Day 3 of the partial lockdown in Israel, and Baruch Hashem, no-one has (yet) killed anyone in my house.
What open miracles! What revealed good!
At this stage, it seems to me that the real danger from Covid-19 is not so much the pathological nature of the virus, but how much it’s empowering the police state to force me to try to spend 24 hours a day SOLID with my kids….
But you know what?
I’ve been practicing for this for months, if not years. For months if not years, I’ve barely had a single week where both of my teenagers have been in the ‘framework’ they’ve meant to be in. I literally can’t remember the last time they were both in school when they were meant to be, or both doing whatever else it was they were meant to be doing, that gave me a whole week ‘off’ home alone.
So, when this current phase of Coronavirus madness descended, I actually wasn’t so bothered. I’m used to my kids being around when I’m trying to do other things. I’m used to them playing their music at ear-splitting levels, and totally taking over the kitchen to cook weird things that apparently don’t come with lots of instructions for how to clean up afterwards.
In short, I’m used to hanging out with my kids, on their terms, and kind of ‘squishing myself’ into the sidelines, so they have the space and freedom they need to not go bonkers at home.
And at this stage of the game, I say thank God for all this practice, because it means we’re actually doing ok.
To help things along, I’ve been panic buying a bit more every day, because I don’t trust the government as far as I can throw them. Sure, all the supermarkets will stay open whatever happens….. yadda yadda yadda. Whatever you say, Health Ministry Ubermenschen.
And I also bought two live chickens…. And I’ve also bought some 2x4s for the people in my house that like to make things out of wood…And I also bought some crochet yarns and hooks to make kippas…and a cast iron pot to cook things over a campfire in case we mamash go back to the stone age….
So, we have plenty to keep ourselves busy with.
Of course, I’m getting pretty much zero work or writing done.
And of course, I’m cooking three times a day because everyone is home and comfort eating, so as well as lunch and supper I’ve also been baking more cakes than a conditoria this last week.
What can we do?
This situation has definitely got its challenges.
It’s definitely got its stresses. But most of all, so far, this lockdown has had a massive silver lining for me, as I see just how much I actually like and love my family, and just how good God has actually been to me the last few years, that I’m in the position I’m in today mentally, emotionally and socially, with my husband and kids.
Imagine being locked down with spouses you don’t speak to or like very much, or kids you haven’t really spoken to for 12 years, since you sent them off to kindergarten, or three million small kids running around that usually the teachers handle because you’re at work drinking cappuccino and pretending you’re doing some real hard work.
I’m getting the shivers just thinking about those scenarios.
In the meantime, so far I can still get to the Kotel every day to pray, baruch Hashem.
In the meantime, the bakery that makes my spelt bread is still open – albeit everything is now pre-bagged – and even the hardware shop is ignoring the rules to keep selling nails, screws and wood stain.
And then, there are other kindnesses, too. Like, I remember how we were meant to sign on our mortgage 2 weeks ago, and the bank just refused to action it…. Just one of those ‘Israeli-bank-mental-torture’ things that happen. Except this time – Baruch Hashem! Because we didn’t sign, we aren’t paying for a mortgage. And because the whole plan was to rent that apartment out to pay for the mortgage – and everyone is now in partial lockdown – the bank’s torture routine has probably ended up saving me a fortune in time and money.
I have to say, in the midst of all the madness I’m feeling pretty happy.
Someone sent me a comment, asking if it’s OK to feel kind of ‘happy’ about all these birth pangs of Moshiach that are going on all over the place, even though things are so stressful and apparently ‘bad’.
Here’s what Rebbe Nachman has to say about that (from Sefer HaMiddot, the section on Yirat Shemayim, or fear of heaven, #28):
One who has yirat shemayim will not be afraid when frightening events come upon the world. To the contrary, he will rejoice.
So, it seems that how we’re reacting to this whole COIVD-19 hoohah is a pretty good measure of how much yirat shemayim we actually have.
And while we’re on that subject, let me just toss in #29 from Sefer HaMiddot here, too:
One who has yirat shemayim will certainly submit himself before the Tzaddik.
Because rejoicing in this difficult matzav we all find ourselves in, and submitting ourselves before the Tzaddik certainly go hand-in-hand. You can’t have one if you don’t have the other.
So, I’m up to day 16 of my 40 day stint praying at the Kotel, and I can’t really believe just how much things changed since the first day I began.
There are 24 days left to go – until the third day of Pesach chol hamoed – and who knows how much things will change again, by then
But I’m holding on to the Rav’s promise that all this will be sweetened by Erev Pesach, however unlikely that seems right now.
The footsteps of Moshiach are fast approaching.
But who knows how many of us are going to still be sane by the time they actually arrive?
That is the question.
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