The most real reason for the current situation
– a ramble through space and time.
As often, it helps to throw more than one spotlight onto this space-time continuum being sculpted before our eyes. Seen from different sides it becomes vivid.
Spotlight 1 — Our Maker is bringing about judgement and retribution, to prepare the way for the Messiah to enter. Our Maker loves us and does everything for a purpose. He keeps us from continuing our trodden wicked paths by disrupting our normal lives. It is all part of His redemptive plan. We have strayed far, and he is pulling us back.
Spotlight 2 — We have to finally see the signs and return with our whole hearts. We have depleted our Maker’s patience, and will now suffer the consequence of our careless, slanderous ways, greed and pride. If we do not take this chance to repent and amend our ways, this pandemic will strike us down, or if in his Mercy it passes, the next calamity will come, and it will be many times worse. The more stubborn we are, the more our disciplining needs to escalate. We have strayed far, and now need to pull ourselves back to the sound path.
Both angles are true, the distinction merely lies in our limited perception of time, cause and effect, and consequence. There are two ends to this rope. Our Maker is pulling, and we at the very least have to hold on, and not let go, distracted or dismayed by what we see around us, as we traverse these spaces and times we never thought we’d cross.
We now have a unique opportunity to prove ourselves – to show our true colors, to complete our measure of good deeds or wickedness, depending on what our purpose is. Whether you think you are just spooling off the reel of your life, or whether you believe that you are molding and crafting your destiny may not make much difference seen from the end result, but it does make all the difference from our side.
He knows what is possible for and with us. We often determine ourselves: “I’m too hooked on this substance / pattern / pleasure, it is so hard, I cannot repent!” Keep in mind that 99.9% of matter is empty space. We dwell too much on the (self-imposed) limitations of our physical existence. Our Maker knows these too of course, but also knows that our Spirit is of the same substance as He Himself.
Strike a balance between duty and release, inhale and exhale, speech and silence, giving and receiving. All that matter and spirit are is pulsating, oscillating, weaving.
How important is observance?
How important is beauty?
Art is all that makes life worth living. In centuries past, there was such a concept of the artisan: a craftsman making bread, clothes, pottery, furniture or whatever else with an inherent sense of beauty and proportion. Every object of daily practical use was an opportunity to hone your craft. Ancient jewelers were no less important, as their amulets also had practical use: to ward off evil spirits or attract benign ones. The religious was integral part of life and perception.
These days, we are so “enlightened”, so rational, we have lost some of that perception. Architecture still straddles art and engineering, and most products of daily use are still designed with some sense of aesthetics, yet machining and automation have removed much of the identity of objects, the imprint of the maker’s hands. Most objects surrounding us are sterile and boring in their industrial perfection and reproducibility. Much of our life is given to “making a living”, which is really a misnomer. It should say “catering for our existence”. That our perception has shifted does not mean though that the spiritual dimension was any degree less relevant, only that we have chosen to excise it from our way of thinking and making. Food, clothing, shelter, work is existence, it is just ensuring that whatever this thing called life is, can go on. But life is exactly that which existence is not.
Is it important if Shabbat is the seventh day of the week, what we call Saturday, or if it’s been shifted to Sunday, or any other day of the week? Is it important if we celebrate Pesach or Easter? With our human wisdom, no: Important is time out, family time, celebrations with rituals that the kids can look forward to. But if we acknowledge that our Maker’s wisdom is infinitely higher than ours, yes. The rhythm of life is finely tuned, and the rituals are reverberating and foreshadowing, reminiscent and prophetic. If we carry on worshiping on the wrong days of the week and year, we will miss the appointments with Him, and be out of tune, out of sync with His occasions. We will miss the beauty of an aligned, on-track life. So the repentance will be quite literally a return, a Teshuva, to the appointed times, ordained from the creation of the world, unto forever.