by R. Gil Student
My local community magazine, The Jewish Echo, asked its writers and staff for brief comments about what they learned from the pandemic. Here is my contribution:
In times of crisis, our community unites in overwhelming acts of chessed. We excel at that. We naturally respond to a crisis by looking for opportunities to help others. As beautiful as this is, as much a testimony as it is to the fine character of our community, I already knew this. What I learned from the coronavirus outbreak is the importance of avoiding a crisis from the start. Too much pain was self-inflicted; too many people could have avoided suffering and even death if we all had acted with greater caution (see Moreh Nevuchim 3:12). We cannot blame ourselves in hindsight, but we can change our attitude going forward by taking health warnings more seriously and avoiding dangerous situations more carefully. Even if it was not a Torah commandment, which it is, it would still be common sense. My own unhygienic behavior can cause illness or worse in someone vulnerable. We must change our behavior before causing more damage.
Other people’s answers are in the full article here: link