How to Exit the Pandemic in a Divided World
Covid-19 has split the world between those who strongly support the need for massive vaccination to tackle the pandemic, and those who vehemently oppose mandatory inoculation and restrictions, taking to the streets of Europe and America to express their discontent. As the Delta variant spreads across the world, in the U.S. alone, an average of 43,000 new cases are reported every day, a 65% increase in one week. How can we ever exit the pandemic in such a divided scenario?
In every area and every situation in our lives, when we become more corrected, our world will also be more corrected. The plagues will disappear, the air will be cleansed, the water will clear, volcanoes will calm down, hurricanes and other hard forces will subside. It all depends on our inner state, on our relationships with one another.
It is written, “I dwell among my own people” (2 Kings 4:13) — a statement that means: I am part of the society I live among, and I share the public’s frame of mind. If the vaccine is acceptable to most people and recommended by health officials, then I must go out and get vaccinated. I do not disengage from the people and do not consider myself more of an expert than the experts.
This is how I chose and will continue to choose to act, and I will certainly not determine choices for my acquaintances or students, nor do I have the authority to do so. Every person is free to make an independent decision, and I respect and accept with great love each one and the choices everyone makes.
It makes sense that there are concerns and objections — anxiety from the unknown and fears from the risks of failure — and other doubts arising from people involved in the medical field. Such voices have been heard and have resonated in the public space from the day the plague broke out. However, we will not come to a unanimous conclusion from within the swirl of endless rumors.
The sages wrote to us in black and white about a spiritual law, “It was taught in the school of Rabbi Ishmael about the verse, ‘He shall cause him to be thoroughly healed’ (Ex. 21:19). From this we learn that permission has been given to the physician to heal.” (Babylonian Talmud, Berachot, 60a). The supreme force of nature heals through a representative within society, the doctor.
It is true that today’s medicine has fundamental flaws. This is also true about every other system we have built, because when the relationships between human beings are broken and the connections between us are selfish, society itself is broken. Naturally, this breakdown also affects the systems themselves. And yet, despite all the negative and positive things that are part of the medical field, it is nature acting through it in order to heal.
Medicine is neither better nor worse than the human beings who rely on it. Doctors are not angels and the health systems are not heaven, but with all the shortcomings that we have, the medical situation is still the service we need. In other words, current spoiled medicine dresses like a glove on our spoiled society.
If we were better, then we would be healed from this Covid plague by more natural forces, or we would find more creative solutions. But we are not corrected. Everyone can see that humanity is a society that is eating itself from within. People behave badly towards each other. We are locked within ourselves with self-interested calculations, ignoring the fact that we are not alone, that we are all connected and interdependent. So unfortunately, we cannot wait for a cure until everything within human society works properly. In the meantime, we have to recover from such diseases, and the available solutions are dressed in matter, in chemistry, in vaccines.
If we make a change for the better in society — if we become a more supportive, loving, considerate, close, healthy society — then physical medicine will also change for the better. But it will never happen the other way around. Medicine will not change for the better until we change.
Then, in every area and every situation in our lives, when we become more corrected, our world will also be more corrected. The plagues will disappear, the air will be cleansed, the water will clear, volcanoes will calm down, hurricanes and other hard forces will subside. It all depends on our inner state, on our relationships with one another.