Professors Emily Oster and Stuart Firestein offer advice for rabbis for deciding what to do about the High Holy Days during COVID-19 – and how to live with the unavoidable uncertainty.
Rather than seeing God as decreeing disease, we’re better off recognizing how human beings affect the cosmos and, in turn, the divine.
Perhaps we will remember this time by the actions we took, not the time spent in our homes. Perhaps we will measure this time in phone calls, in virtual connectivity, in mask-clad smiles.
Why does God allow suffering?
In the time of COVID-19 and physical distancing, how can we maintain our personal and spiritual connections?
Rituals transform social facts into physical realities, and so the coronavirus is forcing us to change, adapt, or maybe even lose some of those concrete and physical connections.
“Gam zeh yaavor”—this too shall pass, whether “this” is a sorrowful or a joyful feeling or situation. This phrase can apply in a myriad of ways if we let it.
The creativity that named us partners with God to protect creation has been essential in our efforts to reclaim and restore what our previous arrogance wrought.
While we may say we want to live “forever,” we simply don’t emotionally or intellectually understand the size of ideas like “infinity” or “eternity.”
As a scientist, it takes years of training and failing, and occasionally succeeding, to become comfortable with knowing that some day you might be proven wrong. How different that looks through the lens of faith!