Watch: Moshe Frank of Leviim Art Gallery asked the mashpia Reb Yoel Kahn for his take on the coronavirus outbreak. Update: English transcript.
Free Translation of Rabbi Yoel Khan’s Thoughts on the Proper Approach to Coronavirus
Thank you to Zalmy Hertz for providing the translation
What is the spiritual lesson of the Coronavirus?
I don’t know what it is exactly, but I do know one thing: The Bal Shem Tov taught that even leaves that appear to fall on the ground and that appear to randomly blow in the wind, the Bal Shem Tov taught that there is a specific divine intention and purpose as to exactly where each leaf should be.
The same is with this pandemic, it’s clearly for a reason. It’s not random. There is someone who is responsible for all of it.
Hashem is in control. He created the world. He is directing the world and everything that happens in the world is because of Nisaveh Hakodush Baruch Hu Lihiyos Loi Yisboreich Dira B’tachtonim (Hashem desired that this world be a dwelling place for him). I’m not sure how, but ultimately everything leads to that purpose.
When one enters a coat factory and they see the workers slicing beautiful fabrics from all sides, a stranger may think they are crazy because it appears that they are destroying good merchandise. However, the truth is they are not destroying it at all, rather, they are preparing the material to create a garment.
Similarly, when one observes a surgery, may we be protected, the doctors cut into the patient and appear to be murdering him. However, the truth is, they are far from murderers, as the surgery is necessary to heal the patient.
We don’t know exactly how this applies here. We don’t know why leaves fall where they do. However, we do know that there is a director and everything is in order and there is nothing to worry about.
We must listen to the doctors and to the Department of Health. When a doctor gives medicine to a patient they are obligated to listen to the doctor. But the true doctor is Rofeh Kol Bosor (the healer of all beings) – The Holy One, Blessed Be He, and He gives the power to doctors to heal.
We recently read Megilas Esther. The beginning is about Achashverosh’s feast, and later there is a story of two people who conspired to kill Achashverosh but it was discovered by Mordechai, and he told it to Esther and she reported it in the name of Mordechai. Later, Achashverosh promotes Haman.
Looking at the narrative it appears unconnected. The stories occurred more than ten years apart. When one reads the story, the feast occurred at the beginning, ten years later the story of Bigsan and Seresh, but it all led to one point – the days of Purim. That’s all I have to say.
There is nothing to worry about. The concern that people are overwhelmed is from the yetzer hara.
What do you say about going to Mikva and to shul?
One has to follow the Department of Health and the doctors. When one is sick, they must follow the doctors, definitely. Hashem wants that healing should be through natural means.