Mar 19, 2020  By Yossi Kahana  Category: Education,

Coronavirus, from a Jewish perspective: When it comes to good deeds, just do it

The global coronavirus pandemic has really thrown people for a loop. Many of us feel all sense of certainty is gone. What will happen next? We don't know. Our experts don't know. Our leaders don't know. Only G-d knows. So, what we can do? Keep calm, trust G-d, and carry on. Think good and it will be good. Do good deeds, support one another, take every precaution advised by health authorities.

Wash your hands vigorously for at least 20 seconds several times a day, and every time you do, remember whose hands you are in.
In this week’s Torah portion Vayakhel, Moses relays G-d's command that the Israelites donate materials for the construction of the Mishkan. All kinds of items were needed: metals (gold, silver and copper); fabrics and material (wool, linen and skins); wood, oil, spices, and precious stones.

As soon as Moses finished talking, the people began collecting items to donate. The people were so happy to contribute that they brought everything they had. They brought so much that Moses had to tell them to stop.

Next, the Torah describes the workers who volunteered to build the Mishkan as "every man whose heart inspired him." These Israelites had absolutely no experience in this type of unique construction. What then made them qualified to carry it forth? The answer: Their "hearts inspired them." In other words, they had a desire. They were eager and willing to do it. And by virtue of this desire and eagerness, they became qualified and rose to the occasion.

We're taught that the most essential ingredient is not contemplation or analysis, but a willingness to act. When we’re presented with an opportunity to do a mitzvah, to become more religiously observant or to get involved in a worthwhile endeavor, let us lighten up a bit on the philosophical introspection and self-examination and "Just do it!" At JNF, our inspirational leaders and donors have once again proven their "willingness to act."

Earlier this week, JNF definitively acted and immediately released $500,000 from the JNF endowment to charter an El Al flight and bring home close to 300 Alexander Muss High School in Israel students. Our leaders and donors know how to move others to join them.  They don’t just talk about what they want to do, or how things can be done better. They take action and make things happen, even if it is something they have not done before. This is what makes our leadership and donors so special. JNF's leaders and donors join task forces, become Makor members, and host parlor meetings. They travel to Israel to see JNF’s work and meet with our affiliates; and They do so much more. This is a certainty on which we can depend.

Yossi is a director of JNF Task Force on Disabilities.