The La Times recently interviewed a woman in Missouri who decided against receiving the Covid vaccine. She explained why she and her friends decided against vaccination, saying: “the stronger someone’s trust is in the Lord, the least likely they are to want the vaccine or feel that it’s necessary.”
When I read this quote, I realized that inaccurate theology can be fatal. If she contracts Covid, the underlying cause of her illness would be a misunderstanding of how God operates in the world.
“Behold I set before today a blessing and a curse…” This verse teaches that God presents options for us, between life and death, blessings and curses. We can’t merely sit back passively and assume that everything will be fine. We must actively choose between these options.
This idea is echoed in an old story, recounted by Rabbi Edward Feinstein in Tough Questions Jews Ask: “A man who goes up to heaven at the end of his life. He stands before the throne of God. The man looks up at God and says, “You know, I’ve very angry at You! Can’t You see that the world You created is filled with suffering and ugliness and destruction? Why don’t You do something to fix the world’s mess?
God looks down at the man, and in a gentle voice says, “I did do something. I sent you.”
In this time of uncertainty, may we do everything in our power to “choose life,” so that we and our descendants may live.