The coronavirus has reminded us of our limited power against forces greater than our own. Secure as we might feel on any given day, the reality is that there is no certainty, even with that day. Stuff happens. People fall. People get sick. And yet again we are reminded of how fragile life really is, and how we dare not take our days and years for granted.
And that is what the Unetane Tokef prayer that we recite on our holiest day wants to tell us. That we’re not given to know “who by fire” or “who by earthquake” or who by a powerful virus that set us all on edge, and for many, a virus that near-consumes our thinking and our behavior. Imagine that an Orthodox rabbi declared that, not only should we not kiss the mezuzah by our front door, but that it is a mitzvah, a sacred commandment, not to even touch the mezuzah, lest the virus be spread that way.
Yes, for all of us, life is precious. Not life in the distant abstract, and not life next week or next month. But ha-yom says the Torah….today…this day…this day is to be regarded as a precious and sacred opportunity to truly live and embrace the things that matter most. For the truth is that no matter how many years we are given, “life is too short to be too little.”
As we pray for health and well-being, may we bring much blessing to our lives this day.