Interesting News Items, A Personal Reflection and Jeremiah (the prophet, not the bullfrog)
1. Tonight begins Rosh Chodesh Iyar, the month Israel officially became a modern state -- 5 Iyar 1948. Rosh Chodesh begins tonight, for 2 days, through Shabbat. Today is the 14th day of the Omer, meaning it was two weeks ago last night that we celebrated with our first seder. Time goes forward.
2. I first saw this on NBC News: Clean(er) air: Los Angeles, India -- Here are some articles:
India’s lockdown gives world’s most polluted capital clean air
3. Fox News: Dr Marty Makary from Johns Hopkins, based on testing in Los Angeles -- Bad News: The number of actual cases (as opposed to reported cases) could be 55 times the reported numbers! Good News: It may mean that most people have an immunity which will serve us well into the next cycles in the fall-winter and next year.
4. I saw a great news report from Nassau County, Long Island (where I served for 15 years before coming to St Louis). RV owners are dropping off their RV's for physicians to use so they can sleep in their driveways to reduce the possibility of contagion inside their homes. The idea caught on. People figuring out how to help! Amazing chesed!
5. A Personal Reflection
We all recall that when we were teenagers there were upcoming events that raised our anxiety levels: Tests, dates, acne, applications to colleges, etc. Some of these same issues continued into our 20's, expanding to concerns about jobs and interviews. We had then limited adult-like experiences and our emotions had enormous power. They still do. However, as we age, as we accumulate experiences, and as we learn to cope, we handle crises a little better, true, some better than others, and some situations better than others.
What is also true is that, quantitatively, any single crisis becomes a smaller portion of our increasing life experiences. In retrospect, however important acne was then, it does not seem that important from a broad perspective, and our parents may have told it to us then, but it loomed too large for us to dismiss.
So, too, with that test, with that date, with that application. To be sure, they were important, and they are part of our life chain that brings us to the present, but still, the larger perspective matters.
In addition to our personal crises, we have experienced national crises that deeply affected us -- political assassinations in the 60's and Vietnam War anxiety, and college sit-ins; gas lines and stagflation of the 70's; 9/11 and the 2008 economic crises; major downturns in the stock market. We were hurt, hit hard, but we are here. People married, families grew, houses were bought, businesses succeeded, we contributed through our work and volunteering, connected to our Jewish communities and synagogues -- we made it through the personal and national crises.
It is not just that this will pass, though not without deaths and scars as before. But as huge as it has been, it will grow slightly smaller with each passing week or month. There will be a time when coronavirus 2020 will be a memory rather than a living crisis.
About 2,600 years ago, in Yerushalayim, the prophet Jeremiah spoke God's word of the upcoming disaster: And I will silence in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Yerushalayim the sound of mirth and gladness, the voice of bridegroom and bride. For the whole land shall fall to ruin. (7:34) ... And I will banish them from the sound of mirth and gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and bride, and the sound of the mill and the light of the lamp. This whole land shall be a desolate ruin. (25:10-11).
But also: And there is hope for your future -- declares the Lord: Your children shall return to their country. (31:17)
And -- Thus said the Lord: Again there shall be heard in this place, which you say is ruined, without man or beast -- in the towns of Judah and the streets of Yerushalayim that are desolate, without man, without inhabitants, without beast -- the sound of mirth and gladness, the voice of bridegroom and bride, the voice of those who cry, “Give thanks to the Lord of Hosts, for the Lord is good, for His kindness is everlasting!” as they bring thanksgiving offerings to the House of the Lord. For I will restore the fortunes of this land as of old -- said the Lord. (33:10-11)