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Thoughts from Rabbi Elliot Kukla

Rabbi Kukla is a rabbi in the San Francisco Bay area. He suffers from a chronic disease. His recent article in The J rang true to me. (The Jewish Bulletin of the San Francisco Bay Area)

The Coronavirus is not a blessing; there is no silver lining. The virus is a curse, like cancer and other horrific diseases that affect human beings. Anyone who proposes these ideas probably has not suffered, as uncountable humans have over the millenia. Bad, awful diseases, wars, relationships, diseases occur. Having a child with a disability of any sort is not a blessing. It is bad, bad luck. Destruction of any kind--whether it be disease, accident, or human-caused--is not to be valorized. Horrendous events facilitate creation, expression, a sense of purpose--to develop an improved world. One can appreciate the cleaner air and less traffic during the Pandemic of 2020. However, saying that this is the purpose of the virus is to ignore the human suffering. Cleaning the earth is a long-standing goal for all human creatures, not a crusade we follow when we are struck down by an illness.

Viktor Frankel, Holocaust survivor, proposed that our reaction to negative situations presents an opportunity for humans to demonstrate choice, creativity, and compassion. However, I doubt Dr. Frankel rationalized the killing and imprisonment of millions as justified--No. One is genocide; the other is learning in the face of adversity.

To return to Rabbi Kukla, relating the current situation to that of the Jews wandering in the desert after their escape from Egypt---

"In the open space that this pandemic bring to us, we have a chance to pause and begin building a new more just world."

"Like the actual desert, what makes moments of transition so unnerving, and so filled with potential, are the wide, open spaces, the huge arching skiy and expansive sandy plains of the desert."


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