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OZ Membership Message #9 - Parshat HaChodesh

03/19/2020 09:11:26 AM


Logo for Congregation Ohab Zedek

Dear OZ family,

This Shabbos is Parshas Hachodesh and is a reminder that Pesach is upon us. People have many questions and I addressed some of them last night on the zoom conference. The Pesach Seder is a profoundly communal event, underscored by the invitation early on to all who are hungry and in need in the vernacular that would be understood by all. To contemplate that we will have to have seders with no guests at all, or even worse, to do so alone, is very painful. Let us hope that our scrupulous vigilance now in shutting down the spread of the Coronavirus, will allow us to ease these restrictions in time for Pesach, to allow, at least small groups to join for a Seder. This vigilance stands in sharp contrast to the very irresponsible behavior exhibited by those who refuse to avoid large indoor contact, as we see in the news. Aside from being a colossal chillul Hashem, the idea that true believers are impervious to this virus is morally obtuse, and profoundly dangerous. We surely need to call upon the abundant mercies of the Creator to make it through this crisis, but surely He expects our input as well. To this I cite the prescient words of the prophet, Yeshayahu. At the end of Chapter 26: 

Go my people, enter your inner rooms, and shut the doors behind you. Hide but for a short time until the indignation passes. 

This is precisely what Yeshayahu would tell us all now. Above all be safe. We all have a Yetzer Hatov to hear Kriyas Hatorah, to say Kaddish, to rejoice with a bride and groom, and many other mitzvos Hashem is keeping from us now. Right now, doing these things is dangerous and a Yetzer Harah. Our value of the preservation of life and health comes first.

There was another simcha yesterday. Let us rejoice with Mordechai Woodrow and Yarin Trabelsi on their engagement. Mazel tov.

Simcha will continue, davening continues and learning continues. But above all, be safe.


Rabbi Allen Schwartz


Fri, July 3 2020 11 Tammuz 5780