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The world the day after

נח והיונה
ציור: אהובה קליין

Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

What kind of world will it be after the corona? On Shabbat we read about Noah and his family leaving the ark after the flood. Our sages comment that they had a uniquely powerful perspective since they were the only people in history to see the world first when it was built, then when it was destroyed, and finally when it was built again. This gave them a special responsibility. Everyone who lived before the flood had vanished. And everyone born after the the flood only heard about it from stories.

Rav Yehuda Amital was accustomed to say that as a Holocaust survivor – someone who saw the magnificent Jewish world, its destruction, and its resurrection – he also felt this way: "My beard had not yet turned gray and yet I saw during my lifetime – in the words of our sages – a world that was built up, a world that was destroyed, and a world that was rebuilt.

It is difficult to believe that one person within a short chapter of his life could see so much change. We are living in an unusual era. This demands something from us. We need to thoroughly live in the spirit of these times, to know what we must do in our world at this moment and what God requires from us here and now. All of this creates an imposing challenge from which there is no escape."

Ever since the flood there was never an event from which the entire world suffered at once. Now, not just one region on the map or just one continent has had to cope with a mysterious and deadly virus for nearly a year, but the entire globe. Like Noah, we too are living in an historic period. We saw a lively and vibrant world before the corona, we see at present a strange world in the days of the corona, and with God's help we will see the world after the corona. This is not a flood, but still a serious jolt. Perhaps we should ask ourselves: "What will we take away from the corona for the day after it's over? What will we learn? What will change? What kind of world will we build together?


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