Frog, Coronavirus and the 2020 Election
We are approaching another presidential election. For the past 3 ½ years, an unprecedented segment of the population and media have been angry and haven’t let this anger go. The Torah says that anger is the most grievous of all sins, as it leads to all other sins. Moses was denied entry into the Promised Land as a result of his anger – hitting a rock instead of speaking. King Solomon wrote, “Like a broken city without a wall, so is a man whose spirit is unrestrained.”
The second of the 10 plagues are tzfardeah. According to the Midrash, initially there was only one ugly monstrous frog. The Egyptians in their anger tried to the kill the frog, but with each attempt, the frog spit out a multitude of baby frogs. As anger increased, so did the quantity of frogs, and soon swarms covered the land, inflicting punishment on Pharaoh and his people.
Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon, known as Maimonides or Rambam, a noted doctor, medieval philosopher and prolific and influential Torah giant, suggested three keys to healthy living: eat less, exercise more and swallow (get rid of) your anger. Studies show joy and happiness increase immunity levels as the opposite is equally true.
Despite our seders being smaller and the uncertainty surrounding the virus, avoiding anger is increasingly important. We can utilize this time to learn and reflect on our many blessings in life. In social distancing and isolation, interactions with family and friends are greatly missed, providing each of us an opportunity to be more sensitive to the pain and suffering from loneliness many experience every day. The virus, by attacking indiscriminately, treats us as equals regardless of culture, race, religion, nationality or financial status. Lastly, it reminds us that we are all connected, and something that affects one person can affect the lives of many others.
During this season, as we go from slavery to freedom, let us resolve to reach out and bring light, happiness and companionship to everyone in need, to swallow our anger, put aside our differences and come together. Wishing the community, a sweet, inspiring and kosher Pesach!
Mitchell Kaye served five times in the Georgia House of Representatives and is a frequent traveler to Israel.