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    Coronavirus Part 3

    My dear readers! Ext r a o r d i n a r y times give way to extraordinary opportunities. The Gemora teaches us that four types of people are considered like they are dead. One of them is the metzorah, the biblical leper. The reason for this is because the metzorah has to be in strict isolation. The Gemora teaches us “O! chavrusah, O! misusah,” either social interaction or death! With so many people under lockdown, many are experiencing this deathly feeling. This is exacerbated when a person is living alone – such as a widow or widower, a divorcee or a lonely older single. We should each make a list of the people we know in these categories and make it our business to regularly call them to see how they are doing, to offer them companionship at least over the phone and, if they are more sophisticated, by Facetime, Zoom, or Skype. As we just bentched Rosh Chodesh Nissan in the privacy of our homes, we become ever more acutely aware that Pesach is right around the corner. This increases the stress level in many homes during the best of times. In these times, we find ourselves in uncharted territory with unimagined new stresses. Many people were planning to go away for Pesach and have done so for many years. They don’t even have Pesach utensils. Others rely heavily on bringing in cleaning crews but are now afraid to allow them into their houses. Many women upon whom this Pesach burden falls are literally freaking out. Add this to the already mounting stress of cabin fever and having spouses and children on top of each other around the clock and it can easily lead to volcanic explosions. Here are a few suggestions. Pesach cleaning has to be limited to the bare essentials. No spring cleaning at this time! No moving of furniture, no straightening out the garage, no getting rid of the junk in the basement. There’s no manpower or time for these nonPesach expenditures. Spring cleaning has been effectively canceled this year. As of now, grandchildren and children are not safe for their elders so elaborate cooking should be trimmed down. It is certainly not the time to buy the latest Pesach cookbook. Our energies should rather be put into doing the minimum basics and being warm, loving and pleasant to those who we are “stuck inside” with. For sure, if we have discretionary time and cleaning out a room will cheer us up, or making a new Pesach desert will brighten our day, then go for it! But, we need to ensure that we keep our mental equilibrium healthy and not let the yeitzer hara convince us that we should be stressed-out because of non-essentials. The Rav will sell all of our chometz so, if children are not coming, tape-up entire rooms, garages and basements and let the Rav sell their contents to the nonJew. Our ancestors managed with matzah, potato and eggs, chicken and meat (if even), and not much more. With the whole world in isolation, Rav Chaim Kanievsky, shlita, wrote that the one sin that brought the punishment of isolation was lashon hara, sinful gossip. So it goes without saying that we must reevaluate how we are talking about people. I heard from one of the singers of the Yedidim Choir that in today’s day and age, with one click of a button on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and the like, the whole world can be exposed to lashon hara. Perhaps that’s why the whole world is under lockdown. Even in the midst of this turmoil, people were criticizing each other for going to shul or not going to shul, for learning in yeshiva or not. (As an aside, this writer humbly believes that everyone who can, should err on the side of caution and stay safely indoors.) COVID-19 is so frightening because it impedes the breathing. This was the fate of the twenty-four thousand disciples of Rabbi Akiva who died from askara, a disease that caused skin to grow over the esophagus, stopping the breathing. They died because they didn’t show honor to one another. Now is not the time to be talking disparagingly about Torah leaders, Roshei Yeshiva and Rabbonim. Now is the time to hunker down in our homes, help with the kids, help make Pesach, daven with more intensity, say more tehillim, give tzedakah online, check on the welfare of our parents, grandparents, and in-laws, and learn extra Torah and in that merit may Hashem grant us a cure to dispel the fear of this disease and bless us with long life, good health, and everything wonderful