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Boosting Our Spiritual Immunity During COVID-19

April 23, 2020 2:05 AM

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

Chana Weisberg is the editor of TheJewishWoman.org. She lectures internationally on issues relating to women, relationships, meaning, self-esteem and the Jewish soul. She is the author of six books. Her latest book, Shabbat Delights, is a two-volume series on the weekly Torah portion.

The Budding Fruit Trees, Our Blossoming World

April 14, 2020 2:31 AM

Dear Readers,

This week is the last week of the Hebrew month of Nissan. During this month, we have an opportunity to recite a blessing on a fruit tree that has begun to bud.

This is a blessing said but once a year. I read the words: “Blessed are You, L‑rd our G‑d who has not made His world lacking in anything and has created its goodly creatures and goodly trees to give pleasure to humankind.”

As I recite the words, I feel every fiber of my being rebelling.

Has not made His world lacking? Not lacking in anything?

My heart vehemently protests, as I conjure images from the last many weeks. I picture my friend who so suddenly lost her husband. He was rushed to the hospital unable to breath; days later, she was burying him, alongside her two young children. I can almost hear the sobs of another friend burying her father just days before Passover. I picture nurses and doctors and health-care workers without needed supplies, valiantly trying to save lives. On my lips are still the Psalms I said for the long list of people still urgently requiring our prayers.

This is a world that is not lacking in anything?

But then I think back to the budding flowers on the fruit tree—their potential so tightly wrapped, hidden within, a secret to the world. Now, it may look like a plain green bud, but within is held a precious secret, a key to joy and survival. It won’t be for several weeks until it produces aromatic, juicy fruits. But right now, within that bud, is contained all that power, all that latent potential. To the naked eye, it looks unremarkable, but to the discerning eye, it is a life-giving treasure hiding beneath the surface.

Like the budding fruit flowers on the tree, within each of us and within our world lie all that it takes to become a world of redemption, a world of peace and unity, a world without sickness and misery. Each of us holds the keys and the prospects to make our barren world bloom into a redemptive one. Each of our actions can create a world “that does not lack in anything.”

Maimonides describes the era of Moshiach as a time of peace, abundance and enlightenment that will benefit everyone, everywhere. All luxuries will be readily available, and miraculous changes will take place within the fabric of nature. We will devote ourselves to the pursuit of a higher consciousness knowing that all creation is merely an extension of G‑d, the only true existence.

From the dawn of time, G‑d envisioned for Himself a “dwelling place” right here in our world, and He entrusted us with transforming our darkness into light.

Because hiding within our world is the potential each of us have to discover and actualize that our G‑d has not made His world lacking in anything and has created its goodly creatures and goodly trees to give pleasure to humankind.

Chana Weisberg

Editor, TJW

Chana Weisberg is the editor of TheJewishWoman.org. She lectures internationally on issues relating to women, relationships, meaning, self-esteem and the Jewish soul. She is the author of six books. Her latest book, Shabbat Delights, is a two-volume series on the weekly Torah portion.
Often we need a break from our daily routine. A pause from life to help us appreciate life.

A little pat on the back to let us know when we're on track. A word of encouragement to help us through those bleak moments and difficult days.

Sometimes, we just yearn for some friendship and camaraderie, someone to share our heart with. And sometimes we need a little direction from someone who's been there.

So, take a short pause from the busyness of your day and join Chana Weisberg for a cup of coffee.

Chana Weisberg is the editor of TheJewishWoman.org. She lectures internationally on issues relating to women, relationships, meaning, self-esteem and the Jewish soul. She is the author of six books. Her latest book, Shabbat Delights, is a two-volume series on the weekly Torah portion.
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