage.
In memory of those lost to COVID-19 and in prayer to God for a speedy recovery for those afflicted by it.
Have A Great Shabbat!