Follow the Guidelines – Properly

There is so much misinformation on how to protect ourselves from Corona and deal with those not following the guidelines. Rabbi Arush sheds light on everything. A MUST READ!

5 min

Rabbi Shalom Arush

Posted on 24.11.20

In my previous article The Second Flood, I discussed the critical need to recognize the truth about how we are supposed to deal with Corona, and choose our responses wisely and correctly according to Torah and emuna. Now, I am going to expand on this concept further. 



Real Free Choice 

Before I delve into the current situation with Corona, I want to first remind you of an important rule: You only truly have free choice, when you know what you are supposed to do, and have the opportunity to choose to do it, or not. It might not be easy necessarily to choose correctly – very often we see that that correct choice in Hashem’s eyes is specifically not the easy road – but free choice requires that you have the knowledge and ability to do what is correct and bring your free will from the level of “desire” into action, as I explain in my book A New Light (also summarized in the series If There’s a Will There’s a Way).  


However, if you don’t know the truth at all, and you don’t yet know the laws of the Torah and emuna and how they apply to the situation – then you don’t know what you’re even supposed to want to do! How then is there any possibility that you’ll actually end up doing the right thing? Remember again, Rebbe Nachman says that free choice is summed up: “What you want to do, you do – and what you don’t want to do, you don’t do.” That means that if you don’t even know what you should want to do, then you for sure cannot do it! 


Hence, someone who is on the level of “a captured baby” (as explained in my article Take Responsibility), clearly has a much more limited level of free choice, in that many of their choices are being made without the necessary knowledge to truly know what they should be choosing. Therefore, it’s no surprise that they generally choose incorrectly. 


Following the Rules According to the Torah 

Now, let’s apply this understanding, to understanding how to deal with Corona properly, including all of the various rules and regulations coming from the government and the Ministry of Health, which seem to change almost from day to day. 


The biggest problem of them all, is that we really don’t know what the real truth is, and what we really should be doing about it. 


The research is mixed on just about every topic. Information is spreading on many different platforms, often completely at odds with each other – and lies and misinformation is more the norm than the exception. 


The result is that the public is utterly confused. Even more problematic, people are resorting to all sorts of explanations and opinions which only confuse the entire situation even more, and again, a lot of these lines of reasoning are the opposite of the truth to boot! 


What is even more critical to recognize in all of this mess, is that everything must be filtered according to the Torah. 


For example – there is no question that if your government is requiring you to wear a mask, then you must comply. However, that does not give you permission to break the Torah! There are people who see someone without a mask and they scream at him, “Murderer!” Not only do they not realize that this is not true, and not in accordance with the Torah which forbids humiliating someone, but they even think that they are doing a big mitzvah and saving the world from the plague! 


Where is the straight and honest thinking? Where is judging favorably? Maybe this person has asthma? Maybe this person already has Corona antibodies? And even if you insist that you must comment – where is treating every human with dignity and respect?! This is proper rebuke?! Don’t forget that the Torah warns us, “Rebuke, you shall surely rebuke, but do not sin against him”! 


Shabbat Still Exists! 

If this concept applies to all the various Corona regulations, then it applies even more so to guarding Shabbat properly. 


I heard that some people are saying that if you see that the regulations are not being followed, such as a minyan that is larger than the maximum set by law, then you are required to call the police, even on Shabbat, G-d should save us.  


How can we possibly suffer such a distortion of Jewish law?! Sure, everyone should certainly follow the rules, but how did you arrive at the conclusion that they are suddenly more important than Shabbat, and more important than the extremely severe prohibition against being a moser, an informer – and especially so if you are informing on a Jew, Hashem should save us from such sins! 


If you want to tell me that it’s for the critical commandment of “saving a life,” then why are people packed onto public buses, or packed into protests, or packed into malls? I saw it myself – an outside minyan gets stopped even with each individual separated properly because there are a few too many people total, but the mall is packed like sardines. Only now you’re suddenly counting people and breaking Shabbat as well??? 


The Torah does not change, not for any whim of the public, not for fashion, not for what is modern, and not for any plague or new guideline either. 


Follow the guidelines, but once it passes into commandments of the Torah or the laws between fellow men, everything must be weighed very, very carefully according to Jewish law according to the great Rabbis and poskim. 


These examples are just a few in a sea of problems, where people are applying the rules according to their own thought processes, and not according to the truth of the Torah. They don’t know how they should be acting, and they don’t know what Hashem is expecting of them – and therefore they are making very serious mistakes. 


Recognize that anyone who is doing such things, or even “permitting” such actions, let alone encouraging them – are very, very far from Torah and emuna. According to their thought processes, Hashem has “left the wheel” and has put all the power into the hands of a tiny virus, to harm people at random, G-d forbid. As if the virus chooses who will live and who will die, and as if following the rules is guaranteed to save you! They are totally disconnecting the reality from Hashem, and automatically, from the Torah as well.  


Emuna is the Real Vaccine 

So if we aren’t supposed to be driving ourselves insane over the newest guidelines – what are we supposed to be doing, exactly? 


The Arizal says that someone who truly believes and trusts in Hashem – no plague can touch him. The explanation is that one of Hashem’s rules is that whatever you believe or trust in – Hashem places you into the hands of that thing, and now Hashem gives it direct power over you. But if you trust only in Hashem – then Hashem Himself guards and protects you, and chooses what happens to you. And of course Hashem is all good and full of mercy. This is part of the well-known segula of Rebbe Chaim of Volozhin, to concentrate on the words “ein od milvado – there is nothing besides G-d.” 


Therefore, the primary place we should be putting our efforts to save ourselves from Corona, must be strengthening our belief and trust in Hashem! 


And if you don’t put your efforts into this central protection, then all of the personal effort, and masks, and gloves, and hand sanitizer in the world won’t be able to save you, Hashem should have mercy. We’ve heard so many stories of people who were the most careful – and got sick. And I know others who help those who are sick, and are not getting the virus. Because there is no nature – there is only Hashem. 


Therefore, follow the guidelines and take reasonable precautions to protect yourself. However, don’t go crazy, don’t be overly pressured and definitely don’t believe that your efforts alone can protect you. Don’t let yourself fall into sadness or terror, which only further damages your health and weakens the immune system. The body follows the rules, the mind and the heart are totally connected to Hashem and emuna. And the emotions of happiness and serenity will follow. 


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