I grew up in Toronto and felt very Canadian, and part of the Canadian cultural mosaic. As a young adult, I traveled to Israel and started my Jewish journey, and strongly felt part of the Jewish people.
This is the first time in my life that I feel connected to every single person in the world.
We are going through something unprecedented together. A tiny virus that we can’t even see has brought the entire world to its knees. The upheaval is beyond our comprehension, and the fallout so devastating, we don’t even want to think about its enormity.
Everything happens for a reason. But be careful, my husband says that it is a mistake to say that a city is devastated because of that, or that group got hit because of this. You don’t know. What can you know? Why it is happening to you.
My rebbetzin, who is sick with pneumonia now in Israel, taught us that if 20 people are standing at a bus stop, and the bus doesn’t stop, there are 20 reasons. And her husband, our rabbi of blessed memory, always said, “G-d is very eloquent, He doesn’t bother speaking to you unless you can get it.”
He is not speaking anymore, he is shouting. All bets are off. What we worried about last week is now a joke. Our lives and the lives of every person on this planet have been turned upside down. And there are 7.7 billion reasons why.
People have shared with me incredible insights, regretting the rat race, living in excess, and now they are enjoying being with their kids, even with the challenges, at home, together.
I am here in Israel, at home in Jerusalem, with my husband. I am not running for a plane or a gate; I am here. With him. Taking care of him, loving him, sharing with one another the deepest thoughts on what is unfolding before us.
And we are busy day and night, teaching, writing, and speaking to thousands throughout the world through the gift of the technology bestowed upon us. G-d sends the solution, even before the challenge.
The world has suddenly become hungry to learn Hashem’s Torah, and I cannot keep up with the requests to teach. All from our home, a front-row seat to the incredible fast-forwarding of history. In the words of Rabbi Benjamin Bleich, G-d has given us all a “time out.”
So think– what am I learning from what has been taken away? And what can I learn from what I have been given?
Get the message. Change. Grow. Now.
And soon, like the Jews from Egypt, we will leave our homes, and be a stronger people, ready to fulfill our mission at last.
This may be the greatest Shabbat we have ever had– because we are all, every person on the planet, home at last.