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Thursday, March 12, 2020

Coronavirus and Tzara'at

Rav Ya'akov Ades Shlit"a pointed out a few days ago that coronavirus is like Tzara'at.  He explained that we learn this from the verses:

מה  וְהַצָּרוּעַ אֲשֶׁר-בּוֹ הַנֶּגַע, בְּגָדָיו יִהְיוּ פְרֻמִים וְרֹאשׁוֹ יִהְיֶה פָרוּעַ, וְעַל-שָׂפָם, יַעְטֶה; וְטָמֵא טָמֵא, יִקְרָא.45 And the leper in whom the plague is, his clothes shall be rent, and the hair of his head shall go loose, and he shall cover his upper lip, and shall cry: 'Unclean, unclean.'
מו  כָּל-יְמֵי אֲשֶׁר הַנֶּגַע בּוֹ, יִטְמָא--טָמֵא הוּא:  בָּדָד יֵשֵׁב, מִחוּץ לַמַּחֲנֶה מוֹשָׁבוֹ.  {ס}46 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. {S}

He says that the Torah calls someone with Tzara'at: a צרוע and says that בדד ישב (he shall dwell alone) similar to the בידוד (quarantine) that suspected coronavirus victims must endure.  He adds that the gematria of צרוע is 366.  If you add the Kollel, that's 367, the gematria of קורונה (corona).

Rav Ades suggests improving in the 7 things someone contracts Tzara'at for:

  • Theft
  • Immorality
  • Arrogance
  • Evil speech
  • Stinginess
  • Swearing falsely
  • Murder

Sod1820 has the following chart that compares coronavirus with Tzara'at in multiple ways:

2 Geula-related notes on this:

1) As I mentioned previously, Rav Fish brought down a Midrash that talks about Rome getting Tzara'at for 6 months at the End of Days.

2) The gemara says that Mashiah will only come when the entire Malchut turns over to apostasy. The prooftext for this is the verse that talks about how if the tzara'at covers a person's entire body, he is rendered Tahor.  It's difficult to imagine the entire malchut turning to apostasy with no rebuke.  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.


See also Rav Chaim Kanievsky Shlit"a's letter.


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