Editor’s note: The following is a transcription (very slightly abridged) of a video message from Rabbi Manis Friedman circulating on social media. Rabbi Friedman is a longtime Lubavitch shliach, popular lecturer, and author.
We live in a time of great technological advances. We live in a time where we believe almost blindly – almost religiously – in the powers of science, scientists, experts, doctors. And yet, we are suddenly finding ourselves without a solution, without a clue. We don’t know what we’re dealing with, we don’t know how to respond, we don’t know how to control it.… And it’s very good for the soul – to be reminded that we have not mastered the universe….
Now, there are people who actually say… “Why would G-d allow such a virus? Why would God allow such a pandemic?”
Why would He allow it? What is that suggesting? It’s as if some things happen and G-d intervenes, but then there are other things that happen and G-d doesn’t intervene. Nothing happens unless G-d makes it happen. Everything that happens, happens for a divine purpose and a divine reason; otherwise it cannot happen. Everything we’re going to experience is going to be divinely orchestrated for our benefit.
The world is shutting down all its practices. What is our schedule made of? We go here, we go there, we do a little of this and we do a little of that, and then we come home and we’ve had it. All of a sudden, without anyone saying a word: no theatre, no partying, no traveling, no going anywhere. All our habits have now been cancelled. We have been freed and liberated from our Mitzrayim.
We are so caught up in these things that we actually started to believe that that’s what life is about. Life is about going to school, going to work, going to parties, going to a theater, going for some entertainment, going for some shopping – that’s life. Now we’re seeing it’s not.
This is a very good thing. The break of habit that this virus is bringing is such a fantastic opportunity to change the habits we’ve been trying or hoping to change, planning to change, for years, but – you know – an hour goes by, a week goes by, a month goes by, and you haven’t changed it. Now we have the perfect opportunity. Everything is changing anyway.
We can now have the life we choose. We are encouraged by events to rethink where we put our energies, what are we living for, what are we getting up in the morning for. The world is going to be a much better place as soon as this thing is over.
That is really a pre-Pesach message. Every generation has to come out of its Mitzrayim, out of its enslavement. And what we’re seeing now is, like in the days of Egypt Jews were pushed out of Mitzrayim, here we’re being pushed out of our habits. We’re not asked, we didn’t volunteer; it’s being done for us.
If we take advantage, if we keep our heads and we see the opportunities, by Pesach time we can have a much healthier life, a much healthier planet. All assumptions can now be questioned. All habits can now be challenged. All fears can now be dismissed.
Were we worried about China? Were we worried about Iran? Were we worried about the price of oil? Boy, we’re getting sobered up. Everything is changing, and it is changing for the better. It’s a good thing – not scary at all. Exciting.
And we are maturing as a human race. That is a beautiful thing. It’s not a warning, it’s not a punishment, it’s not doomsday. This is going to pass, and we’re going to find ourselves in a cleaner, healthier, more noble world – politically geographically, financially, and personally….