This Shabbat March 21st 2020, will be the first time in the 71 year history of the State of Israel which will not have transportation, theaters, sports, restaurants, beaches and malls open on the holy Shabbat – Everything is Shut!!!
Whats the first topic in this week's Torah Portion? Moshe assembles all of Israel and talks to them about keeping Shabbat!
Let's join together and keep this Shabbat like never before in history!
Since before the establishment of the State, the religious Jews of Eretz Yisrael have been begging for and working toward a Sabbath-observant State.
Yet even many religious Jews have been hesitant to try to hard to impose Sabbath restrictions on public transportation & public places.
It's often felt that people need to grow at their own pace. Imposing religious requirements on people who don't care can foster more opposition, which is detrimental — that's the feeling of many.
With the influx of non-Jews, especially from Russia & Africa, enforced Sabbath observance in public places & transportation feel like even more of an imposition. After all, non-Jews aren't supposed to even keep Shabbat — so what's the big deal? And how can we be so unfair to them?
And the Muslim & Christian populations would also be affected, although they continue their daily commerce in their own neighborhoods, not Jewish ones.
Transportation, theaters, sports, restaurants, beaches and malls — these are often run by Jews catering to a Jewish majority.
And yes, it's a chilul Hashem when a JEWISH country cannot even adhere to the 10 Commandments (of which Shabbat is one).
But this Shabbat, we in Eretz Yisrael will all experience what a public shut-down on Shabbat feels like.
Finally, it's possible.
Coronavirus & government-imposed quarantines do not respect your "freedom of religion" or your need to grow at your own pace.
They do not respect your "inalienable" right to do whatever the heck you want.
We could've had a national Shabbat shutdown in a more enjoyable way.
But many of us were too weak or too apathetic to push ourselves for it.
So it's happening this way.
May we all use this opportunity to observe Shabbat k'halacha (which includes a great deal of joy), and may Hashem protect us all from all harm, and may Hashem quickly & completely heal all the sick people.
And may we serve Hashem with so much simcha & dedication that we no longer need these unpleasant consequences.