Coronavirus: A Modern Leprosy

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “Coronavirus: A Modern Leprosy.”

What an interesting time this week during the coronavirus for my bar-mitzvah parshas of Tazria and Metzora, where we learn about how to handle someone with the plague of leprosy…What’s fascinating though for our times is that right here in the Torah, long before medical science understood germs, washing of hands, and disinfectants, we have the first instruction on quarantining someone who is sick. The person with leprosy is deemed impure and is put outside the camp in quarantine, repeatedly checked (e.g. tested) by the Kohen, until they are healed, at which time they are purified before being allowed back in. What we don’t see with leprosy is that the whole community is put in a state of quasi quarantine as we are doing now globally with the coronavirus.


In the end, I see this coronavirus blowing up with some people forever anxious and germophobic and others becoming complacent and careless about the whole thing. Either way there will be more sick and dying people, as well as anger at the system that over time repeatedly failed us. This week’s parsha is a good reminder to go back to the ultimate wisdom of the Torah and read again how we handle the leper and manage with a thoughtful risk-based management approach and an eye on the ultimate purity—physically and spiritually—of the individual and the community.

(Free Photo via Pixabay)

Ignorance Isn’t Bliss

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “Ignorance Isn’t Bliss.”

It’s Passover, and we celebrate our deliverance from Egyptian slavery, yet this is a slavery that was foretold by Hashem, and as you could say, like with many bad things that happen in this world (e.g. Coronavirus), we knew it was coming!


To me it’s not about being afraid, but rather it’s about being prepared. It’s great to be an optimist, but it’s important to be practical, especially when it comes to saving lives. Yes, we need to have faith in G-d and believe that ultimately everything is according to His word and plan for the world, but at the same time, we need to be responsible and do our part to protect ourselves and the future from terrible things that we have a relatively high-level of confidence will happen. There is no mitzvah to wait and be caught off guard, rather there is a commandment to save life (“Pikuach Nefesh”), and for this we need to “face up to facts” (including our known vulnerabilities, threats, and our capabilities to address them) and actually be very well prepared.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Don’t Cough On Granny

So these are the signs of the times of Coronavirus. 


Pictures telling us not to cough on Granny. 


Cover your germy mouth!


Don’t get the older and more vulnerable amongst us sick. 


I was in the elevator the other day, standing in the corner next to the elevator buttons. 


Someone else–an older person–gets on with a big (double size) shopping cart.


He’s standing in the opposite back corner (kitty corner from me) with this huge cart between us. 


Then he starts yelling at me, literally, to “get in the corner!”


Ah, I’m already in the opposite corner. 


He’s huffing and puffing angry that he wants me to literally get up against both walls. 


I was almost tempted to say something like maybe you should just get off and catch the next elevator Sir. 


But I held my tongue, in part out of sympathy for these elderly people who are obviously really scared (and maybe rightfully so) of the Coronavirus. 


Sometimes, I think to myself what if we were really hit at some point in the future with a very deadly bioweapon that was expressly designed to kill and to repulse any sort of countermeasures against it. 


What if the fatality rate was 1/3 to 2/3 of the population like in the Middle Ages Bubonic Plague or even higher like 100% of anyone that gets infected from a military-grade, genetically modified virus (similar to effects from Ebola). 


Maybe it’s not good to ask what ifs, but if we are really going to learn anything from this, then I think we need to extrapolate from the relatively minor now to the potential major down the road. 


If you think we have hysteria, deaths, and $2.2 trillion U.S. impact now, this is just a glimpse of what could actually happen. 


We need to seriously rethink our disaster preparedness and response–big time.  😉


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

We Just Magically Found $2,000,000,000,000

It’s amazing how we can magically find $2 trillion for a Coronavirus “Rescue Plan.”


This after we already wasted over $6.4 trillion (and thousands of our dead and wounded) through 2017 in unexplainable and endless wars in Iraq and Afghanistan with no known or lasting benefits to this country (while archenemy, Iran continues their pursuit of nukes unabated). 


And for decades, we haven’t been able to find money for:


– Decent healthcare for all Americans.


– Ensuring our national security, including adequate planning and disaster preparedness for things like Coronavirus, cybersecurity, WMDs, EMPs, and for critical infrastructure protection. 


– Repairing our aging roads, bridges, and infrastructure


– Fixing our broken public education system.


– Helping our countless of homeless and needy lying the streets of our nation. 


– Restoring our space program to get a man on the moon again or put another shuttle into space. 


When politics are in play, there is plenty of money to go around. 


But when the nation needs proper care and feeding, there are no adults in the room. 😉


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

EMP Attack–>Danger, Danger, Danger

Saw the Movie E.M.P. over the weekend.  


Everyone needs to see this!


The explosion of a nuke(s) in the atmosphere over the country causes an electromagnetic pulse that fries all our electronics. 


Nothing would work!!!


Think cyberattack on steroids with everything out of commission and basically little to no chance of recovery. 


Prognosis is for mass riots, starvation, and illness that wipes out most of the population. 


Easy then for the enemy to swoop in and conquer the country with no resistance and the basic infrastructure still intact for them to build on. 

 

Just having mutually assured destruction is not enough!

 

We need to genuinely be able to counter these threats and not just say: “You’ll die if we die.” 


How stupid and immature is that thinking?


There are more than a share of radical nuts out there who don’t care if they die as long as they take us down.


These are the threats we need to pay attention to before…before…before…it’s too late. 😉


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Bar Mitzvah Speech Page 3

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “Bar Mitzvah Speech Page 3.”

I wondered to myself how come this bar mitzvah boy didn’t end his speech with the traditional thank you to: my loving mother and father, my dear grandparents, my annoying brothers and sisters, and all my terrific uncle and aunts who came from Israel, Europe, and Canada to be with me here on this special day? There was none of that, and I was puzzled — how can he not thank everyone who made this day possible?

This was a true lesson about always being prepared and resilient, because that is what true empowerment is all about. 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

From Chaos To Order

The world challenges us all the time. 


Yes, the world functions based on the “laws of nature,” scientific facts, and mathematical formulas, and so you’d think everything in our lives would be orderly and work like clockwork.


But, as human beings, our lives are too a great extend a function of what gets thrown at us and how we react to them, and not the constancy of the world context that these things are happening in. 


It’s easy to be surprised, become overwhelmed, or even be stumped by the daily barrage of things that we are new to us or we simply don’t know how to handle.


A world governed by Mother Nature thus, often seems more like a world ruled by Murphy’s Law. 


In a world that we can often experience as chaotic and disorderly, the answer is not to break down and cry or run and hide, but rather to create our own sense of order. 


Thus, the antagonist of chaos and disorder is consequence and order. 


The way to get to order in your life is through planning and preparation. 


The more you plan and prepare, the better you are able to deal with the challenges you are dealt. 


I believe this is the cornerstone of what a good education and training is–preparing you for real life!


Generally, if you plan and prepare for a broad spectrum of scenarios (especially the worst cast scenarios), you won’t be left sitting out there scratching your head when the proverbial “sh*t hits the fan.”


Thinking out of the box and ahead of the curve, and using scenario-based planning and preparation can give you the tools and confidence to leave the anxiety behind and move more swiftly to confront challenges head-on. 


Of course, we’ll never be able to imagine or be prepared for everything that can happen–but the more you can free your mind to think about the “what if’s” and how to mitigate the risks, the better shape you are in to act with determination and decisively when you really need to.  😉


(Source Photo: here with attribution to Elisa Riva)