Pray and let the recovery begin

One thing is sure as the vaccine debate goes on, prayer will help and is needed. Thank G-d for the vaccine and let the recovery begin.

Rabbi Eli Hecht ,

Rabbi Eli Hecht
Rabbi Eli Hecht

It seems that there are so many changes happening in the world. People are looking for direction, but maybe there is no answer except to have faith in Hashem. There is an old expression ‘Faith is the mother of mankind.’

It has just been reported that the men accused of brutally beheading journalist Daniel Pearl is set to be released. Yes, a Pakistani court decided to release four men accused of kidnapping and killing American journalist Daniel Pearl. Pearl was a local South Bay citizen and a Wall Street Journal reporter. He was seized and decapitated by terrorists connected to Al Qaeda.

The last words uttered by Pearl were “My father is Jewish, my mother is Jewish, and I am Jewish” moments before he was killed.

This report has upset the French based reporters (RSS) and they have denounced the Pakistani court’s decision. Support for justice is now being formed. This travesty of injustice is frightening and has no place in our world.

In Israel the ruling government has folded and there will now be a fourth election in March to form a new government. Here at home we still have discussions of the presidency and its legitimacy.

Last, but not least, the vaccine has caused tremendous amount of unrest between the medical professionals, scientists and general citizens. Some countries are vaccinating everybody, not giving their citizens a choice, while other countries are vaccinating nobody, causing a complete uproar. Israel is vaccinating in stages, with those in the medical professions and those over 60 receiving the vaccine firs.

The virus pandemic is causing some people indecision, as several scientists say that the vaccines may cause problems, although there is no evidence to support that claim. Leadership is not united. Some are for the vaccine and some are against. There are no clear answers.

One thing I know for sure is that prayer will help and is needed at this time. In our tradition we have a custom of reciting a Mi Sheberach in the synagogue, where a person prays for the sick. I suggest that we go back to the old program where each person makes prayer personal, and prays on a daily basis. It is interesting to note that the mitzvah of prayer is the same for men, women (women do not have to pray 3 times a day, however, or with a quorum) and children.

I remember a story of Baron Rothschild, one of the richest Jews of Europe. He was traveling on the road in a magnificent carriage drawn by six horses. While looking out the window of his carriage he saw a poor peddler carrying a heavy load of goods to sell at the marketplace. The Baron, being a kind person, told the driver to stop the carriage and call out to the peddler that he was invited to join the Baron in the carriage for a ride to the marketplace. The poor peddler readily accepted the offer, sat down in the carriage, and put his heavy bag of goods on his knees.

The Baron asked the peddler why he didn’t put the bag on the floor. The peddler answered “It’s generous enough for the Baron to carry me in his carriage but I don’t want him to do extra work by carrying the bag.” The Peddler’s answer was illogical as it made no difference if the bag was on the man’s knees or on the floor. The man was doing nothing positive and, if anything, was defeating the purpose of the ride given him by the Baron.

The lesson is that we must do our part by praying to the Almighty that He protect us and everything we have, accept His help, nd by doing so our bags of responsibilities will be protected and we will experience salvation.

So these days there is no magic answer to the disastrous things taking place. But, one thing is for sure, if we pray life will become easier and our logic will make sense.

Thank G-d for the vaccine and let the recovery begin.

Rav Eli Hecht is Director and Founder of Chabad of South Bay, Lomita California, former President Rabbinical Council of California, and Vice President of the Rabbinical Alliance of America.