Join Sivan's newsletter!

Get updates & news via Email


היכל נוקיה

* Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

Tonight the line was crossed: More than 10,000 Israelis have passed away from the coronavirus, including around a thousand in the last month. All of us remember the days when we counted the seventeenth sick person and traced the buses he used and the restaurant where he ate. Now two years have passed and we have grown tired from counting how many have been infected, how many have been vaccinated, how many have recovered. But this new round number compels us to stop a moment and take a closer look.

This coming Shabbat, we will read the Torah portion of Shekalim. It calls upon each person to extend himself and make a contribution in order to prevent plagues: "When you take the sum of the children of Israel according to their numbers, let each one give to the Lord an atonement for his soul when they are counted; then there will be no plague among them when they are counted. This they shall give, everyone who goes through the counting . . . half a shekel as an offering to the Lord."

Our commentators explain that each person gives only half a shekel in order to be reminded that he cannot be whole without his fellow. That we are all threads in the same human fabric. These last two years have demonstrated how vital it is to feel solidarity not only toward those who have passed away but toward those who have been sick but are not yet fully recovered, toward business owners, toward coping parents and, in fact, toward everyone who has been affected, which means every one of us.

Journalist Ariel Schnabel wrote last night: "Imagine Nokia Hall (Tel Aviv basketball arena) full of people. And now imagine it empty. 10,000 have died from the coronavirus in two years. It's not popular to speak about them now since we are at the end of the most recent wave, and we are all fed up, each person for his own reasons. But they deserve to be remembered. Yes, the old people, too, with the pre-existing conditions. All of them are us. May their memory be blessed."

To receive Sivan Rahav-Meir's daily WhatsApp: Portion


We use cookies to ensure the best experience for you. Please, accept the usage of cookies.