Not that long ago the word ‘quarantine’ was a regular feature of our international lives. Originating in Italian, in Venice, incoming ships had to keep their crew on board for 40 days (quarantina) before disembarking, to ensure that any diseases were not transmitted to the local population. This week we read a double Parsha, Tazria-Metzora, the second of which also prescribes quarantine for certain illnesses. A by-product of being removed from society for a requisite time, is that it affords a wonderful opportunity to conduct a personal retreat. This can be a time for introspection, self-analysis, gaining perspective. In other words, even without an enforced quarantine, we should conduct periodic removal from society to have a good look at ourselves and the world. Today’s vacations don’t cut it. Peppered with daily outings and exotic epicurean temptations, it is well-nigh impossible to relax the mind and heart so that a stillness conducive to examination of self and life can result. So make a specific plan for your retreat. Take a few days off in a quiet secluded setting, preferably in nature, and ‘self-quarantine’. Make your life meaningful by giving it direction, depth and purpose. You are an essential cog in the wheel of creation. Play your role effectively. All of our lives depend on your success.