A COVID-19 Lesson from Shwekey

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01 Apr 2020

One need only watch Shwekey’s video to his song “Lo Yaavod” to be awakened to the reality of what’s happening now. In the video, there is a screening machine with titles on top of it. Slowly, different types of Jews start to pass through the screen with the monitor on top identifying them; Modern Orthodox, Orthodox, Chabad, Conservative, Ultra-Orthodox, Convert, Kippah Serugah, Smartphone Chassidic, Bar-Mitzvah Kippah, Traditional, Well-groomed Chassidic, Carlebach.

Then a person dressed in a piece of garb from a few of these sects passes through the machine and questions marks appear on the monitor. Then there is a picture of all these sects dancing together, and finally a shot of the monitor identifies everyone as “Yehudim.” If I was the editor today of Shwekey’s video, I would add some more labels to bring home the point of where we stand. I would send through the machine great rabbanim, people learning in Kollel, millionaires, yeshiva students etc. We are now connected, with no arguments to be made. No one can argue now that we are all not equal. The Mirrer yeshiva student and the Modern Orthodox student are both at home. The Bnei Brak yungerleit and the Kippah Serugahyid are confined to their home. There is no difference between them.

There has never been a greater opportunity to love your fellow man by default. It’s almost been handed to us on a silver platter. There is total equality in the Jewish nation at this moment in time. It gets better though. This confinement is taking place before Shabbos HaGadol and Pesach.

My great-great-grandfather asked the question of why we mention Yetizat Mitzraim during kiddush. It seems misplaced. He answered that Mitzraim, where G-d performed extraordinary miracles, offered man a proof that G-d was capable of performing the miracles of creation, only no one was there to see them. The miracles of the creation of the world took place not to the audience of man. However, those miracles happened, but they were hidden from us and they represent all the hidden miracles of life that visit us every day, like breathing, catching a good conversation with a friend, sharing a smile with your child or taking a refreshing walk outside. All of these miracles are there but we fail to acknowledge them. On the other hand, Yetziat Mitzraim showcased open miracles to our entire nation. These were out front for everyone to see. They proved that this is an Almighty G-d that was capable of creating a wondrous world.

Amazingly, these two types of miracles coincide in the next seven days. Shabbos, the symbol of hidden, but oh so present miracles and Yetziat Mitzraim, symbolic of open miracles meet each other. It’s a supernova of miraculous overlay.

After having time to contemplate this idea over this upcoming Shabbos, which, as mentioned, represents rest, pondering, internalization and the realization of the subtle supernatural, we can be ready for the Kos Shel Eliyahu on Pesach, the time of the open supernatural to play out, and meet the moment referenced in the Shabbos HaGadol Haftarah where Malachi proclaims, “Lo, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before the coming of the awesome, fearful day of the Lord. He shall reconcile parents with children and children with their parents, so that, when I come, I do not strike the whole land with utter destruction. Lo, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before the coming of the awesome, fearful day of the Lord.” (Malachi 3:23-24). This reconciliation between parent and child is a metaphor to our ultimate connection to G-d which will only come if we now lose the “labels.”

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