Tuesday, October 26th | 20 Heshvan 5782

March 31, 2020 6:42 am

How We Respond to Coronavirus Will Define Us

avatar by Simon Jacobson


Worshipers pray in distance from each other at the Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City, amid coronavirus restrictions, March 26, 2020. Photo: Reuters / Ammar Awad.

First and foremost, it is my sincerest hope and prayer that you are all feeling well both physically and emotionally.

At this moment, when we’re being tested in ways we could never have previously imagined, it is more important than ever to know how deeply connected we really are.

In “normal” times, we often make do by relying on our conventional routines and habits — convinced that our material comforts provide us with ultimate security. But when those have all virtually been upended and we’re suddenly faced with deep unknowns, we realize that all we have left is our one and only true and ultimate security — the one that comes from our soul’s connection to G-d and to each other.

Although no one wanted or expected this upheaval, it has been thrust upon us and presents us with two choices: 1) To cower in fear and retreat into the clouds of uncertainty; or 2) To rise to the occasion and let our souls shine forth in the best and most beautiful way they can.

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I am confident that both you and I have chosen correctly.

Obviously, we need to be prudent, responsible, and listen to the health authorities to do whatever it takes to protect ourselves, our families, and all those around us.

But at the same time, we must reach deeper into our inner resources and remain calm and confident as we face these challenges. We must use this time to build up our inner and intimate lives — our love and connection with our families and loved ones, our inner fortitude and values system, and to remind each other what it is we stand for and are ready to fight for. Despite the darkness around us, now more than ever, we must embrace being agents of light, particularly when the light is so drastically needed.

While we have no control over the virus and the events going on outside of ourselves, we do have full control over what is going on inside ourselves: what our attitudes are; which message we will give our children, families, and friends; how nobly and in how dignified a manner we behave during this unprecedented time; and which new skills and strengths — perhaps lying dormant within us until now — will emerge.

So while we may need to be socially distant for the time being, we must become soulfully closer than ever.

In the spirit of brotherhood, I share with you that we are here for you and with you. We will neither slow down nor curtail any of our activities. On the contrary, we have chosen to accelerate them — by focusing all our resources toward providing everyone with empowering, life-affirming messages and life skills to ease the strain felt by all of us.

Just as the body needs nourishment to be healthy, so too does the soul. In many ways, demoralization and fear can be even more debilitating than the virus itself. We are committed to doing everything in our power to boost the emotional and psychological immunities of our brethren.

In the coming weeks, we will be rolling out special online programs and classes that will address many different segments of society, including online interactive sessions with students across the country and the world, which will respond to their questions and concerns; short daily spiritual messages (Soulful Antidotes); and much more. Please see the special coronavirus section we created on our site, which is being updated daily with new material

I invite you to join me in this effort. First, by personally partaking in these programs, and, of course, by extending the invitation to all others who may benefit as well.  Second, by sharing your suggestions about programs and ideas you feel would be of service to you and others you know. I would love to hear your thoughts.

And above all, do your part! Express your unique voice and illuminate everyone you can reach!

We may be quarantined within our homes, but we are certainly not quarantined in our souls — we have enormous ability to reach deeper into the hearts and souls of our loved ones, our friends, and strangers too. Indeed, these crazy times have opened up new unprecedented opportunities — and a great need — for just such soulful connections.

Let us use this opportunity to transform what may appear as a “distancing” and “isolating” experience into a connecting and unifying experience — a global unity revolution — uniting and bringing us closer together than ever before, until we merit to see the personal and global redemption of the entire world.

I believe this may be the defining event of our lives: how we respond today will be etched into the annals of history for eternity.

We will not be known for having been silent in the face of such upheaval. When this story will be told by our children and grandchildren, we will be remembered as having done everything humanly possible to mitigate the crisis, emerging a much stronger people in the process.

We shall see the sun rise and our planet restored to excellent health.

With blessings and prayers for complete, perfect health and many long years, physically and spiritually.

Simon Jacobson is the author of the best-selling book Toward a Meaningful Life, a William Morrow publication that has sold over 300,000 copies to date and been translated into eight languages. Rabbi Jacobson heads The Meaningful Life Center, and is a sought-after scholar and lecturer on Jewish thought and its contemporary application, speaking to diverse audiences worldwide.

The opinions presented by Algemeiner bloggers are solely theirs and do not represent those of The Algemeiner, its publishers or editors. If you would like to share your views with a blog post on The Algemeiner, please be in touch through our Contact page.

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