Light a Candle and Remember

A Reflection on One Year of the Global Covid-19 Pandemic

On March 11, 2020, the Director General of the World Health Organization declared, “We have therefore made the assessment that COVID-19 can be characterized as a pandemic.” Light a candle and remember.

 Tomorrow evening, March 11, 2021 President Joseph Biden will address our nation on the occasion of this grim anniversary. Light a candle and remember.

As of today, more that 525,000 Americans have died of Covid-19. Worldwide, more than 2.6 million people have perished. Zachor – Remember. Honor memories of loved ones and friends. Reflect on their legacies. Light a candle and remember.

The deaths of loved ones and friends represent our greatest losses. But we have suffered other losses… hugs and kisses and the warmth of smiles and afternoon excursions and trips to the beach and the mountains and educational opportunities… lots and lots of educational opportunities and… Light a candle and remember.

Words alone can never fully express our gratitude to all the caring people – medical personnel, those who work alongside them in hospitals, first responders and other public servants – who have risked their own health for the sake of others’ well-being. Light a candle and remember.

“Ner Adonai nishmat adam” – “The soul of each individual is the light of God” (Proverbs 20:27). In our tradition, as in other faith traditions, light is a symbol of God’s presence. That divine light illuminates the beauty of each of our souls. Some of us are thankful for the protective vaccinations we have received. Others among us anxiously look forward to their turn to be vaccinated. As, God-willing, hope and optimism take greater hold, let each of us use the divine light to genuinely illuminate our souls. Light a candle and remember.

Light a candle and act.

Rabbi Neil Sandler