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Opinion: ‘Angels’ at our table and by our sides

PUBLISHED: 08:30 11 April 2020

Rabbi David Hulbert is seeing the effects of Covid-19.

Rabbi David Hulbert is seeing the effects of Covid-19.

Archant

Two Saturdays ago, a member of my synagogue died of Covid-19.

How sad that at his funeral there will be only two people: me, and my friend in the coffin. Even sadder that the man’s children will not be with us at the cemetery.

But saddest of all that they were not with their father in hospital to say their last goodbyes.

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Yet they will not be alone. Internet technology allows us to broadcast the funeral to hundreds – invisible, silent and compassionate watchers, surrounding us like a host of angels.

This Thursday is the first day of Passover, and Easter will be celebrated this Sunday. Normally, such joyful family festivals. How sad that this year there will be only two at our Passover meal – myself and my wife. Yet we will not be alone.

Again, magical technology will allow us to share the ritual meal with our family - invisible presences, like angels at our table. As part of the ritual meal, Jewish people recount the Ten Plagues that the Almighty visited upon Egypt. As each plague is named, a drop of red wine is spilled onto the white tablecloth, bringing to mind the suffering of the mostly blameless Egyptians. Disease epidemics infecting whole populations have featured regularly, throughout human history.

Political and religious leaders, nurses and doctors do what they can, but without a simple cure our lives hang in the balance; our futures lie in God’s hands.

Nearly 3,000 years ago, King David expressed his heartfelt private prayers for healing in Psalm 39. If you can, find this psalm in a Bible and pray with King David yourself.


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