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Isolated No More

Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

"Shalom Sivan, this is Levi Mendelzon from Chabad. I am writing on behalf of a Megillat Esther reading project for those quarantined by the coronavirus. When we began this project a week ago, we could not have imagined that so many people would be forced to enter home quarantine and would ask to hear the Megillah. Reading the Megillah under these circumstances was utterly surrealistic: to stand in the stairwell of an apartment building, to depress the light switch continuously so it would not go out, and to read the Megillah for just one quarantined listener; to stand under a window and loudly read the Megillah in the street for a single quarantined individual listening from that window. It was extremely emotional to see how these people would not give up on hearing the Megillah. Not on YouTube, but in person.


Today, we are used to sending everything on WhatsApp, but tonight we saw that there is significance in physical proximity, in recitation of the Megillah directly from one person to another. The listeners' emotional reaction to this personal connection reminded me that one of the purposes of Purim is to connect with one another through the mitzvot of the day: the Purim feast, the reading of the Megillah, mishloach manot, and gifts for the poor. I call upon all of us to find those around us who are isolated, and not only because of the coronavirus. This can be someone who is a little neglected, for example, and send that person mishloach manot. Have a Happy Purim."


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