This morning felt awkward.
Whispering on the phone with my chavrusa so as to not wake my family.
Donning tallis and teffilin on my kitchen counter.
My business, like so many of yours, has come to an abrupt stop.
My bank account is dwindling with hopes of replenishing it, a distant thought.
However, none of this brought me to uncontrollable tears like the sight at 9:05am.
My 6 year old, home from Yeshiva for the first day – dialed in on speaker phone to daven with his Rebbe. I can hear him happily singing in the other room, as he enjoyed this new school idea. As an adult I know that the world around us has changed. I know that virtual school, shuls with locks, and chavrusas by phone is not fun and games….I perhaps “get” what my 6 year old doesn’t.
But do I?
How have I shown my “father” that I “get it”? Does forwarding whatsapp jokes show that I get it? How about peddling news links from one group to another? Need I go down in history as always being the first to circulate a disagreement between Rabbonim?
Not to compare the magnitude, but humor me for a moment and let us use the Holocaust as an analagy. We are all old enough to have known a survivor or at least to have heard second hand stories from the war times. We’ve all heard of those who came out non religious and those who came out strong balai emunah. We are at a serious crossroads and the decisions I make now will be the stories my grandchildren will tell over. It can be about the whatsapp jokes I forwarded or the extra seder I set up. It can be about the hours of videos the kids watched, or the shmiras haloshon that was learned. The stories of the future are being written today. Yes, what I do and don’t do makes a difference.
Above all, is my “father” watching me “singing davening on the phone happily” while missing the bigger picture? As I watch my son, I cry. Is my “father” crying too?
I’m no Rav or Rosh Yeshiva but when I get into bed tonight I will think back about my day. Have I done something extra to show my “father” that I get it? Have I held back from forwarding a joke or meme ? Do I really get what’s going on, or am I no better than my 6 year old oblivious to his surroundings.