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This week’s Torah portion contains the last two plagues and the Exodus; freedom from Pharaoh’s slavery. Right now in the United States, a Covid-19 plague has killed, according to the New York Times, 408,130 people. I am writing this column on January 21, 2021, and a year ago, January 20, 2020, the first case of Covid-19 was reported in the United States.
But the Torah portion comes at an auspicious time. The New York Times reports that around three percent (slightly more than 12 million people) of the United States population (around 330 million people) have been vaccinated, and slowly but surely we are being freed from Covid-19’s slavery. More slowly than we would like, but the Ten Plagues lasted, according to the Mishnah (Ediyot 2:10), one year.
The plague of Covid-19 has already lasted one year and we have been locked inside all of that time. March 14, 2o2o was the last time we assembled in the sanctuary. However, we Jews have patience. It took us 40 years to reach Canaan. So, what does a few more weeks or even months matter? The end is in sight.
When you get the vaccine, say Shehecheyanu:
Blessed are You Lord our God, Ruler of the Universe who has given us life, sustained us, and allowed us to reach this day.