A Viral Virus
The situation that the world
is in can certainly increase our Emuna. How a world in this day and age with
all its advances can be paralyzed in such a short time with a small invisible
force clearly points to Hashem. Many of the things we took for granted—including
schools, Shuls, shopping, celebrating together, food, jobs, global stability—were
This should push us to
connect with Hashem. Indeed, it has been pointed out that קוראנא can be a contraction of קורא נא, Hashem is saying please
call out to me. We must daven and come closer to Hashem through this. We must
daven for the coronavirus to end and the sick to be healed.
There are many that are in
isolation. Although this may be very difficult, one must serve Hashem even in
such a situation. In fact, בדד,
alone, isolation is an acronym for בכל דרכיך דעהו,
in all your ways know Him, as we must serve Hashem to the best of our ability
in the situation we find ourselves in.
Many people have been
stricken with fear and panic
over the coronavirus.
To remove the worry and panic we must believe in Hashem. This is hinted to in
the word דאגה, worry which has the first five letters of the Alef-Beis except
for a ב—בטחון. One who trusts in Hashem doesn’t worry.
We also must realize that no one can get sick if Hashem doesn’t will it. Of course
one must take the proper health precautions, but one must also put his efforts
into davening and asking assistance from Hashem, as in אם ה' לא ישמר עיר שוא שקד שומר, if Hashem will not guard the city, in
vain is the watchman vigilant.
The truth is that fear can
actually bring the object of the fear upon the person. The Arvei Nachal
(1755-1813) remarks that fear is like a magnet that attracts metal. It has the
ability to direct the object of a person’s fear toward that person. That is the
nature of fear: it draws forth the object of a person’s dread and makes it
real. A 52-year-old woman complained of ankle
pain from which she had been suffering for two years. When she was 19,
she broke her ankle and required open-reduction and internal-fixation surgery.
The orthopedic surgeon told her that when she will be 50, she would probably
have arthritis. She spent the middle years of her life expecting to get
arthritis when she was 50, and sure enough, as soon as she reached that age,
she experienced the ankle pains!
The Ben Yehoyada
tells of a parable told by doctors of an epidemic in a large town where before the
virus spread, a man met the Malach in charge of the epidemic and asked how many
people he wants to take? The Malach answered 5,000. In the end 15,000 people
died. When the man met the Malach again, he asked him why he lied since 15,000
died and not 5,000. The Malach explained that he didn’t lie as he took 5,000 people.
The remaining 10,000 that died brought the sickness upon themselves because of
their fear and panic of the sickness going around.
says רוח איש יכלכל מחלהו..., a man’s spirit
will sustain him in his sickness but who can support a broken spirit. Rashi explains that one who
accepts what comes upon him with happiness and love and doesn’t put worry in
his heart, his body will be able to overcome the illness. It has been pointed
out that the Targum on מחלהו,
sickness is כרהניה, which
sounds eerily similar to the word Corona.
One who thinks positive
thoughts can be affected in a positive way. Late one Friday night a woman was
walking home from the hospital after visiting her ill sister. The area was
deserted and far from any main thoroughfare, causing her to experience a sense
of fear. She began to recite מימיני מיכאל
ומשמאלי גבריאל ומלפני אוריאל ומאחורי רפאל...,
may Michael be at my right, Gavriel at my left, Uriel before me, and Rafael
behind me (different Malachim). She continued to say this again and again until
she was calm and secure, feeling that nothing would happen to her. After she had
been walking for about half an hour, two police officers exited a van and
rushed to a nearby bush, dragging the man behind it to their vehicle. The man
was an escaped convict for whom the police had been searching. Apparently this
convict had been following her for a while and was noticed by someone who
called the police. When asked why he hadn’t assaulted the woman he was
following, he replied that suddenly there were four men walking with her, and
he was waiting for them to leave. By reminding herself that protective angels
were watching over her, the woman was saved. So we should have thoughts that
Hashem is protecting us from the coronavirus and for those who are infected
they should have thoughts that Hashem will heal them.
One piece of advice given to
help with this situation is not to follow the news too much. To be up to date
on how many more people died or are infected just increases the fear and panic.
We should also surround ourselves and talk to those who will make us feel good
and not live with fear since we are affected by those whom we are in contact
with. One who lives in an environment where fear permeates the air can easily be
“infected” by that.
We should also find comfort
in the tremendous greatness of our people. So much Chessed has been performed. One
example is the many separate Megila readings that were arranged on Purim so
that the people in isolation could fulfill this Mitzva. Another example is weddings
that suddenly could only have minimal attendance have had Simcha with such a
higher quality where people truly gave of their “soul.”
Rabbi Alt merited to learn under the tutelage of R’ Mordechai Friedlander
Ztz”l for close to five years. He received Semicha from R’ Zalman Nechemia
Goldberg. Rabbi Alt has written on numerous topics for various websites and
publications. He lives with his wife and family in a suburb of Yerushalayim
where he studies, writes and teaches. The author is passionate about teaching
Jews of all levels of observance.
Baba Kamma 60b, s.v. דבר בעיר.