Dear Readers,

The coronavirus has attacked; every death that is its victim is agonizing. Fortunately, though, most people seem to recover from the virus, many without even knowing that they had contracted it. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the majority of people with COVID-19 experience mild illness and recuperate at home, while severe cases need supportive care in hospitals, which these days are overflowing in the United States.

COVID-19 attacks by infiltrating our bodies and then attaching itself to a cell. The virus takes over command and instructs the cell to reproduce, rather than perform its own function. Eventually, the cell is told to self-destruct.

For the majority of the population, the body summons its own arsenal of antibodies to crush this malicious invader and regain control. A few days after being infected, we begin to form antibodies—tailor-made by the immune system—to fight back.

Our immune system, the body’s personal army, is the key to recovery; each cell, molecule, tissue and organ plays a vital role. Scientists are working on blood-plasma transfers to tap antibodies from recovered patients to help those too sick to create their own.

While it’s best to stop the virus from entering our bodies in the first place, a healthy lifestyle—sleeping well, eating a balanced diet with sufficient vitamins and nutrients, moderate exercise and reducing stress—helps our immune system to be in the best shape to tackle it.

The Baal Shem Tov taught that whatever happens in our world has a lesson for our spiritual service.

This foreign virus entering our bodies can be compared to negative traits that attempt to infiltrate and lure us to behavior that is both counterproductive and destructive for our spiritual and emotional well-being. By strengthening our holy, G‑dly soul, we can expel these foreign invaders from hijacking our consciousness.

The path to success is through summoning our inner resources.

Chassidic thought teaches that at our essence, every Jew is pure and beautiful. Any negative qualities are superimposed over our pristine core. When we are in touch with our Divine core, we have the power to triumph over the strongest obstacles and through our struggle reveal our soul’s exquisite beauty.

Mitzvah means connection. By performing mitzvot and studying Torah, we strengthen our connection to G‑d and His wisdom. Torah and mitzvot buttress our spiritual immune system, so that our soul can shine and even transform negativity into light.

Many of us are experiencing a difficult time right now—whether we are witnessing the suffering and pain of so many around us, or are trying to cope with the many changes and stresses of what has become our new normal.

Now is the time more than ever to take on a new mitzvah, to study Torah, particularly those areas related to faith and solace, as well as connect to others, especially friends and mentors who can help support us.

As we continue to do all that we can to keep ourselves safe physically, let’s use this opportunity to fortify our spiritual immune system.

Wishing you a safe and healthy week!

Chana Weisberg

Editor, TJW