Last week Jews welcomed the Passover holiday to retell the saga of the Exodus from Egypt; the heroic journey from slavery to freedom that defines the Jewish people. We gather around the family dinner table in an evening of remembrance, celebration, and of course lots of food.
This year, however, we did not gather in community but each of us in our own homes connected through a ZOOM meeting. It wasn’t quite the same, with only one person speaking at a time it was not the usual flying circus we were accustomed to, but it turned out to be spontaneous, passionate, with moments of absolute hilarity, and it was thought provoking.
We recited the traditional story and talked about the Angel of Death we face today…facing fear and uncertainty/ individual freedom vs. social responsibility/ and the tanked economy which included my unemployed grandsons’ sense of fatalism and that we have little control of our destinies.
I am not by nature a fatalist; I surely agree that the important existential questions are beyond our control and understanding, but I don’t believe that everything in life happens by the fickle finger of chance. We do have some control of our lives, not the way a chess player controls the pieces, but it isn’t just a crapshoot either. We may have no choice about what fate deals us, but we do have some choice about how we come to those events.
What stands out most for me as we face this plague is how people have come together to face this catastrophic event. Not only the tens of thousands of heroic first responders and healthcare workers, but those stocking grocery shelves, making facemasks for others, feeding the old, playing music in the streets, teaching classes remotely, and on and on.
These acts restore my faith in humanity; that as a species we are not only driven by self-interests, but by kindness, altruism, and caring tame the Angel of Death.
Care for each other Relatives and stay well.