This week, we read from the book of Deuteronomy parashat Eikev, where the Israelites learned that if they obey God’s commandments and remain faithful to God, they will indeed inherit the Land of Israel…a Land flowing with milk and honey. How, may you ask, does this relate to us? Who is God? Where does God live? I’d like to propose the idea that I always come back to, the idea of “B’etzelem Elohim”, that on the sixth day of creation, God breathed life into us and created us in God’s very own image—an extension, or child of God, if you will. So, if we obey God’s commandments today, are we not all then simply signing on to agree to be participants in society, to take care of each other, and follow the rules set before us to keep us safe?  

Today, we are experiencing an unprecedented time in the health history of our world. Well, maybe not unprecedented, but we are certainly dealing with a very different kind of public health crisis than we have ever seen before. And just when we thought we were at the end of it, we are learning the hard way that we are not nearly as close as we had hoped to be conquering it. For us today, getting back to some sort of “normalcy” where we did not have to add fear of illness to our “concern curriculum” would be like the Israelites equivalent of entering the Land of Milk and Honey. Like the Israelites, if all of human society, or at least the majority of it, would simply trust in science, rather than propaganda and news media, we could be there.  

It is my deepest prayer that we will be able to come to this Land of Milk and Honey sooner than later. I pray that hearts will be softened, that we will be able to attain the vaccines needed to help protect our children, and that we will teach them the importance of living in a society where all humans are mindful of the “oneness” of each and every one of us. May we remember that each individual choice we make has an impact on everyone around us. I pray we will see each other soon. Shabbat Shalom.