Monday, February 10, 2020

A Casual Trip to The Apple Store

A casual trip to the Apple store to purchase a new iPhone or iPad may not be so simple anymore. The unthinkable has occurred, and nobody seems to have an idea about a clear way out of this. The Coronavirus is a new reality, and its ripple effects are being felt near and far. The rapid spread of the virus and the disruption it has caused is the latest test of Apple’s dependence on the world’s most populous nation as a manufacturing base for most of the iPhones, iPads, and Macs sold world-wide. Not only has your favorite Apple product been assembled and manufactured in China, but many of the parts for it are as well. The company has said it will close all of its stores, corporate offices and manufacturing operations in China for the foreseeable future. The company, which employs 10,000 people in China, is also contending with work stoppages by factories that produce components for the products it sells around the world. This is just but a small example of the virus that is wreaking havoc on the global economy. Not to mention the public health crisis in which hundreds of people have succumbed to the disease. Major governments, physicians, and scientists are working around the clock to contain the virus with limited success. The virus appears to have originated in China from a Wuhan seafood market where wild animals, including marmots, birds, rabbits, bats, and snakes, are traded illegally.

I find it uncanny that this is occurring during the weeks that we read the Torah portion of another mighty superpower in Ancient Egypt brought to its knees by the plagues that G-d inflicted upon the population. Then the population refused to recognize the mighty hand of G-d until it was handed a devastating blow. I am not close to being a prophet, but I believe that a mandatory time for reflection is incumbent upon one and all. The rabbis have taught us that we live in a time of Hester Panim or the Hidden Face. That means that we are not afforded the luxury of a prophet like Moses in our lifetime. Anyone professing that they know the reason with certainty as to the reason for these events should be considered suspect. One of the key lessons from the plagues in Egypt was that humanity was reminded that there is an Almighty that created not only this world but also one that manages global affairs. Throughout the millennia, Man has, on occasion, needed to be reminded that we are not in total control, and sometimes that experience is humbling and painful. This seems to be one of these occasions. In these times, all of us need to reflect on this and engage in prayer that the Almighty has compassion on humanity and brings an end to this devastating plague.

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