In this week's parasha a group of Jews ask "why should we be deprived?". This question was asked by those who were unable to bring the Passover offering on time as they were deemed ritually impure. In response, a second Passover (Pesach Sheni) is instituted. G‑d also instructs Moses on the procedures for Israel’s journeys and encampments in the desert, and the people's journey from Mount Sinai, where they had been camped for nearly a year. These scenarios draw some interesting parallels to our own lives today. Many of us have had to skip out on many important events in our lives due to the pandemic. Furthermore, much like the Jews at Sinai, the majority of us have been 'camping' in Hong Kong for the last year. We may be tempted to ask the same question, "why should we be deprived?". The answer is revealed later in the parasha.
The parasha goes on to discuss how the people of Israel are dissatisfied with their “bread from heaven” (the manna), and demand that Moses supply them with meat. Miriam speaks negatively of Moses, and is punished with leprosy; Moses prays for her healing, and the entire community waits seven days for her recovery. What this sequence of events reveals to us is quite interesting. Our lives today present a deceptive illusion. Much like manna, everything in this 'new world' may appear bland and repetitive. That said, we must take it upon ourselves to make something great out of this apparent mundanity.
The story of Miriam shows us that nobody, not even those in 'powerful' places, such as Miriam, can escape the 'pandemic' of those times or the pandemic of today. Returning to the original question, "why should we be deprived?". The parasha shows us that the deprivation in our lives today is exactly like manna. It is what we make of it. Thinking positively lets us overcome these inconveniences, and allows us to make the best out of even the most challenging situations. As we enter exam week, let's rise to our challenges and approach them positively.
Dan, Grade 11