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Rabbi's Blog

rabbi 05 smallsf badge lgRabbi Joel Landau  (rabbi@adathisraelsf.org) has been the Rabbi of Adath Israel since May 2013. He was ordained by the Chief Rabbinate in Jerusalem and has served previously as a congregational Rabbi in Charleston, South Carolina and Irvine, California. A full biography of Rabbi Landau is available here.


 

Blog #1 - Corona Confusion

Every morning, 365 days a year, we recite the following prayer during Shacharit, and it’s something we should keep in mind during the Corona pandemic: 

A human should always be in awe of Heaven in private and public, and acknowledge the truth, and speak truth in one's heart as they arise early in the morning and say: Master of All Words, not in the merit of our righteousness do we cast our supplications before You, but in the merit of Your abundant mercy. [For after all] What are we? What are our lives? What is our loving kindness? What is our righteousness? What is our salvation? What is our power? What is our might? What can we say in Your presence, Eternal One, our God and God of our ancestors? Are not the mighty like nothing before You, and the famous as if they never existed, and the wise as if devoid of wisdom, and the perceptive like as if devoid of intelligence? For most of their deeds are futile and the days of their lives are empty before You.

Please keep this prayer in mind as you review this slightly humorous list of what experts have told us to do over the past six weeks. My goal in sharing this is NOT to disrespect the wonderful healthcare professionals and scientists who are doing everything they can in the fight against the Coronavirus. Rather, to point out how despite our amazing 21st century technology and know how - our greatest minds have been found wanting. Why? Of course, I don’t know, but I can’t help but wonder if the Almighty isn’t laying the groundwork for the beginning of the Messianic era – where G-d’s presence in the world will be felt and appreciated far more than it is today? 

Official Coronavirus Guidelines (source unknown):

  1. Basically, you can't leave the house for any reason, but if you must, then you can.
  2. Masks are useless. But they will protect you. They can save you, no they can’t, they’re useless, but wear one anyway. Now they’re mandatory. But maybe. Or not.
  3. Stores are closed, except for the ones that are open.
  4. You should not go to the hospital unless you must go there. Stay out of the ER at all costs unless you’re having a medical emergency then it’s okay.
  5. This virus is deadly but still not too scary, except that sometimes it leads to a global disaster. Stay calm.
  6. Gloves won't help, but they can still help. Especially if you wear the same pair for hours and everywhere you go, then you cannot spread germs, nope. 
  7. Everyone needs to stay home, but it's important to go out to get sun. Sunlight will kill the virus but not if the virus kills you first by walking in the sunlight where you may be exposed to the virus.
  8. There is no shortage of groceries in the supermarket, but there are many things missing when you go there in the evening, but not in the morning. Sometimes.
  9. The virus has no effect on children except those it has affected or will affect.
  10. Animals are not affected, but there is still a cat that tested positive in Belgium in February when no one had been tested yet, and a tiger.. and one deadly but also possibly fictional but very sick bat.
  11. You will have many symptoms when you are sick, but you can also get sick without symptoms, have symptoms without being sick, or be contagious without having symptoms.
  12. In order not to get sick, you must eat well and exercise, but also never go out to the grocery store so eat shelf stable processed crap and stay inside your four walls but also stay healthy.
  13. It's better to get some fresh air, but you may be arrested if you’re getting fresh air the wrong way and most importantly, don't go to a park, the fresh air there is deadly.
  14. Under no circumstances should you go to retirement homes, but if you must take care of the elderly and bring them food and medication then fine. Just wear gloves. The same ones. All day.
  15. If you are sick, you can't go out, but you can go to the pharmacy to get your medications. Just don’t make eye contact because you may spread your sickness that way.
  16. You can get restaurant food delivered to the house, which may have been prepared by people who didn't wear masks or gloves. But you must leave your groceries outside for 3 hours to be decontaminated by the fresh air that also may have virus particles floating around in it.
  17. Taxi drivers are immune to the virus apparently since you can still take a taxi ride with a random taxi driver. Just don’t take the taxi to your mom’s house because you know. Stay away from your mom.
  18. You can walk around with a friend if you stay six feet apart but don’t visit with your family if they don't live under the same roof as you. Even if you’ve all been locked inside for two months already. You may still have the virus and just not know it yet. You’ll find out. Wait another week. Wasn’t that week? Might be the next one. Keep waiting.
  19. You are safe if you maintain the appropriate social distance, but you can’t go out with friends or strangers at the safe social distance. Social distancing means you shouldn’t leave your house and don’t be social, except you may go to the liquor store but don’t socialize there while you’re being socially distant.
  20. The virus remains active on different surfaces for two hours, no, four, no, six, no, we didn't say hours, maybe days? But it takes a damp environment. Oh no, not necessarily.
  21. The virus stays in the air - well no, or yes, maybe, especially in a closed room, in one hour a sick person can infect ten, so if it falls, all our children were already infected at school before it was closed. But remember, if you stay at the recommended social distance, however in certain circumstances you should maintain a greater distance, which, studies show, the virus can travel further, maybe.
  22. We count the number of deaths, but we don't know how many people are infected as we have only tested so far those who were "almost dead" to find out if that's what they will die of…
  23. The virus will only disappear if we achieve collective immunity.. but stay inside until the virus disappears.

 Blog #2 - Israeli Corona Creativity 

Israeli creativity and ingenuity has long been known. However, the IDF’s Navy Seals (Shayetet 13) have taken the fight against the Coronavirus to a new level, see for yourself.