Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Although the year 5771 is only half way through there is a feeling in the air that it’s almost over.

Covid-19 came and spread its venom upon us last year around the holiday of Purim. And by the time Passover arrived, we were fully immersed in this terrible plague. There was so much fear around, so much uncertainty, but above all there was a feeling that something big spiritually was happening.

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Suddenly for the first time ever, people weren’t allowed to fly out of the country to where ever they pleased. Jews from all over the world wanted to come back home to Israel where it felt like the safest place in the world. And talk about “something greater” filled the air.

As the holiday of Passover was approaching I recall the energy that was felt, was of the redemption. On the one hand we were all closed in our homes, yet on the other hand it felt like now, more than ever, we were preparing for the salvation of all of Klal Yisrael.

It felt like the time when the Jewish people left the land of Egypt. There was a terrible plague running wild outside, and inside Hashem was protecting all of His children from the worst of all.

As Passover came and went, so did all the rest of the holidays, and that spiritual feeling of redemption lost its affect and was replaced with despair and disbelief of anything good happening anytime soon. The year unfolded and the holidays came and went. So did the lockdowns with each holiday that approached. People learned how to adapt to the new situation and life went on.

However, there is no action physical or spiritual that goes unnoticed by Hashem. The fact that so many people in the world were waiting and expecting some big change to come about and save us all, this in itself was the biggest change ever.

We are living in a time with so much knowledge and the physical ability to do almost anything we can dream of. And then this virus came to the world. And suddenly talk of something greater than just another great hotel or a new vacation spot took the front stage.

The feelings and the talk revolving around something greater entered our lives and made great changes in the world.

It is written in the book, Song of Songs “I am sleeping but my heart is awake, my beloved is knocking at my door, please open the door…” Last year on Passover we all felt that “knock” at our door. We all felt something stir. That knock was the spiritual change that this virus brought about. True, something physical is happening all over the world. However, more than the physical, something spiritual has changed all over the world. People are truly waiting for the redemption more than ever. Waiting to be “saved” from Covid-19 when actually we are waiting to be redeemed from this final exile into the full redemption we have been waiting for so many thousands of years.

Change must come gradually. Even the salvation from Egypt was over the course of time. However, there was a beginning.

Last year started our salvation. Instead of planning the next trip to some far and remote island, people are thinking more of spiritual connections, and relationships.

It is written in the book of Yechezkel (36, 26), “Hashem with give us a new heart and He will put in a new spirit into our souls. G-d will then remove the heart of stone from within us and give us a heart of flesh.” For the first time in many years we can actually see this verse unfolding in front of our eyes.

Instead of just running all over the world seeking physical pleasures, people have stopped this past year and have recalculated their steps and direction. Families are spending more time together, and the heart of stone that didn’t stop to think about anything, is now thinking of Hashem and the redemption. Of family life and one another, of connections and not just life’s physical pleasures. We have received a heart of flesh this past year. That is the biggest spiritual change that can happen. With this heart we can receive everything else which is good

As the holidays of Purim and Passover approach once again we are a changed people and a more feeling people. We are connected to ourselves and our surroundings more than ever before.

The verse in Yechezkel then continues, “… And then, I G-d will dwell upon you.”

May we truly merit the connection to Hashem and the full redemption please G-d now.

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Michal can be reached at michal@jewishpress.com