Closing the Door: A Pandemic Chanukah Gift

10 Dec 2020

This Chanukah we must learn to celebrate the gift of a closed door.

Yeshayahu (26:20) said: “Go my people, come into your chambers and close your door behind you, hide for a moment until the wrath passes.”

It is this verse that the Talmud (Bava Kamma 60b) cites in providing its own public health guidance for a pandemic, teaching that during a plague one should stay home to stay safe.

Ironically, a Chanukah Midrash – cited by Rambam in one of his letters (Iggeret Hashmad) – teaches how the Greeks forbade the Jews from placing a bolt or lock on their doors, denying us our dignity, privacy, and control of our environment, while undermining our familial intimacy. The Midrash (Midrash Maaseh Chanukah) relates this decree to our failure during that period to consecrate our homes by placing a Mezuzah on our doors.

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The words of this author reflect his/her own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Orthodox Union.