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Asymptomatic. Blessed without knowing it

Friday, 21 August, 2020 - 4:57 am

By the Grace of G-d

Dear Friend,

Asymptomatic contagion.

I hadn’t heard much about it till the outbreak of this pandemic.

That a person could be a carrier of a Flu or Coronavirus without even knowing that they are carriers.

With Covid19 the reports are indicating that you can be totally asymptomatic and still be a carrier of the virus and unknowingly spread it further G-d forbid.

It’s a game changer.

It means that even though you feel fine, and you are the nicest person in the world, there is no guarantee that you are not going to spread anything negative to anyone else. Because it is possible that you are unknowingly carrying the errant microbe. 

This is the reason for the widespread insistence on masks, and distancing and the other mandated precautions. Because even if you think you feel fine, maybe G-d forbid there is something you are carrying that you simply don’t know about.

Enough of morbidity.

I am going to share two UPLIFTING stories, about life and health that I just witnessed and heard, which will reframe the concept of ‘asymptomatic carrier’ to the context of infinite blessing.

My hope is that  it will motivate you to engage in the hallowed Jewish tradition of wishing all your loved ones, friends and anyone you know, with a SHANA TOVA UMETUKAH to be inscribed and sealed for a GOOD and SWEET year.

Eliezer G. told me the following story:

Last Rosh Hashana, before embarking upon what they intended to be their last attempt at having a child, after all their previous unsuccessful attempts, he and his wife ate Rosh Hashana dinner at a friend’s home. The Rosh Hashana dinner host knew how hard Eliezer and his wife had tried to conceive, thus far unsuccessfully. To lift their spirits, he told them about his rabbinic grandfather who had blessed him and his wife with a child when it looked medically doubtful. A year later they had a baby. 

‘How did your grandfather bless you’? asked Eliezer on Rosh Hashana eve. ‘Like this’ responded the host and proceeded to put his two hands on the head of the couple and blessed them with a healthy baby. 

It is now less than a year later.

The host of the Rosh Hashana dinner is being honored to be the Sandek (one who holds the baby) for the upcoming Brit Milah of the baby boy who was born a short while ago to Eliezer and his wife.

Eliezer and his wife told me this story and stated to me emphatically that they are sure it was the Rosh Hashana hosts blessing that elicited G-d’s miraculous gift to them of their newborn son. 

MAZEL TOV!!!

Phenomenal story. 

It reminded me of a story I heard from a colleague. He said that a visiting couple had come to his Synagogue while on vacation after being married a few years and had not yet been blessed with children. He told the couple ‘I hope you will have a noisy home soon, with the noise of a child’. A few years later, they came to visit again. This time with a toddler in tow. ‘Thanks for your blessings’ they told my friend. 

My friend was truly astonished. He barely remembered even meeting the couple, let alone giving them a blessing. Yet, they were adamant that it was his heartfelt blessing that had elicited G-d’s gift to them of a child. 

I know why my friend was startled. He is a good Jew, but as a close friend, we both know that he is not particularly saintly. I think it is also safe to say that while the Rosh Hashana host may be a nice guy, benevolent, amicable, and son on, but unless he is a really hidden Tzadik, he does not come across as extraordinarily saintly. 

Its kind of counterintuitive. 

You wouldn’t think that these kinds of blessing have such power in Heaven. Traditionally that kind of ‘power’ is attributed to great spiritual giants. And indeed, our tradition is replete with miracle stories of the great Tzadikim, spiritual giants to whom G-d listens and fulfills their prayers and blessings. Click here for Tzadikim stories. 

Again, it is not that I am judging them but I am sure if you ask the host of the Rosh Hashana dinner last year or my colleague who I just mentioned whether they were ‘tzadikim’ or ‘miracles workers’ they would say emphatically that they are just average people. 

Asymptomatic.

But carriers. 

Of huge mammoth blessings. 

Waiting to be shared with others.

Imagine if they wouldn’t have shared those blessings?

My dear friend, can I ask you a question?

Do you know for sure that you are not carrying that kind of power around within you?

Don’t you think it’s worth the try?

Just in case?

We have entire societies wearing masks, just in case they are asymptomatic carriers of a virus.

We ought to be even more attentive to the possibly life-giving potential that we have at our disposal and share blessings with each other.

Actually, according to the Jewish tradition there is absolutely no doubt about the fact that we do have the power to unleash blessings in other people’s lives.

The Talmud (Megila 15, a) states ‘one should never regard the blessing of an ordinary person [hedyot] as light in your eyes’ i.e. everyone has a potential within them to bless others!

I remember learning this poignantly in my early teens. The Rebbe, during a 1983 Simchat Torah gathering told everybody that since they had the power to bless each other, they should make a point of doing so. 

Hashem wants us to bless each other!

Just as with physical parents, when the kids get along harmoniously and lovingly it brings the parents great joy and much nachas, similarly, it gives Almighty G-d the greatest pleasure when he sees us, His children blessing each other lovingly.

Moreover, the Rebbe suggested that Simchat Torah, that they use the verses of the ‘Priestly Blessing’ to bless each other in the deepest possible way. Part of our daily ritual is to say the verses of the Priestly Blessing in the morning blessings. It is a great time said the Rebbe to focus on blessing everyone in the entire world. Starting your day with blessing is a phenomenal thing.

This all becomes magnified as we approach Rosh Hashana.

It is a custom taught in the Shulchan Aruch that during this month of Elul we bless each other in anticipating of the New Year. Click here for a full list of the customs of this month.

May you be inscribed and sealed in the book of LIFE for a GOOD and SWEET year with the fulfillment of all of your hearts desired for the good.

Can I make a request of you?

Please bless me and my loved ones.

I believe that you are a carrier of the power of blessing.

You don’t feel it?

Hey, maybe you are asymptomatic. But you are definitely a carrier of BLESSING.

And bless anyone else you can!!!

Our world needs blessing!!! Loads of it!!!

Stay healthy and safe.

Shana Tova!

And may we all merit to have the coming of Mashiach NOW!!!

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Yosef Kantor

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