Saturday, January 23, 2021

Since when is “above and beyond” a bad thing? I volunteer as Passaic County chair of a defense department activity, Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve. ESGR gives an “Above and Beyond” award to employers who have been especially helpful to their citizen soldiers.

In school and at work we strive to go above and beyond. As managers we recognize those who go above and beyond.

Yet today it seems many do not wish to go above and beyond to protect others. They need to merely err on the side of caution when it comes to COVID. Instead we see half a dozen men standing atop each other outside of shul holding their masks in hand: “It’s OK, we’re outside.” Similarly, indoors: “It’s only 15 minutes,” “I don’t have to wear a mask because ___.”

Consider the person in their 70s or 80s who may have underlying conditions and now fears walking to shul, or who can’t see his/her grandchildren because of school-related quarantine issues.


We Jews are known for our tzedakah and acts of chesed; however, some people who would reach deep into their pockets to aid the poor etc. find that wearing or not wearing a mask is a political statement rather than a medical/scientific decision, and they pontificate accordingly. It seems that, to some, mask wearing is above and beyond what they are willing to do.

We wrestle with maykil and machmir in many aspects of our daily Jewish lives. Let’s go machmir—err on the side of caution re: COVID.

Carl A. Singer, Ph.D.
Colonel, U.S. Army Retired