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While you wait

10/07/2021 12:27:34 PM


“The Flood continued forty days on the earth, and the waters increased and raised the ark so that it rose above the earth” (Genesis 7:17). I used to think that forty days being cooped up with family was a long time. And then I experienced the pandemic lockdowns, and now I certainly know that forty days cooped up with family is indeed a long time!*

“The waters then receded steadily from the earth at the end of one hundred and fifty days the waters diminished” (Genesis 8:3). I used to think that one hundred and fifty days was a long time to wait for something. And then I experienced the continual waiting for vaccination approvals and caseload numbers to recede, and realized that five months is pocket change.

There is something hauntingly similar about the disaster of the flood and the disaster that is this pandemic. Both the flood and the pandemic disasters involved a significant loss of life. Both the flood and the pandemic disasters highlighted the moral turpitude that seems to lurk somewhere in the human psyche. Both the flood and the pandemic disasters disrupted the status quo of life on Earth and altered the trajectory and strategies of our society. But more than any of these similarities, I find myself reflecting this year on all the waiting and weathering the tempest that Noah’s clan and all the animals endure as the disaster takes its course.  

In a world where time is money, we fit in as many activities and errands that we possibly can; and even then, there always seems to be more to do. I remember reading a sociological paper that reflected on the perceived blessing that the new invention of washing machines and vacuum cleaners were to have on society as it would create more leisure time for families. Yet in reality, people’s lives just got busier and busier. Our attention spans have shrunk, our patience has diminished, and the demands on our lives are as high as ever. Stopping and waiting for the pandemic to recede tests us. It forces us to stop and confront this pace of life. Do you need more time to slow down and catch your breath? Or if you are itching to get things done, what are the priorities that ought to float to the surface of your to do lists? As the adage goes – don’t let a crisis go to waste.  Take the opportunity of pause to reflect. How do you understand your life, the pace of your life, and all the things you yet plan to accomplish?

Shabbat Shalom

*Editor's note: Hillel actually enjoyed spending all that time with us.


Fri, June 14 2024 8 Sivan 5784