And Moses went to Pharaoh and demanded "Let my People Go"

Well, like all of you, I feel like screaming DAYENU!. Passover is over... why do keep bothering us with this plague? The Ten Plagues against Egypt freed our people from slavery. What is the purpose of the eleventh plague, aka COVID-19?

But I believe there is a purpose. You could say that the Passover experience goes on in a different way, but still coming out of Mitzaryim (Hebrew name of Egypt). In Hebrew, words can be read in different ways depending the vowels you use; and "Mitzraiym" could also be read as "Meitzarim", which in Hebrew means the "straits", the "narrow passages" or simply the "narrow places".

The current Pandemic is indeed forcing us through narrow, confining times. Maybe it is a reminder that even if the Ten plagues are over and we left Egypt, we are still not free. The world wide scope of the infection gives the term "Global Village" a whole new meaning...

Distances have shortened (don't worry, they stop more than 6 feet from you). The use of technologival means like Zoom, Face Time, Whassup and the likes are allowing us to reach accross the planet to our families, our friends, our fellow Jews. If anything, due to the anxiety on one hand, and the abundance of free time on the other, we are reaching out more often to them than we did before COVID.

Artificial barriers are coming down (for the most part). A dead of COVID in China can affect us in ways we never thought about before; the suffering of people we never met makes us think of our own mortality, and the problems we once considered so important are now relegated to the back burner.

When we left Egypt, we arrived in Sinai and the rules changed; we became a People in a sacred covenant with the Almighty. The covenant was no longer with our ancestors but with each one of us. When we say that we were all in Sinai, we are acknowledging that Sinai experience marked us forever.

As we come out of COVID-19, we will also face a change in the rules. A new covenant to suplement our Divine contract. It is not a covenant with the Almighty (that one we have already, thank you) but with our fellow Humans, our fellow "Bnei Adam", the children of Adam. It doesn't mean our differences will dissappear - it means that those differences will be seen in a different perspective; one that will also accept that as a species we are on the same boat, a boat (Tevel) called Earth. COVID is teaching us that political boundaries no not stop a pandemic, and that only international cooperation can stamp out the shadow of death and banish the virus.

And the Day After, with the serious economic impact this pandemic is having, will also teach us humility and persistence. Like Kipling, we will need to pick up the old tools and start building again - without uttering a word of sorrow for that which we lost. We will need to focus in rebuilding our cities, our communities, our organizations. As Jews, we have faced destruction before, and we always pushed forward. This is one more historical challenge to our determination to keep community alive. And we will overcome the challenge - Together.

STAY SAFE - STAY HEALTHY - STAY CONNECTED

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