Translation by Yehoshua Siskin
This is Dr. Naftali Gross. We are on the eve of the festival of freedom, the eve of the Exodus from Egypt, and I can definitely feel the meaning of freedom. This is my last shift in the Corona Department of Shaare Zedek Hospital.
The last patients are being released. We are closing up the department. Who would have ever believed it? Baruch Hashem.
During the last year, those of us in the department were on a different planet, far from anything you experienced in the world outside. First and foremost were the dear patients and their families, who fought just to breathe and to live, plain and simple. But the difficulty was much greater and it was keenly felt from the heads of all the hospital departments to the volunteers. Disaster followed disaster and the victories did not succeed in covering up the hellish feelings of loss. Total darkness. I find it extremely difficult to relive all those times we said vidui (prayer of confession recited before death) with the dying person whom we covered with a tallit and whose family could not be there at the end to say goodbye.
When the Torah describes Egyptian slavery, it highlights moments of loving concern: Miriam's anxiety over the future of her people; the heroism of the midwives; the compassion of Moshe for the weak. These are the points of light that illuminate the darkness. Looking back, even amidst the darkest days, I could identify many moments like these -- drinking tea with a patient, speaking words of encouragement, receiving a package of goodies sent to us with a thank you note.
I do not know why it was decreed upon our generation to fight this war, but I know that we wrote a chapter of history together. We will tell our grandchildren about this difficult period -- about the brilliant and astonishing Exodus of Israel from darkness into light in our own time. Rabbi Kook writes that the Exodus from Egypt has not ended, but that it must always continue: 'The Exodus from Egypt will eternally remain the springtime of the entire world.'
I leave the corona department and go outside, breathe deeply, and truly feel that springtime has come at last."