The masks of our time - and of Purim

We are living through ti,es not see since 1918, the time of the so-called Spanish Flu. The difference is that today, a 100 years later, our understanding of how pandemics work has increased. Today, we are asked to wear masks, avoid when possible big crowds, clean our hands frequently, use sanitizer, etc.So how is this connected with Purim?

According to tradition, in Purim we are suposed to wear masks because of how God hid his face during the Purim story. God's name is not mentioned even once during the Purim story. Of course, we can draw another lesson from that fact...

When kids are learning to ride a bike, parents often help them to keep their balance. At some point, however, they withdraw their help to enable the child to ride on his own. The Purim story may well be that moment in which God withdrew its support to see how the kids (us) managed on their own, without direct Divine intervention and dependign solely on Human effort and judgement.

COVID-19 appears to be the same kind of event. No Divine intervention - Just Human effort and judgement. We depend on science (and each other) to get out of this, much in the same way that the fate of the Jews depended on the actions of Esther and Mordechai to convice Ahashverus not to implement Haman's order.

Depending on each other is more difficult than depending on God. God will not betray us; people can. Yet the COVID mask can be to us a reminder of Purim, and how at the end things worked out. That can help us to have more faith in Humanity and our collective will to survive. With more vaccines being distributed, and plans for vaccinations accelerating, we are entering the final stretch.

One more thing to connect both times: During the celebration of Purim we are suposed to drink ourselves to stuppor until we can no longer differenciate Haman from Mordechai. In our times, it is said that some wine every day can help keep the virus away (sorry Johnny Appleseed). So remember, wear your mask, drink some wine, and join us on February 28 to have fun together (online)...




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