Betsy Frank is UHC para-rabbinic fellow and president.
As we have learned in the Torah and recounted in our second virtual Passover celebration this year, God gave the Israelites many choices once they were free.
They also experienced the consequences of their choices.
While God forgave many bad choices, a few came with extreme consequences. For example, God destroyed Aaron’s sons by fire.
The pandemic diminished our freedoms
During this past year many of us have questioned the quality of our freedoms.
A year ago, authorities ordered us to sequester at home except when shopping for groceries and other essentials. Some just had their groceries delivered and rarely left their homes.
Buildings closed to the public, including our beloved synagogue.
The State of Indiana initiated a mask mandate.
Yet, many chose to ignore the mandate or wore their masks improperly. Often, people ignored social distancing.
As a result, many became ill and died.
Beware the after-effects
Now, as the state lifts restrictions and day-to-day freedoms gradually return, what responsibilities do we hold toward others?
As we all know, the COVID-19 virus that caused this pandemic is unpredictable. Even though we may have been vaccinated — and I hope you have received your vaccinations or will do so soon — risk remains.
Like the Israelites of old, when we make bad choices, serious after-effects may follow.
Yes, we are free to go mask-less in places that lack mask requirements. However, will not wearing a mask put us and others at risk?
Consider how freedom carries consequences.
Like the Israelites of old, we’ve learned that when we make bad choices, serious after-effects may follow.
What choices will you make to continue to protect yourself and others, to avoid bad consequences?
And now for some hope
However, freedom also brings hope.
As more are vaccinated and most continue mask up, we can hope that life before too long will return to something called normal.
As a congregation, we hope that by September we will be back in our building for the High Holy Days.
Let’s all do our part to protect ourselves and others, so we can be free once again, to worship together in person.