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Rabbi Texon’s Message to the Congregation during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Dear Congregational Family, members, friends and Jewish Community,

During this difficult time of coping with a health crisis it is natural to turn to our spiritual leaders as well as to our medical experts for comfort and reassurance. I hope that this message will offer some measure of assistance in that regard, and that it may ease your anxiety and fears which we are all experiencing.

Beyond all of the sanitary precautions that we must now all follow scrupulously, I believe that “social distancing” is the most challenging. We are told to keep our distance from physical contact, but that does not mean spiritual contact with each other via all the modern methods of communication to reach out to others and show concern and empathy. By shifting the focus from ourselves to others we will in turn be healed both physically and emotionally.

The great irony is that in the global effort to contain and eradicate this horrible plague, the people of the world will be brought closer in a vast variety of ways to eliminate this disease.

There is much more irony regarding this Coronavirus as we must be physically separated from the Synagogue, our spiritual home this coming Shabbat. The double portion of “Vayakhel Pekudei” emphasizes both the physical “gathering together” of the Congregation of Israel and of the observance of Shabbat immediately after the construction of the Tabernacle (Mishkan) in the desert. Imagine, on this very Shabbat we must keep our physical distance from each other and from the Shul itself, however NOT our spiritual and emotional distance which actually must be stronger and more connected than ever, even in the observance of Shabbat. We will forge a united community in fighting off this Virus with our fortified immune systems both spiritually and physically.

In any crisis there is also a great opportunity, to “gather” our strength and resolve to defeat the enemy and to advance with the most heightened faith. 

This is the time to pray with great “Kavanah” (intensity/sincerity) to substitute for the lack of physical closeness, but will draw us closer to each other and to G-d.

We will thus experience the paradox of “Together/Alone”- 

I quote from a brilliant contemporary Jewish thinker, Moshe Rosenfeld:

“There’s an enemy we never expected to face, an enemy at war with the whole human race, and when all is said and all is done,Together Alone is how the war will be won”!!!

Shalom and Blessings to all,

Rabbi Stephen Texon.