Translation by Yehoshua Siskin
Boredom leads to the conflict in this week’s Torah portion. The feeling that time is dragging and there is nothing to do brings about disaster. After the people get the news that they will need to spend the next 40 years in the desert, they fall into a needless but deadly dispute.
Many have feared that teenage boredom during the months of July and August will lead to similar tragedy. Just yesterday, however, I received two pictures that tell a completely different story.
Yossi Drecksler celebrated his Bar Mitzvah yesterday. His older brother Moshe had wanted to return to learning Torah in Jerusalem’s Hebron Yeshiva and so he signed up for the “the capsule plan”. This is a plan where groups of students are completely separated from others; those in each group learn, pray, eat and sleep in a specific area or capsule without making contact with anyone else. So when Moshe left the yeshiva yesterday, he had to wear a protective suit, mask,and gloves, and could spend only a short time at the Bar Mitzvah before returning to the yeshiva. There are thousands like him who are studying Torah in this way at this time – with social distance, but with Torah closeness.
17-year-old Tamar Chovrah, a student at the Mikveh Yisrael agricultural school, sent me a picture of crates filled with oranges. She is one of a group that joined with HaShomer HaHadash, a volunteer organization that provides assistance in the agriculture sector and was enlisted to save the citrus industry during the corona crisis. It turns out that citrus growers were left without any foreign workers and Israeli teenagers saved the day by picking 400 tons of oranges in three weeks.
Look at these two pictures. Boredom does not always prevail.