Rabbi’s Reflections – Saturday, March 28, 2020
Shabbat Shalom *|FNAME|*,
The Bible speaks of pestilence. I could/should write a book on pestilence (except I’m sure the locusts would eat it). In case you have been living under a rock for the last 2 months, completely insulated from all outside communication, we are experiencing a pestilence in the form of a highly contagious virus, COVID-19 also called Coronavirus. Now I’m going to condense about 5 chapters of the as-yet-unwritten book into the next few paragraphs of this RR, and then wish you “Shabbat shalom.”
For those of you who are new to the RR, almost every Hebrew word has a 3 letter root called a “Shoresh.” Take the 3 letters, “Dalet-Bet-Resh” and you have the Shoresh for many words, including the Hebrew word for “Word.” Other meanings of the same 3 letters are “Speech,” which is the spoken word. Another translation is “thing,” which makes sense since “things” were spoken into existence. Read Genesis one and two and notice all of the places where “God said….” That same Shoresh is also the Shoresh of desert place or wilderness. Now read Exodus and see how God speaks to Moses in the wilderness (desert).
And the same Shoresh is used for “Pestilence.” God speaks through trials (pestilence). It up to us to listen to what He is saying. We want to fight the pestilence, but God says, Psalm 46:11(10) “Be still, and know that I am God. I am exalted among the nations. I am exalted in the earth.”
God speaks through phenomena, (phenomena is movement or motion) and much of that phenomena results in the trial of our faithfulness. Will we go through the trial and still worship God? Job did, and we should learn from him. We are approaching Passover, the season of our freedom (Z’man Cherutenu). The purpose of the original Exodus was so that the children of Israel would be freed to worship God. This applies to us today as well. 2 Corinthians 6:16 What agreement does God’s Temple have with idols? For we are the temple of the living God—just as God said, “I will dwell in them and walk among them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 17 Therefore, come out from among them, and be separate, says Adonai. Touch no unclean thing. Then I will take you in. 18 I will be a father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says Adonai-Tzva’ot.”
The last point I want to make today is this… Psalm 19:2(1)a The heavens declare the glory of God…. Everything in creation carries within it the purpose of exalting the Son of God. Colosians 1:16 For by Him all things were created— in heaven and on earth, the seen and the unseen, whether thrones or angelic powers or rulers or authorities. All was created through Him and for Him. 17 He exists before everything, and in Him all holds together. 18 He is the head of the body, His community. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead— so that He might come to have first place in all things.
But, worldwide, humanity has drifted far from this calling. And look what God has done through the pestilence of COVID-19. He has shuttered movie theaters, bars, clubs, sporting events, and concerts. He has turned “March Madness®” into “March Sadness,” and closed down the Summer Olympics (previously planned to begin on Erev Shabbat, July 24, 2020, but not any more).
Throughout history, God has brought pestilence for correction when humanity has strayed from His purposes. The Scriptures warn us pestilence will be back. The question is, “Will it be back for us?” Turn to God in a new and better way. Repent, for the day of the Lord is at hand. Revelation 2:5 Remember then from where you have fallen. Repent and do the deeds you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your menorah from its place—unless you repent. Shabbat Shalom.