No matter where we live in this ever-shrinking world, it seems like everyone is thinking about the coronavirus, or COVID-19. At the Costco near my home, I was greeted by empty shelves, with most everyone cautiously stocking up on essentials. I am told that the local ShopRite and Target are experiencing similar shortages.
As the days go by, the number of people around the world impacted by this virus is increasing at an alarming rate with some entire cities under quarantine.
Is there something we can do about it?
The Jewish answer is: Yes, there is always something for us to do!
Let me share a few thoughts and practical suggestions as we weather this storm together.
1. Follow Health Guidelines
As much as it’s common sense, guarding your health is a mitzvah we should take very seriously.
So follow the instructions of the CDC and your local health officials. Wash your hands with soap. If you suspect that you or a loved one has been affected, contact your doctor.
And if you do find yourself under quarantine, get yourself a good laptop and charger (and get ready to watch hours of Torah classes on Chabad.org video).
Read: Obey the Doctor
2. Know Someone in Quarantine? Reach Out!
With all of the talk about the problems with technology, perhaps this is its time to shine.
If you know of anyone who is under quarantine, reach out! Isolation for a long period of time is tough for anyone. Call, email, or send a loving text message.
So if it’s a friend, a relative or a co-worker that needs to stay home, reach out to them. Tell them that you are thinking of them and praying for them.
3. Check Your Mezuzahs
The Torah guarantees that when a Jewish home bears a mezuzah on its door, the Guardian of Israel ensures that the home and all who live in it are protected. Whether at home or at the other end of the world, in the merit of that mezuzah, you’ve got the best safety net around you.
Rolled up inside a mezuzah case rests a parchment with the Shema Yisrael inscribed by an expert scribe. With time and weather, that parchment can fade or crack. That’s why it’s a Jewish custom to check the mezuzahs of your home every few years, and especially at a time when protection is needed.
If you don’t have a mezuzah, your local Chabad rabbi can help you get one written by a qualified scribe now. If you have a mezuzah, but haven’t had it checked recently, contact your local Chabad rabbi and have it checked right away.
How many mezuzahs does a home require? Basically, one for every entranceway. Your local Chabad rabbi can also help you determine which doorposts require a mezuzah and where that mezuzah should be placed.
4. Have Faith, Not Fear
Yes, the concern is real. But the truth is, there is only One who decides what will happen to us, and that is the one Director of heaven and earth. Trust that He is good and think only good thoughts, and things will be good.
Spend some time pondering and verbalizing your faith in G‑d. Pray. Ask Him to protect you and your loved ones. Ask Him to send healing to the entire world. Then have complete confidence that He listens to every prayer that comes from the heart, and yours will be answered as well.
A little trust in G‑d can have some great side benefits too! Check this out, from the Mayo Clinic:
“Most studies have shown that religious involvement and spirituality are associated with better health outcomes, including greater longevity, coping skills, and health-related quality of life.”
As in most situations, fear doesn’t do anyone much good. Even a teaspoon of faith, on the other hand, has amazing healing power.
Read: What Is Bitachon?
5. Give Charity
Isaiah, the great prophet of peace, compared giving charity to donning a suit of armor. Each contribution you make, no matter how small, provides another shield of protection against any affliction. So, too, the book of Proverbs tells us that “charity saves from death.”
The main thing is not how much you give, but how often. So get two charity boxes—one for your home and one for your place of work. In a pinch, you can simply designate any box as a charity box.
Put a coin in the box every weekday as well as before the Shabbat candle-lighting on Friday afternoons. At your place of work, encourage others to contribute their spare change as well.
Don’t carry cash? Today, most charities collect online. There are even apps for giving, including apps that direct funds to Jewish charities. You can make a habit of giving through an app on a daily basis.
6. Be Infectious!
Finally, let’s take a page from the playbook of this nasty virus. It’s infectious, it’s spreading, it’s separating people and even causing us to be suspicious of each other.
So be an antivirus! Just by adding a little goodness and kindness to the world, you can be infectious in a positive way.
Use your social network to spread kind words, helpful actions, and a little more love and caring to the planet. And may our collective good stop the spread of anything negative!
From all of us @ Chabad, we hope and pray for the safety and health of you and your loved ones. May the Almighty protect us all and send complete healing to those who need healing. And may our world very soon find the ultimate cure to all diseases with the coming of Moshiach, sooner than we can imagine.