Dear Readers,

Every year, just before the onset of winter, I read dire warnings about the upcoming flu season. This year is supposed to be a particularly dreadful one, which makes the aches and pains accompanying the flu all the more ominous.

But no worries; free shots are available, which presumably will help lessen your chances of getting sick. By injecting your body with a small dose of the flu virus, the vaccine stimulates your body’s immune system to make antibodies that attack it. This way, if you’re exposed to the flu virus, your immune system will recognize it, and immediately produce antibodies to fight it even before those aches and pains set it.

I find it interesting that viruses are also used in gene therapy, where genetic material is inserted into cells to compensate for abnormal genes. Since a gene that is inserted directly into a cell usually doesn’t function, certain viruses are used to deliver the new gene by infecting the cell. These viruses are modified so they can’t cause any disease but just deliver the necessary therapy.

Though I don’t really fully understand how it all works, what amazes me about this technology is that something that we consider negative or harmful—a virus—is being used for such positive outcomes.

Everything that G‑d created has a purpose. If this is true in all realms, how much more so does this apply to each of us, human beings who are created with a spark of G‑dliness? We each have an essential reason of why we are here!

In “Song of Songs,” G‑d refers to our world as His garden. A garden is a place of delight, where we enjoy spending time. And yet, a garden is also a place of toil, where we need to work hard, sweating as we plant and tend to the vegetation, producing gorgeous, blooming flowers while eliminating ugly, harmful weeds.

G‑d created our world with the vision that it would serve as His home. He envisioned a lowly place, filled with spiritual blackness, where creations who have free choice—and who are capable of embracing the darkness or rejecting it—would ultimately transform it into light.

We do this on a personal level when we strive to transform our own darkness, temptations and negative traits into light. We use our circumstances and personalities, too, to create more positivity and beauty in our world.

And as I read about new vaccines that ward off terrible illness or viruses that are used to spread healing, our world is looking more and more like a beautiful garden.

Chana Weisberg

Editor, TJW