Translation by Yehoshua Siskin
I lectured last night at the air force base in Hatzerim. This was not an ordinary lecture, of course. I spoke twice to two groups so that members of the audience could maintain strict social distancing. The lecture "hall" was actually an expanse of lawn next to the swimming pool on the base. Now and then helicopters could be heard buzzing overhead. I spoke on a podium far removed from the audience. One of the commanding officers, without lowering his mask, opened the evening with these words:
"We are important. We are vital. If someone here tests positive for the coronavirus, he is likely to cause an entire squadron to enter isolation. Do you understand the signficance of this?" Everyone suddenly got serious and adjusted the mask more tightly to his face.
I thought to myself that this is a message that it is worthwhile for all of us to hear. We are important. We are vital. Every one of us is unique and everyone of us is connected to precious cyclical events and to the life of the nation that surrounds us.
Soon it will be Rosh Hashana, the day in which every creature is counted for its unique importance and contribution to the miraculous phenomenon we call life. And this is affirmed in the words we add to the Rosh Hashana Amidah prayer: "Remember us for life, King who desires life, inscribe us in the Book of Life, for your sake, O living God."
Shana tova. Have a good new year.