One of the main health recommendations issued by the CDC is the importance of hand washing during this time. By divine providence, this past week's Parsha also features the Mitzva of hand washing - the Torah tells the Kohanim who served in the Temple that they must "wash their hands and feet with water, so that they will not die."  

  The Talmud explains that the hand washing in the Temple was a way of showing respect to the sacred space. Failure to wash hands and feet before serving in the Temple was tantamount to sacrilege.

Since we are all washing our hands so frequently nowadays, it's worth thinking about the spiritual meaning of hand washing. Our hands are the limbs through which we make the largest impact on the world around us. With our hands, we shape the world and achieve our mission of perfecting the world that G‑d created. On a metaphoric level, the hands represent the effort of the Jew to leave the sanctity and safety of a Jewish home and community and go out into the world to transform the entire world into a Divine Space.

The constant interaction with the profane and corrupt world is fraught with danger. The world was created by G‑d to conceal the Divine Presence. It hides G‑d's reality from us. When we seek to influence the world around us, we are exposed to influences that can potentially harm and corrupt us. That is where hand washing comes in.

Water is a metaphor for what the Rambam - Maimonides refers to as "the waters of pure (sacred) knowledge." The antidote to unholy influences in our lives is constant study of Torah. A Jew leads a very busy life. But, we must set aside time, several times a day, for a rinse in the waters of Torah. Throughout the day, carving out even a short time to immerse yourself in Torah thoughts helps make sure that you change the world without the world changing you!

During these days, when we spend more time washing our hands for 20 seconds in soap and water while humming "Happy Birthday" (twice), let's think about spending time washing our spiritual hands in spiritual water more frequently, as well.