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They were parents, grandparents, children, siblings and friends.

02/25/2021 09:51:58 AM


Rabbi Jeffrey Myers

One-half million people. 500,000. Seven full Heinz fields, or, thirteen PNC parks. It is a staggering number that defies our comprehension, yet it only represents the COVID-19 deaths in the United States. The world total stands at some 2.5 million people.

These are not cold, hard statistics. These were parents, grandparents, children, siblings and friends. Each was special to other people, each with their own unique story abruptly cut short, leaving a hole in the lives of those who were near and dear to them. Our humanity demands that we remember them as individuals, not numbers to be reviewed by statisticians.

It can be easy for us to seek blame, to point fingers, to foist our anger upon others. Alas, while a very human response, it will not bring loved ones back nor will it honor their memory by doing so. Ours is this gift of memory, and by retelling stories about our loved ones, we keep them alive and with us each time we invoke their name. We honor them by continuing to stay masked, observe proper physical distancing, wash our hands, and when the opportunity to receive the immunization comes, take advantage of it. If you don’t want to do it for yourself, then do it for others to keep them healthy.

Permit me to share a Memorial prayer that I composed in April of this year, that I believe continues to resonate:

A Yizkor Prayer for Victims of Covid-19 

Avinu Shebashamayim, Our God in Heaven, COVID-19 reminds us that we are all created equally in Your image. You implanted in each of us a Divine Spark, and with it, the capacity to achieve greatness, if we would only use these gifts wisely. We mourn the immense toll that this virus has taken, and continues to take.  Help us to recognize that each death represents not a statistic, but a human being who contributed to Your world, who leaves behind family and friends, and work yet unfinished. May this pandemic remind us of the sacred value of every human life, and that our answer to your question of Cain is a firm rejection of his values. We are our brother’s and sister’s keepers, no matter their color, faith or sexual orientation. May the bravery of all in the medical field continue to demonstrate godliness in the world, and may Your Divine Inspiration direct researchers to find treatments to restrain this virus. May Your Divine Wisdom stimulate leaders to create appropriate strategies to lead us through these days fraught with fear. May Your Divine Love comfort all those who mourn the loss of their loved ones.  May all the departed rest in peace.  And let us all say: Amen.


Wed, April 21 2021 9 Iyyar 5781