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  • Writer's pictureRachel Shifra Tal

In challenge and tragedy, look for the helpers

This new virus has literally brought the world to a standstill. People are working from home, kids are home from school. Social distancing, hand washing, toilet paper shortages. All very intense and because of our global internet network, we can see the effects all over the world in real time.

Never before has the world been able to see cause and effect so clearly, thanks to the internet.

The Torah brings a powerful perspective I want to explore. Hishtadlut. We do our part, GD does GD's. Hishtadlut is a complex concept  that is often translated as 'intervention with the intent of facilitating change'.

Lets take it a step further. Really, we are only in control of our reaction and our perspective. Those translate into our response.

Mr. Rogers famously said, "whenever there is challenge and tragedy, look for the helpers". Those in my opinion are the leaders we should follow. In this global pandemic, there are some incredibly beautiful and tremendous responses and perspectives. Here are a few: A woman printed up papers that she shared online for people to slip under doors and put in mailboxes of those in quarantine offering them, phone support, errands, grocery drop off and such. What a beautiful response to reach out, see others and help!

  • Everyone will be ready for Pesach early this year! Since we are all home and cleaning is a good thing!

  • Families are getting to spend more time together.

  • The environment is getting a break from pollution. Over China the pollution cloud cleared for the first time in a long time and could actually be seen from space!

  • Hand washing is actually a beautiful middah (character trait) showing we care about one another.

We have a limited form of control, but never underestimate the power of perspective and response. This small handful of kindness and thoughtfulness are what make up our humanity. I bless everyone with health and may we all continue to see the big picture in our daily lives.

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