Lag B'Omer And Covid Politics

Thursday, 7 July, 2022 - 11:32 am

 One of the reasons we celebrate Lag B'Omer is to commemorate the end of a pandemic that claimed the lives of thousands of Rabbi Akiva’s students. The Gemara in Yavamos states that the plague was brought because of the ill-mannered disrespect between students with differing opinions. 

Considering that Rabbi Akiva taught his students that loving your fellow as you love yourself is a fundamental principle of Judaism, it is entirely incomprehensible how such dedicated scholars could betray their teachers' teaching to such an extreme to cause a mysterious illness to take the lives of so many.

To be sure, Rabbi Akiva’s students were highly accomplished individuals, yet, through the intensity of their perspective of how to serve Hashem properly, there was no room for any synergy or seeing things from a different perspective. This lead to a great schism among the scholars of that era. As tensions mounted so did illness, and the rest of the story is a sad episode in the annals of our history.  

The lesson here is quite obvious but well worth thinking about. We are allowed to have a difference of opinion or an alternate perspective on an issue. There is nothing wrong with that at all. In fact, a polyphony of opinions can lead to an even greater outcome. But should it lead to negative feelings or ill-mannered disrespect we must assert that it does not come from a place of life and blessing and change course to ensure that we reap the blessings of life and fraternity for our families and our people.

Shabat Shalom!

Comments on: Lag B'Omer And Covid Politics
There are no comments.