Life in the time of Coronavirus is teaching us quite a few lessons.
Passover and Easter just passed, and we all spent the holidays away from our families, social distancing and mourning the loss of community during our unique celebrations of faith. My family usually treats Passover as a reunion, celebrating God, the Exodus, and the Jewish nation with the people we love. Of course, this year we all stayed home and had to make do with phone calls between the Yom Tovim (days of rest where we can’t use technology).
It was fascinating for me to hear everyone’s pain regarding having to celebrate the holidays apart. I felt it myself, and seeing it replicated everywhere else was comforting, in a way. But it got me to thinking.
Religion is so community-based that we can often use community as a crutch. When people start to ask questions of their faith, often they will be pulled back to it not because they have dug and searched and learned, but because they don’t want to lose the sense of community that is tied in with their belief system.
I love the Jewish community and it is such an important part of my faith and beliefs. But having to be apart on such a major holiday made me realize that it was on me to take the time to invest in my Judaism. I couldn’t rely on my community to make the holiday mean something – I had to look inward and outward, in my soul and the Torah, to find meaning.
Instead of spending all day with my nieces and nephews, I had to spend all day with the Haggadah in my hands. And instead of cleaning the house with my mother, I had to clean my house alone and try and understand why, rather than simply doing it to prepare for the holiday, no questions asked.
Perhaps something that we can take away in this time of trial is to invest in our faith as individuals. Taking the time to ask questions and find answers to them. Taking the time to turn to God when things are hard instead of turning to a friend. Taking the time to study the stories of our forefathers and remember where our faith began.
It’s so easy to go to synagogue or church and find solace in the people around you rather than in God Himself. Now, we can either lose faith as we lose community, or strengthen it as we seek an intimate personal relationship with God. We can use this as an opportunity, so when we do return to our places of worship, we all come back revivified in our faith and excited to share it with those around us.
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