Translation by Yehoshua Siskin
Today was declared throughout the Jewish world to be a day of fasting, repentance, and prayer in the wake of the coronavirus plague. The Torah warns us not to regard troubles as arbitrary, but rather to search for the meaning behind them, and to try to fix what’s wrong and to improve. Here are some beautiful words on self-rectification recently expressed by the Sanzer Rebbe:
“Of course it’s forbidden to say that what is happening occurred by chance. Instead, we need to meditate on why Hashem has brought this upon us. There are those who offer one explanation or another. In any case, one of the principles of Chasidic thought holds that we should not seek explanations for anything that happens outside ourselves. And certainly, we should not point to deficiencies in others in situations where we need to awaken His mercy. At a time like this each person needs to look within and ask: What can I fix inside myself? How can I add to my own merits? All of us should check ourselves and recognize our weaknesses.
“People are frightened and under pressure. Their natural reaction is to be tense and lose patience. In this situation, when the children are home and all of us are, too, and it’s just before Pesach on top of everything else, our first obligation is to be happy, to be calm within ourselves and to bring calm into our homes, to be calm with the children, to devote time to them, and to demonstrate kindness in everything we do.”