Do you find yourself worrying because of the pandemic? Maybe you are worrying about your health, the health of others, politics, the shape of society in the future… There are a host of things to worry about if we let ourselves. The spiritual challenge is to stay present, not to give in to worry, and to make good decisions.
As it says in the Talmud, Rabbi Eliezer the Elder said, “He who has a loaf of bread in his basket but says, ‘What will I eat tomorrow?’ is lacking in faith.” [Sotah 48b] The passage goes on to say that one should Trust in the Divine that one will have food tomorrow. As one fortunate enough to have enough to eat, this is an important reminder about what is really important, and offers an important tactic to meet the spiritual challenge of these times. This lesson holds even if you are unsure of the Divinity.
The mantra for trust is “Trust in God but tie your camel.” There is a lot of camel tying to be done these days, but we must not lose sight of Trust, for Trust is a cure for worry and fear.
As Rabbi Israel Salenter reminded us during a cholera epidemic:
At a time like this, our duty is clear: we must not fear [the cholera epidemic]- for what value is the life of a man [in this world] when we consider the overwhelming potential for spiritual failure? Who knows if a person will succeed in his path? Of course, this does not mean that we should fatalistically resign ourselves to dying and do nothing to protect ourselves. Rather, we must follow the regimen that the learned physicians have prescribed, to insure that we maintain our health. It is a Torah directive for us to proceed according to the light of their words, for our duty is to establish life in this world- for the benefit of ourselves, as well as others. – Ohr Yisrael – 23.