Torah For Today: Lockdown 3.0
search

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here
Analysis

Torah For Today: Lockdown 3.0

Rabbi Daniel Friedman looks into Jewish texts for an Orthodox response to the pandemic

Stuck inside during lockdown
Stuck inside during lockdown

We’ve just been hit with the sad news of a new lockdown, this time without an end date. The difference, however, is that we now have an exit strategy, the vaccine. It’s not going to be easy to endure the next few weeks and months, but we must all do our part.

However, is it fair to lock everybody down so that a certain segment of the population – the aged and vulnerable – are protected?  What does the Torah say about this? 

Here’s where Jewish values are helpful.  While Darwinism tells us that it’s all about survival of the fittest, our sages teach that when one of us stumbles, we all do (Shevuot 39b). We’re all on the same team. When one of our players goes down, the entire team suffers.  

The Talmud explains that a pious person is even prepared to sacrifice his own spirituality in order to avoid the stumbling of an unlearned individual (Eruvin 32b). 

We are all soldiers on the frontlines of this battle against coronavirus. Even if it means putting our own comfort and security on the line, we never forsake any of our fellow soldiers.

Curiously, one of the few places that remain open are places of worship. First, that’s a tribute to the standard of care we’ve all maintained during these past few months.  But second, and perhaps more profoundly, it’s a powerful statement about the spiritual values of our nation.  

Despite all talk of declining religious beliefs, God is on the rise in this country. In our synagogues, Yom Kippur was as busy as ever.  And the heated response from our Christian neighbours to the news that Christmas would be curtailed this year was a telltale sign of the state of religion in the UK. God still matters to Britons.  

The speedy arrival of the vaccine was nothing short of a miracle. May our Father in Heaven have mercy upon us and put an end to the crisis very soon. 

  •  Rabbi Daniel Friedman serves Hampstead Garden Suburb Synagogue

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...

Engaging

Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.

Celebrating

There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.

Pioneering

In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.

Campaigning

Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish News also produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more:
comments