Israel’s most highly respected rabbi, Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, has set forth several Torah-based recommendations to avoid catching the notorious Corona-Virus.
The list of steps to avoid catching the virus are as follows:
- Don’t slander or speak loshon hara (evil tongue) about your fellow man. (This commandment doesn’t apply to evil people.) The rabbi sites what the Jewish sage Reish Lakhish “The speaker of loshon-hara (slander) separated a man from his wife – he should be quarantined.”
- Strengthen oneself with humility
- Mevater (putting someone else’s needs before their own)
It should be noted that several rabbis have compared Corona-Virus to the Biblical plague of leprosy – which was caused by slander according to the Bible.
As Rabbi Shlomo Riskin explains:
Indeed, the Hebrew word metzora comprises two smaller words, “motzi ra,” one who speaks slander, evil things about others. The Talmud expresses this in a clear and succinct fashion (B.T. Arachin 15b).
“Resh Lakish said, what is the meaning of the verse ‘this shall be the Torah of the Metzora, this shall be the Torah of the one who expresses slander.’ What is unique about the metzora that the Torah ordains that ‘he shall dwell in solitude’? He (through his gossipy talk) divided a man from his wife, an individual from his friend; therefore the Torah ordains “isolated shall be his dwelling place.”
And so it was the task of the kohen-priest to warn the householders: If the walls of your home become discolored, repent of the slander you spoke around the table, and the walls will return to their natural colors; if the garments you wear become discolored, repent of the slander you spoke in public and then regain your garments; if your own skin becomes discolored, repent of every tale you told about someone else, whether it was true, but none of the business of your audience (rechilut); whether it was true but not complimentary to the perpetrator (lashon hara); and especially if it was not true and also painted a negative portrait of the individual you were discussing (motzi shem ra).
Yeranen Yaakov, a Geula (redemption) blogger, noted several sources that connected the novel coronavirus to the Biblical plague of tzara’at, usually translated as leprosy. Rabbi Yaakov Ades, a well-known mystic, explained that the coronavirus can be learned from verses in Leviticus.
As for the person with a leprous affection, his clothes shall be rent, his head shall be left bare, and he shall cover over his upper lip; and he shall call out, “Unclean! Unclean!”All the days wherein the plague is in him he shall be unclean; he is unclean; he shall dwell alone; without the camp shall his dwelling be. Leviticus 13:45-46
“[Rabbi Ades] says that the Torah calls someone with Tzara’at [leprosy] a צרוע [Tzarua] and says that בדד ישב (he shall dwell alone) similar to the בידוד (quarantine) that suspected coronavirus victims must endure,” Yeranen Yaakov explained.
“This is not to say, God forbid, that anyone who has coronavirus is like a leper,” Rabbi Ades continued. “But he certainly needs to become stronger in these seven points.”
Like the other rabbis, Rabbi Ades suggests improving in the seven things Jewish tradition (Talmud Erchin 16:a) maintains cause the Biblical disease of Tzara’at :
- Evil speech
- Swearing falsely
Rabbi Ades noted that the gematria (Hebrew numerology) of צרוע (leper) is 366. If you add one for the actual word (an accepted method in Gematria) the sum equals 367, the gematria of קורונה (corona). Like the other rabbis, Rabbi Ades suggests improving in the seven things Jewish tradition maintains cause the Biblical disease of Tzara’at :
The blog then cited Rabbi Yekutie Fish, an expert in Jewish mysticism who blogs under the title Sod HaChashmal. Rabbi Fish noted that the name corona hints at the kabbalistic emanation known as ‘yesod,’ indicating that the disease comes as a result of a blemishing of this emanation usually associated with sexual sins. Rabbi Fish explained that children under the age of nine are not being affected by the coronavirus because they cannot sin in this respect.
Rabbi Fish also noted that a midrash called Hechalot Rbbati describes Rome getting Tzara’at for 6 months at the end -of–days.
The Talmud (Sanhedrin 97a) says that Mashiah will only come when the entire leadership of the world turns over to apostasy. The proof for this is the verse that talks about how if the tzara’at covers a person’s entire body, he is rendered ritually pure.
“It’s difficult to imagine the entire malchut turning to apostasy with no rebuke,” Yeranen Yaakov wrote. “If it means that no one will accept rebuke, then that’s much easier to understand as that has already happened. However, if it means that no one will be able to give rebuke, then that has not yet occurred, as we do have some rabbis who can give rebuke. However, when no one is able to go to school or synagogues due to the coronavirus, one can understand the idea of no one being able to give rebuke. When no one can accept or give rebuke, then we indeed at our nadir and are rendered…Tahor (pure).”