Advice on Uplifting Community, Personal Prayer & Embracing Uncertainty

By Rabbi Yona Matusof 

We are collectively facing the greatest challenge of our lifetime. A microbe, invisible to the naked eye, is bringing humanity to its knees. For all our advances in science and technology, this is a humbling moment for humanity. We have succeeded in landing on the moon yet we have not yet succeeded in protecting and securing our environment from the threats of nature. In this time of mass hysteria and panic, we need to maintain a level-headed and commonsense balance. First and foremost we must abide by all safety and health regulations, yet at the same time, we need faith and trust in the benevolence of our Creator.

I'm sharing some unsolicited advice:

1) We must make it our business each day to reach out to 5 people in the community just to say hi and see how they're doing. At times like this, we need each other. Lifting up another is the most uplifting thing we can do for ourselves.

2) Take some time for personal prayer each day, especially now! Recite the Shema each day, morning and night. Read some of the Psalms. Or choose whichever prayers you like. You'll remind yourself that all is not lost and we are never alone!

3) Close your eyes and feel the uncertainty, make peace with it, let yourself be taken by it. Embrace your cluelessness. Because in all the confusion there is one thing you know for sure. You are in G-d's hands. Keep calm. Panic and fear are also contagious. Take every precaution as advised by health authorities. Wash your hands well. And every time you do, remember whose hands you are in.

Wishing you all a peaceful and healthy Shabbat.

Rabbi Yona Matusof is the Director of Chabad of Madison. Born in Casablanca, Morocco and studied in Paris, France. After completing his studies at Rabbinical College in New York where he was ordained, he moved with his wife, Faygie, to Madison in 1980 as Rabbi of Chabad (Lubavitch) of Madison, serving the Madison and Dane County Jewish Community.

Disclaimer: The From Our Rabbis feature seeks to provide a platform representing the diversity of our community clergy. The views, information, or opinions expressed in the From Our Rabbis articles are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the Jewish Federation of Madison.