Mutual obligation, the value that protects us

Last week when the full threatening force of the Covid-19 pandemic spawned governments around the world to invoke preventative medico-legal measures, the President of the State of Israel, Reuven Rivlin sent a video message specifically directed at the Jewish communities around the world. The message was one of prayers and wishes for health and wellbeing.

Rivlin is Israel’s 10th president. He was born in Jerusalem and stems from a family with multi-generational roots in the city that can be traced back more than two centuries. He is regarded by nearly one and all in Israel as a force for compassion, goodness, tolerance, benevolence and morality.

The message is ten days old, but it is also, in truth, timeless.

The following is the full text of President Rivlin’s remarks:

“My brothers and sisters, members of the global Jewish community. The whole world is, right now, in a difficult time of fear and confusion because of the corona crisis which has turned all our lives upside down and which has claimed lives. Now is the time when every country is calling out to its citizens to deal with the dangers together.

“But at this difficult time, we here in Israel think of another ‘together’ that we are part of, and look to you, our brothers and sisters of the global Jewish community. Your welfare and ours are inextricably linked. With every update on the spread of the virus that we hear from around the world, we also think of you, our family abroad and pray you are staying strong, united, healthy and well.

“The People of Israel, over the years, has managed to overcome danger and crisis and to survive, sometimes against all odds, thanks to the value we place on community and mutual responsibility which are embedded in our Jewish tradition. These are times when we must use this tradition and the values we were given to take care of ourselves while following the instructions, and to take care of others, particularly the elderly who live amongst us – in our buildings, communities and neighborhoods – those at highest risk not just of getting sick, but of finding themselves isolated and without supplies.

“Our sense of mutual obligation is the fundamental value that has protected us. This is the Jewish spirit, our spirit, and if we maintain it, it will take care of us. My dear ones, at this difficult time, when the special excitement of preparations for the Pesach holiday gives way to fear and anxiety, we, the people that dwells in Zion embrace you and send our prayers for your welfare and your good health.

“He who makes peace in the highest, may he bring peace to us and to all Israel and to all peoples of the world. God bless you and keep you healthy. Be strong and of good courage.”


Of course, the values of which President Rivlin spoke and the warmth, concern and compassion that are the living manifestations of those values, are the very ones our children learn in their respective Jewish schools.


To view President Rivlin’s video message, visit:


Shabbat shalom.

Stay safe. Be well. Stay well.


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