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The Upcoming Post-Corona Crisis

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30.11.2020

“We have a maximum of choices and a minimum of meaning.”
— Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks z”l

As I mentioned in my last essay, it seems that many religious and secular communities suffer from the same problem: the lack of a deeper existential, transcendental meaning. This is true as much of the Jewish community as of the non-Jewish world.

This is what makes these communities unhappy and dissatisfied with their lives, which in severe circumstances — such as during COVID-19 — leads to much unrest and violence.

Not only are our lives under threat, but our financial stability has been badly undermined. Also, the education of our children has been disrupted, which may affect them seriously in ways we cannot yet predict, and could be detrimental to them for the rest of their lives. And there is so much more at stake. These matters are highly worrisome.

In fact, all this will certainly bring upon us a new world order that will shock many of us. We may think that once a vaccine puts an end to the virus we’ll be able to go back to our old ways, but we will surely discover that nothing is further from the truth.

The virus has forced us to confront the most elementary questions concerning life and death. It provokes us to ask why we love life, and will do anything to go on living, even when we all know that life is sometimes extremely painful, and perhaps not worth living.

The renowned French author and philosopher, Albert Camus, referred to this in his famous statement: “There is but one truly serious philosophical problem, and that is suicide,” (The Myth of Sisyphus, 1942). Indeed, this question must be asked: Why not prefer death to life, so as not to have to live with pain? To argue that it would mean losing out on the many beautiful parts of life is not really convincing. After all, we wouldn’t know what we were missing, so there’s nothing we would lack. But how many human beings are lucky enough not to be born? So why not opt for suicide? Nevertheless, we all want to live! We therefore will have to ask the question: Why?

While this question has always been in our subconscious, it is COVID-19 that has suddenly brought it to consciousness.........

© The Times of Israel (Blogs)


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