May 19, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Washing Our Hands of This Whole Thing

Welcome to Part 2 of my rant about what’s going on right now. Or maybe Part 4 or 5, depending on how you count these.

Last week, I bemoaned the fact that no one really knows what’s going on, and the rules of what we can and can’t do keep changing. Though the current policy seems to be that every day, we do a little bit more than the day before, and if we don’t get sick, we do a little bit more, and if we still don’t get sick, we do a little more, and if we do get sick, we’re like, “Oh, that’s too much; let’s back off one step. That was the step that did it.” And if enough people get sick, we’ll have to start the lockdown again from square one.

This whole lockdown situation has been going on way too long. I’ll tell you how I know: I know because you can actually buy toilet paper at the store again. Without a problem. All the weirdos have gotten bored of hoarding toilet paper. The shortage has been over for a while now. We’ve come full spool.

And don’t get me started on people. People are the worst.

I mean, I’m trying to follow the rules—such as they are—but everyone around me is breaking something different. Like some people are walking around with their noses hanging out of their masks. Is this a new rule change, or is this you? And why would this be the rule?

I try to be dan l’kaf zechus that they’re breathing exclusively through their mouths. They’re mouth breathers. And yes, they could tuck their nose in regardless, but they’re just wearing it this way because it looks amazing. And doesn’t at all draw attention to their nostrils or the length of their noses.

“Oh, I’m uncomfortable covering my nose.”

You’re uncomfortable? We’re all uncomfortable. Nobody asked for this. Yet we wear masks. And you know what gets us by? It’s easier to be uncomfortable when you know everyone else is uncomfortable.

I mean, when these people have to drive by somewhere that they’re supposed to stay in their cars—like a l’chaim or something—do they stick their noses out of a little crack in the window?

“It’s okay! I’m breathing through my mouth!”

Is it your breath that’s bothering you? Then wear two masks!

And then there are the people who don’t wear masks at all.

Here’s an idea: You know how some shuls have a bucket of yarmulkes near the door? I say that every shul now should have a bucket of masks. If you don’t bring one from home, you take one of those, and on the way out, you put it back and someone else takes it the next time.

That’ll teach ’em.

You don’t understand why you have to wear a mask if I’m also wearing a mask? Because this stuff is microscopic, and it might get through one covering. If you put two foods in an oven, you need to cover the milchig item and the fleishig item. And also not put them on top of each other. Learn Hilchos Kashrus.

“Yeah, but the doctors don’t know anything.”

That’s right; you do.

It’s just an excuse. Because this is not the doctors who don’t know anything telling us to be machmir. It’s that with most illnesses, we can be maikil to a certain extent because the doctors do know. If they don’t know, this is what we have to do.

It’s like if your kids ask you a shaylah—“Muttar or assur?”—and no rav is available to ask, you have to go with assur. And your kids will say, “Why should we listen to you? You don’t know.”

But we can only say muttar if we know.

It’s like if people were getting sick, and the rabbanim were trying to figure out what Hashem is trying to tell us—which aveirah is it that’s causing this? They don’t know. So they say, “Okay, everyone stop doing all aveiros.” And then, after a few months, people aren’t getting sick as much, so the rabbanim finally have the luxury of trying to figure out which aveirah it was, specifically. So they add one aveirah back every day, and if not that many people get sick, they add another aveirah back the next day. And if people do get sick, they pull back and know that that was the aveirah, and that was what Hashem was trying to tell us! So apparently so far, it wasn’t bein adam lachaveiro.

I get it; people want this thing to be over already, so they can go back to getting haircuts from other people and not washing their hands. So they’re pretending it’s over, because that will make the end come faster. Like in school, when pretending it’s already recess makes recess come faster. Right?

All these people are saying, “It’s over!”

Oh, yeah? Then why is it all the news talks about? I shouldn’t get my news from the news? I should get it from you? Mr. Nostrils?

You got bored of virus rules before the virus did? Then it beat you. Congratulations; you have a shorter attention span than a virus.

I wish that once and for all someone trustworthy—someone universally accepted—would explain one set of rules—one take on the entire thing with timetables for when each rule is getting changed and so on, without changing or contradicting themselves every two seconds. Except that if they did that, basically, it would just contradict everything else that came before and no one will accept it. Everyone will just get more confused. Unless it’s one large answer that includes all of the shitos and explains how they all work together as part of one larger narrative.

Is that too much to ask?


Mordechai Schmutter is a freelance writer and a humor columnist for Hamodia and other magazines. He has also published seven books and does stand-up comedy. You can contact him at [email protected].

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