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Section:  Avodah   Category: Innocent Observations
Stopping Corona: Overwhelmed With Eitzos?
In a city where we get our Hashkafa from Patchkevilim on the streets and musar from bumper stickers on the back of the car in front of us, it should come as no surprise that while we are all running scared from Corona, every serious Makom Torah, be it a Shul or Bais Medrash, has dozens of signs on the walls and papers strewn around the table with "Eitzos" on how to handle the current crisis. They are the ones with the big headlines screaming "Chovas HaSha'a", Eis Tzara He L'Yaakov" and the like. Thay clearly spell out and share with us the secrets of survival. Give Tzedaka, learn Torah, stop talking Lashon Hara, throw away your smartphone etc. They are usually well sourced either from a Medrash, Gemara, Zohar or a famous Gadol like the Chofetz Chaim, Yesod V'Shoresh HaAvodah and many more. There are also those age-old antidotes of saying specific Pirkei Tehilim, Parshas HaKitores, Nishmas, Perek Shira, Amein Yehei Shmei Rabba and the like.

We are all overwhelmed with all this advice as we grapple with the magnitude of the calamity and the uncertain future. Which is the most effective? How many of them can we possibly do? Do they really work?

Not to worry the answer is quite simple. Take for example the US Army. There are four main branches; army, navy, airforce and marines. Each one has many divisions with different roles. Each division has a huge arsenal of the most advanced weaponry in the world. Are the soldiers overwhelmed by the breadth and depth of the tools at their disposal? Of course not. Each soldier is given a weapon and instructed to go fight.

Similarly Hashem has provided us with the most advanced weapons to alter the face of nature and the world at large. Every Amein, every word of Torah, every kind word to a fellow Jew has the power to shake up the world and change the reality in which we live in a moment. Every "Eitzah" is a gold mine and an atom bomb wrapped up in one. It makes no difference which one you do. Just don't stand around, don't deliberate grab one and get going. Whatever you do will make a huge impact even if you don't see its results with your own eyes.

How do we know this is true? In the last year Bnei Yisrael was in the desert they started speaking Lashon Hara about Moshe and were swarmed by deadly poisonous snakes. What did Moshe Rabbeinu do to save them? He didn't tell them to learn two halachos of Shemiras HaLashon a day for the next 40 days. He didn't tell them to fast and say Tehilim. He put up a copper snake on a tall stick in the middle of the camp and told everybody to look at it and they will be cured. The Mishna in Rosh HaShana asks how can looking at a snake cure someone with poison in his blood. The Mishna answers that of course it can't, but when a person looks up towards the sky he remembers his Father in heaven and that is what cures him.

By performing any of the remedies being promoted by these signs we will look up and acknowledge the source of our troubles. That is what will ultimately make it go away. But therein lies the caveat. Chizkiyahu HaMelech, it says, did away with Moshe's copper snake and the Chachomim blessed his initiative. Why? Because it came to the point where people thought the snake was a magic cure for their ails and forgot that it was only a means to find Hashem. The wondrous snake that centuries before brought us close to Hashem, now became a full fledged Avodah Zara in its own right.

Similarly saying Nishmas will not help unless you read and marvel at how Hashem has always and will always protect us every second of our lives, and how we can't live without his hashgacha for a moment. Perek Shira will only be effective if it brings us to the realization that the world and all the creations are servants of Hashem that do his will and therefore so should we. Torah study only works if we see it as Hashem's most precious possession and our guiding light to live our lives. And so on and so forth with every remedy there is. They are all different flavors of the same medicine. Understand the truth of life, and the meaning of life, and start to live it. Only then we will truly be counted among the living and no little virus will bring us down.

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