In loving memory of Genessa bas Reb Shmuel HaKohen, yahrzeit 2 Iyar
I recently learned a Chassidic discourse said by the Rebbe Melech HaMoshiach about the splitting of the Red Sea. It seems that the Rebbe was saying that all the details involved in this miracle are hints about what was to come with the giving of the Torah.
One supernatural event prepared the way for the other. The Red Sea opened up the hearts and minds of the Jews to G-dliness beyond the world. True, the plagues did this, too, but the parting of the Red Sea was the glorious finale and the final step in their liberation, to the point that even a maidservant saw G-d at the Red Sea.
In the discourse, the Rebbe explains how the miracle at the Red Sea hinted to the Jews’ service after the giving of the Torah. For example, the sea didn’t have to split into two huge walls. These walls, the Rebbe says, hints to the two paths that are part of every Jew’s service in this world: fear and love of G-d. Likewise, the trees that grew from the ocean floor and the fruits they bore, the birds overhead that feasted on the fruits, – all this hinted that the entire Creation would be involved in flowering and blossoming and serving Hashem, mineral, vegetable and animal.
Think about Rosh Hashanah. We Jews dip an apple in honey, serve carrots that resemble gold coins, and cook the meat in sweet sauces. We are hinting to G-d that we want a sweet year. Sweet sweet sweet is the message at the yom tov table.
So now we have “Corona.” And we have its other name, Covid 19.
Everyone has heard by this time that we are in the middle of the era of the Redemption. It’s a well-known prophecy of the Rebbe Melech HaMoshiach. Corona. Coronation. Covid. Kavod. 19 – Yud Tes (19 Kislev – the Rosh Hashanah of Chassidus)
Like an advertising jingle, Corona keeps reverberating with Coronation.
Yet Corona is associated with a negative, and Coronation is a positive.
Interesting that the Corona coincided with Pesach. Even those Jews worldwide who may have given up on their Judaism could not fail to recall this strange timing of a modern-day plague at a time when the plagues of ancient Egypt will be recounted.
In Tazia/Metzora 5751 the Rebbe speaks about Moshiach as a leper, a very high individual that is totally purified except for afflictions only on the surface. These afflictions, the Rebbe says, are the result of high lights, so high that they cannot come down in vessels. There is nowhere for them to go. So they appear as afflictions, when in reality they are something very holy.
What is the way out of these afflictions? See and identify them for what they are: something good. How can they find vessels? When a person nullifies himself before the King, his utter humility creates the space for these lights to find a home. When this happens, they are no longer afflictions. Nega, the word for affliction, becomes oneg, pleasure.
So does this give us any hints about how to deal with the current situation?
Maybe. Let’s take the hint about Corona, and think where this is all leading to: something glorious, a coronation. Moshiach! Specifically the one we know is Moshiach: the Rebbe.
Perhaps Covid 19 is really the Kavod, the honor of 19, Yud Tes, the spreading of Chassidus to the whole world which started on Yud Tes Kislev with the first Rebbe of Lubavitch, the Alter Rebbe. Chassidus is the G-dly wisdom that can be understood by every Jew and is the preparation for Moshiach.
What could it hurt to take these hints to heart and envision the opposite of affliction: the crowning of the Rebbe, the King Messiah, and our deep gratitude for Chassidus, the teachings preparing the world for that day?
By humbly seeing the positive, perhaps we can turn these afflictions into Redemption.