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The good old days

03/18/2021 03:11:30 PM


Rabbi Jeffrey Myers

Have you ever heard people wax nostalgic about the “good old days”?  It seems that everything was better back then, although when queried further, many are unclear about what time period the “good old days” refers to. Was it your childhood, your teen years, your college years for those privileged to attend college, your dating years, your courtship years, etc.? I would suppose that each of these units of time within our lives might have specific memorable moments or regularly occurring events. I can recall, for example, as a child, that my mother would regularly take my sister and I to the Jersey shore (we natives don’t call it a beach). I learned how to properly jump waves, body surf, and eat frozen chocolate-covered bananas. So yes, I might be able to call that part of the “good old days”.

COVID-19 certainly has us yearning for the “good old days” BC (Before COVID), when we did not have to wear masks, observe any physical distancing, wash our hands with any regularity, and avoid contact with fellow human beings. While it is certainly reasonable to wish for a return to that time, it is also likely that a PC (Post-COVID) existence will be different in ways that we have yet to define. The use of technology more regularly is certain, as we have all learned that we don’t have to travel somewhere to hold a meeting, including a complete presentation with graphics and movie clips. Some form of live-streaming will be a regular feature of our Shabbat services, although it is premature to identify what that will look like at this time. While we would hope to gather as extended families for life-cycle events or holiday celebrations, technology makes it possible for everyone who wishes to be present to do so, just not physically but virtually. All of these are not necessarily bad per se, but more of an evolution in how we interact with family and friends.

As I have learned from experience, one cannot go back to what was, for the precise formula for that set of circumstances no longer exists. Our abilities as humans to be resilient, to adapt to change, be it evolutionary, or in the present case revolutionary, is why the human species still exists. We are capable of creating wonderful things, and a time Post-COVID will certainly be interesting. God endowed us with wisdom, if only we would use these gifts wisely. I pray that all those empowered to lead learn from the pandemic what we must do to be prepared, for there will be another pandemic one day. While I would hope that it follows the previous pattern of the 1918 flu pandemic and the next one hundred years later, the ease of travel around the world makes the spread of any contagion easy and rapid.

We must continue to maintain our vigilance by remaining masked, washing hands and physical distancing, for we have seen and read too many accounts of the impact of lax attitudes. God expects us to take good care of our bodies, for they are the containers of the soul. The soul is pure; our task is to keep the container in the best possible condition so that it merits the presence of God’s Divine spark. May we daily merit that spark.

Wed, April 21 2021 9 Iyyar 5781