Coronavirus: A Modern Leprosy

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “Coronavirus: A Modern Leprosy.”

What an interesting time this week during the coronavirus for my bar-mitzvah parshas of Tazria and Metzora, where we learn about how to handle someone with the plague of leprosy…What’s fascinating though for our times is that right here in the Torah, long before medical science understood germs, washing of hands, and disinfectants, we have the first instruction on quarantining someone who is sick. The person with leprosy is deemed impure and is put outside the camp in quarantine, repeatedly checked (e.g. tested) by the Kohen, until they are healed, at which time they are purified before being allowed back in. What we don’t see with leprosy is that the whole community is put in a state of quasi quarantine as we are doing now globally with the coronavirus.


In the end, I see this coronavirus blowing up with some people forever anxious and germophobic and others becoming complacent and careless about the whole thing. Either way there will be more sick and dying people, as well as anger at the system that over time repeatedly failed us. This week’s parsha is a good reminder to go back to the ultimate wisdom of the Torah and read again how we handle the leper and manage with a thoughtful risk-based management approach and an eye on the ultimate purity—physically and spiritually—of the individual and the community.

(Free Photo via Pixabay)

Iran Had Better Look To The Haggadah

On Passover, we recite the Haggadah to remember how G-d redeemed us from being slaves in Egypt. 


At the Seder, many also recite the Hatikvah–the Israeli National Anthem–to remember that our suffering and redemption didn’t end almost 3,500 years ago in the Exodus from Egypt, but has continued to this very day post Holocaust with the establishment of the modern-day State of Israel. 


One thing that I will tell you is that if Slavery in Egypt and all the anti-Semitism, Inquisitions, Pogroms, Expulsions, and the Holocaust taught us anything is that:


– One, our faith in G-d Almighty and his love and promised redemption for us will never cease, and 


– Two, that we will never, ever, go like sheep to the slaughter again.


Already in 1981 and 2007, with the help of Hashem, Israel rid the world of the scourge of nuclear weapons of destruction from the hands of tyrannical Middle Eastern dictatorships in both Iraq and Syria. 


And I would venture to say that neither of these enemies were as completely hateful, ruthless, and vowed to Israel’s destruction as Iran is today. 


In the Haggadah we recall the eternal fight of good over evil:

“For not only one enemy has tried to destroy us, but in every generation, nations have tried to destroy us, but the Holy One, blessed be He, always saves us from their hands.”


As sure as we celebrate Passover today, I am confident that G-d will once again make a tremendous miracle and save us from the hands of the maniacal mullahs in Iran who pose an existential threat to the Israelites today. 


Israel’s Operation Babylon and Operation Orchard in Iraq and Syria were successful actions in and of themselves, but they were also practice runs for what is yet to come to the spinning centrifuges in Axis of Evil, Iran. 


G-d’s promise to Abraham to bless the Israelites and give them the Holy Land–whether by the ten plagues in Egypt or the Allied victory over Adolf Hitler–redemption will soon be coming again delivered compliments of the heroic Israeli Defense Forces.  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)