I love the ancient story of Passover and its relevance to our lives today. A chapter that is especially rich in meaning is when the Israelites wander in the desert for 40 years to allow one generation to die and the next to take hold. The time in the barren desert is a fertile landscape for new ways of thinking and acting.
COVID-19 didn’t allow us 40 years to get used to a new way of life. Still, we’ve had to let go of expectations, routines and assumptions – all in a matter of days. Habits have broken, relationships strengthened or cracked, and financial positions … challenged. We lost our freedoms to the confines of our home. We gained greater control over our health while we saw many of the options of living in the 21st century disappear.
What will we take with us when this virus is behind us? Will we go back to the routines of our lives BV (before virus)? Will we have grown from the adjustments we were forced to make? Will we remember a sweetness that came from slowing down? Will we recover what we lost? Will we honor the world in a different way? Who will we trust to lead the way? These are questions that our ancestors may have asked themselves as they fled Egypt. They remind us that we are more similar than we thought to our ancestors in the desert. They, and we, had no choice but to let go.
We know the good that came to the Israelites. What good could come to us from our extraordinary experiences in the time of the coronavirus?
Beth Gluck is executive director of the Jewish National Fund of Greater Atlanta.