Is anyone sorry to see 2020 come to an end? If so, I have not met them.
When Vickie and I visited Tokyo in 2012 we noticed a smattering of people in trains stations and on the streets, who wore masks. Why, we wondered, do they need to do that? Never did I imagine, I would live in a time when medical masks would be an essential part of all of our wardrobes here in the United States.
If you are like me, you thrive on hugs. But since my last birthday on March 16, I have not hugged anyone except my beautiful wife Vickie who is an incalculable blessing in my life.
We are blessed with three wonderful children, three wonderful spouses of our children, and six wonderful grandchildren. I have a wonderful sister and brother in law and many nieces, nephews and cousins. It has been many long months since I have hugged or been in the same room with any of them.
Our oldest grandson celebrated his Bar Mitzvah in November. Since the day he was born, I dreamed about what that day would be like. But when it arrived, he was in San Francisco, and Vickie and I were in Florida watching the ceremony on a computer screen.
I am very grateful for Zoom technology, but, even though it allows people who could not have come in person due to distance or frailty to participate, it is a poor substitute for interacting with people face to face.
As a rabbi I feel the void at not being able to look my congregants in the eye and read their reactions as we pray and study together.
As disorienting and unpleasant as the pandemic has been for me, I know full well, how piddling my hardships are compared to so many others. Who have:
- lost their lives
- lost their jobs
- lost their homes
- lost their loved ones
- suffered from hunger
The pandemic has hit so many millions of Americans and people around the world with the full force of the combined plagues we read about in the Book of Exodus.
My prayer is simple and unoriginal:
May the new year dawn with hope for worldwide immunization against the horrible Covid-19 virus!
May we return to our normal way of living with greater appreciation for the many blessings we enjoy!
And may the Eternal One bring comfort and healing to those who have suffered devastating losses and may we all be blessed to face the future with hope and courage!