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Isha Bekia

Chief Rabbi’s lockdown lessons

Sep 15, 2020 | COVID-19, SA Media


Over these traumatic months, I have seen people deal with illness and bereavement with faith and fortitude. I have seen tenacious and bold entrepreneurs face and prevail over devastating odds. I have seen generous donors support them.

I have seen people lose their jobs but not their self-worth. I have seen schools transform themselves into online institutions within days. I have seen parents transform themselves into home-schooling experts and dig deep to keep their children stimulated, entertained and safe, while stuck at home for months.

I have seen rabbis and rebbetzins teach, comfort, and hold their congregants with love across digital platforms when it wasn’t possible to do so in person. I have seen the total commitment of our shul leaders to the safety and health of our community.

I have seen unwavering commitment to the mitzvot of mikveh and brit mila, even through so much complexity. I have seen barmitzvah boys, who prepared for so long to lein, accept with happiness the limitations of their situation.

I have seen young couples decide not to postpone their weddings, and rather celebrate now within the constraints of all the medical protocols.

I have seen people generously supporting their schools and shuls through this crisis. I have seen brave doctors and healthcare workers risk their lives to heal others.

I have seen managers of our old-aged homes across the country completely overhaul how they operate to prevent the spread of death. I have seen community organisations work together in unity and as a team for the sake of us all.

I have seen resilience, acceptance, courage, faith, innovation, adaptability, optimism, hope, and strength. I have seen that we are much stronger and more resilient than we can even imagine.

Where does this strength come from? From within. We are created, as the Torah teaches us, ‘in G-d’s image’, with an awesome Divine soul, which has within it a reflection of His greatness. That is where our greatness comes from.

And throughout these months, I have seen G-d’s energy and light shining through us all. He has walked with us through this rollercoaster journey, giving us the courage and wisdom we need to get through it with strength and dignity. We go forward with Hashem into 5781, confident that with His blessings and our inner strength, we are ready for the New Year.