Let’s not be afraid!

Several sources state that excessive fear of a certain occurrence can cause it to happen.

It is written (Iyov 3:25), “I was afraid and it happened. The matter that I was worried about came to me.” The Gemara (Brachos 60) states that this pasuk tells us that when a person is afraid, this can cause what he is afraid of to happen. ~ R’ Elimelech Biderman, Shlita

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Excessive Anxiety

The most prevalent illness of our generation is excessive anxiety…Anxiety flourishes where there is a lack of emunah.  Emunah decreases anxiety: “The Almighty is my source of salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid.” (Isaiah 12:2) ~ Shalhevesya

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The Angel didn’t Lie

The Gemara (Bava Kama 60:) states that when there is an epidemic, one should go into hiding. The Ben Ish Chai (Ben Yehoyada) adds that when there is a virus spreading around, it is better to run away.  Leaving town is not applicable right now, but the idea is very relevant to us.  Why does he recommend leaving town? Because when there is an epidemic going around, the fear and panic that ensues, harms the person, and actually brings him to be ill.  Because a person who fears the disease, becomes vulnerable to the disease.

He explains this with the following mashal:

Once, there was an epidemic in a large town.  Before the virus spread, a man met with the angel that was appointed over this plague and he asked him, “How many people are you planning to kill?”

“Five thousand,” He said.  However, in the end, fifteen thousand people died.

The man returned to the angel and said, “You told me that you were taking only five thousand.  Why did you lie?”

He replied, “I didn’t lie. I only took five thousand. The rest harmed themselves because of their fear.”

The Ben Yehoyada concludes, “Therefore, it is best to run far away, so you won’t hear and you won’t see the disease that’s spreading among people, because if you become afraid, you are at risk of being harmed.”

The first thing to know is not to panic! Of course we need to do whatever is necessary, to protect ourselves from harm.  Protecting ourselves is a mitzvah in the Torah, and we must do so because we follow the Torah! But why the fear? You are with Hashem, why are you afraid? R’ Elimelech Biderman, Shlita

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10 Uplifting Thoughts on the Coronavirus

  1. Realize that Hashem, our Father in Heaven, Who loves each and every one of us, is in the driver seat and is controlling all of this. Therefore, DON’T WORRY!  Anxiety about the virus is probably worse than the actual virus. It can literally make you sick.  Stop worrying so much!  Once you realize that Hashem is in control, there is absolutely no reason to have any anxiety.
  2. Realize that everything, not almost everything, but EVERYTHING that Hashem does is for the best. We might not know the reason yet, but we know for sure that Hashem brought this upon us for a reason, which is GOOD for us.   Therefore, let’s thank Hashem for this.  It’s going to work out for the best!  Thank you Hashem!
  3. Let’s also thank Hashem for the extra opportunities we have while we are at home. Of course we can list all the negatives and dwell on them, but that won’t do any good!   Let’s instead focus on the positives!   There are so many!  For instance, it’s nice to take a break from our typical daily grind.  So again, just focus on the positives.
  4. Let’s actually utilize this time for the best. Maybe in the past, you didn’t have the time to daven slowly, to learn too much Torah. Did you ever tell yourself “if only I had more time, I would do this and that?”   Well, now is the time!   Daven a little longer, learn about the davening and what you are actually saying.  Learn more Torah – any kind of Torah.  There are so many shiurim online, so many opportunities.  Learn the Daf, Tanach, this week’s parsha, halachos of Pesach, anything!  No more pushing it off.  Now is the time!
  5. It certainly feels like something major is happening – Maybe Moshiach is on his way! Therefore, let’s do everything we can to bring Moshiach.  Yearn for it more than ever before!  Realize that from the beginning of time, Hashem has been waiting for this day.  All of Jewish History has been leading up to this!  We are ready for it!  Believe that and let’s bring Moshiach!
  6. Do Teshuva!  There is no time like the present. We should be doing teshuva constantly, but certainly now is the time for self-reflection.  For instance, Hashem has temporarily taken away our opportunity to daven together in shul.  Why? Maybe let’s make a commitment for when we get back to shul to not talk to our friends during davening when we know very well that we should be talking only to Hashem.  Maybe some social distancing is in order.  Commit to making some changes.  Whatever it is you need to do teshuva for, say sorry to Hashem for those misdeeds, regret them and make a commitment to not do them going forward.  It is as simple as that!   Do it out of love for Hashem and your sins will turn into mitzvos!  Hashem makes it so easy for us.  Take advantage!
  7. Commit to not spreading lashon hara.  This is a big one, but Hashem does not give us halachos that we are incapable of following. We see from this virus how easily it could spread.  How it could start with one person and spread to the entire world! Maybe Hashem is teaching us a lesson.  Stop spreading lashon hara!  When we speak lashon hara, it allows the Satan to speak lashon hara about us for all of our other sins and then prosecute us for them.  This causes us to be punished!  It cannot be stressed enough how important this is!  If we would only refrain from speaking lashon hara, we would not be punished for our other sins!  Therefore, we need to stop spreading lashon hara now!
  8. Daven, Daven, Daven!  Say Tehillim.  Many rabbis have recommended adding two different “Avinu Malkeinu” prayers to our daily davening during this time period.  One is the Avinu Malkeinu following Shemona Esrei of Shachris and Mincha that everyone is familiar with.  The other Avinu Malkeinu can be found in the Yom Kippur machzor following Modim of the Chazzan’s repetition of Shemona Esrei.  It is a very appropriate prayer asking to end this plague and should be inserted during Shema Koleinu before “Ki Atah Shomeiah” in our Shemona Esrei.
  9. We know from the High Holiday Prayers that Teshuva, Tefilah and Tzedukah removes the evil decree. Therefore, besides Teshuva and Tefilah, let’s give more Tzedukah.  Baruch Hashem, even when we are stuck in our homes, we have so many opportunities online to give tzedukah.  Maybe sign up for dailygiving.org to ensure that you don’t go a day without giving at least a dollar to tzedukah.  There are so many worthy charities.   We have no idea of the effect giving charity has on each of us individually and globally.   It could literally tip the scale and change evil decrees for ourselves and the entire world.  Don’t wait!  Give and give generously.
  10. Lastly, even during this difficult time, you have the power to make yourself happy. It is a state of mind.  If need be, change it!  Force yourself to smile.  Listen to happy Jewish music.  Dance!  Do whatever is necessary to just be happy!  Then Be’ezrat Hashem, we will not only get through this, but we will come out of this in a better position than ever before.
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Torah Thoughts

Keeping your mind occupied with Torah thoughts frees you from worrisome thoughts. ~ Avos D’Reb Noson

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Don’t Worry; Be Happy

If a person will be happy simply because he’s a Yid, I guarantee that nothing bad will happen to him – neither beruchniyus nor begashmiyus (spiritually nor physically).” ~ Beis Aharon zt”l

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No Fear

A person with complete belief in the Almighty does not fear any external matter as he realizes nothing has its own intrinsic existence. Hence the only thing to fear is the Almighty ~ Beis Halevi

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