Translation by Yehoshua Siskin
Our first day of home quarantine is over, after our flight home from New York. We have heard a lot about those in isolation. They are being interviewed and counted and given advice. I want to speak about a population that we hear less about – the ones helping people in isolation like us, the ones involved in the circles of support who have come to the rescue of those who, frankly, have become a burden to society. We are talking about so many people who have changed their daily routine – despite taking care of their own children on extended vacation from school and being busy with Passover preparations – solely in order to help others maintain while in isolation during the current crisis. My dear sisters-in-law labored to make sure that we would return to a refrigerator full of goodies (how fun to eat our special Israeli cottage cheese again!). Throughout the day they also took the trouble of bringing us plastic cups and other urgently needed items and dropping them off outside our door. Finally, they schlepped kilograms of matzos and wine for our Seder and for the entire holiday of Pesach. Hundreds of thousands of people are volunteering these days in this manner and their kindness makes it possible for the crucial quarantine policy to work.
Tonight marks the anniversary of the passing of the Jerusalem tzadik Aryeh Levin, the well-known embodiment of human kindness, a man who devoted his life to helping others in especially creative and heartfelt ways – children and the elderly, the sick and those in prison, and countless others. One of his students contacted me and mentioned that since, unfortunately, no memorial service for Reb Aryeh can be held this year, perhaps everyone should decide to perform an act of kindness, however small, to honor his memory. These days there are plenty of opportunities to do so.