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The corona epidemic from a Jewish perspective

Shmuel Aharon Brodman - 18 March 2020

Munich, 22nd Adar 5780, 18th March 2020

To my dear friends of Christians for Israel,

Everyone recognizes that this period is special. After all, there is hardly any person in the world whose lives have not changed in some way because of the corona epidemic. The results of this medical crisis are still unknown, and so the fight against the virus is being waged in various forms.

Many people feel helpless. They only now begin to realize that the world is ruled by the Creator. He shows us right now that he is the true ruler of our lives.

What message does he want to teach us? We do not know the accounts of heaven. We do not know how and why we got this epidemic which is so frightening and undermines all the normalcy of the world. But one thing is clear: although the modern world is so technologically successful and scientifically soaring, the world of medicine and science is also almost helpless and we have nothing left to do now but to refer our hearts and eyes in prayer to Go-d.

This is an opportunity to strengthen our confidence in the Creator of the world, who is sending us a clear message that everything that happens to us is in his hand. Let us also note that this is a rare opportunity: all the energies of all countries are devoted to the war against one common enemy. This has hardly happened in recent years: the whole world is united against the Corona. This unity has important lessons and messages.

The world can, if only there is a will, work together. There are disagreements, but there are no differences at heart.

Beyond that, there is a clear message here that our fate is hardly in our hands. There is a supreme leader in the world who is the Almighty. So let us not trust too much in the “power and might of my own hand that made all this plenty for me” because everything is in the hands of heaven.

Each community and its culture treat this issue differently. As believers, we know that whenever we have questions we must turn to our sacred teachings. As always, we find different clues.

In the Bible we find that there was an epidemic while Korach and his men were rebelling against Moshe and Aaron. The plague stopped only after Aaron offered the incense. That is why some people have adopted the custom to recite the biblical verses concerning the incense to combat Corona.

During the reign of King David in Jerusalem there was an epidemic in which a hundred people died. King David then enacted the law that everyone should bless Go-d with a hundred blessings per day and thus the epidemic was stopped. Therefore some have begun to observe the 100 blessings a day program.

Others strengthened the Charity for the poor. It is also known that Psalm 91 has the power to help against an epidemic.

The great scholar Rabbi Chaim Kaniewsky from Bnei Brak encourages everyone to recite Psalm 70 before going to sleep every evening.

As always, it is very easy to find points to correct in others, but it is much more difficult for any individual to make their own account. Everyone should think carefully about what he needs to improve in his own behavior, what he could improve. When we do this we show that we have understood the wake-up-call from Go-d. Then Go-d will hopefully take the virus away from us.

Rabbis all over the world call to obey all instructions of the authorities. They also called out to continue to keep the commandments alongside these instructions. The study of Torah takes place by means of a joint study without human gatherings. Also weddings are hold only at private houses with the minimum amount of people present.

150 years ago the famous Rabbi Chaim Palagi lived in Turkey. He writes that in times of an epidemic there are three important rules: Be optimistic! Don’t be sad! Don’t get angry! When we do all this, please G-od we will be strong enough to overcome these difficult times.

I bless all of us that we should be strengthened by uniting in the love of one another, and by improving our actions in all spheres. When all of this will pass we shall be much stronger and better people, in a much better world

I take this opportunity to thank Christians for Israel for their financial support for so many years and their ongoing support and the love and brotherhood they show to the Jewish people in Israel and in the Ukraine. We appreciate and cherish your friendship.

 

Yours gratefully,

Shmuel Aharon Brodman,
Chief Rabbi of Munich and Bavaria

Savyon Center, Israel

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Corona

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