G-d’s Master Plan – XLI – COVID-19, The 4 Species, Rain & The Book Of Job


We are always told G-d rewards those who are faithful to him and his Torah. It is something that I have experienced many times since becoming religious and becomes even more obvious since making Aliyah with my family 24 years ago.

Bari Weiss’ decision to resign from the NY Times, in my opinion, deserves special mention considering the current state of the job market and her willingness to point out in detail her reasons for leaving that position. It takes courage to do what Bari did, but it also shows her faith in G-d that she will find a suitable position to replace the one she walked away from.

The Hebrew Phrase That Caught My Eye On Shemini Atzeret – אף ברי

If Bari Weiss had remained at her desk when all the High Holidays came, I would not have taken any notice concerning this phrase. But while davening on Shemini Atzeret these words jumped out at me.

They appear soon after the Chazan begins his repetition of the Musaf Amidah in the added portion pleading for rain.  The phrase itself is very meaningful from the point of view of the words and where it is written in the Writings or כתובים of the Tanach.

The obvious reason it jumped out at me was because Bari’s name appears as the second word of this phrase. The first word has a few meanings, but the most obvious one is “Nose”. And that represents multiple tie-ins to Sukkot and COVID-19.

The Senses Of Smell And Taste Related To COVID-19

Since COVID-19 affects our ability to smell that relationship seems obvious with the mention of the word Nose. But taking this a step further, the four species – Lulav, Etrog, Hadass and Aravos – all have the sense of smell and taste attached to them.

  • The lulavhas taste but no smell, symbolizing those who study Torah but do not possess good deeds.
  • The hadasshas a good smell but no taste, symbolizing those who possess good deeds but do not study Torah.
  • The aravah has neither taste nor smell, symbolizing those who lack both Torah and good deeds.
  • The etrog has both a good taste and a good smell, symbolizing those who have both Torah and good deeds.

When we combine all four together as we are commanded to do, they represent Jewish unity which makes us stronger as a nation. In other words, all of us have strengths and weaknesses which become insignificant when we stand unified as one nation.

Going one step further, this past Pesach we were unable to be together for the Seder but in the Hagaddah we know that there are four questions and four sons who come to the Seder – The Wise One, Simple One, Wicked One And The One Who Does Not Know How To Ask A Question. By using the same example from the Lulav and Etrog, if we invite all of them together at the Seder table then we all help and support each other and become one unified family by the time the Seder finishes, because we all learn from each other over the course of Seder night.

So for the first time in history from what I understand, the whole world was unable to perform the mitzvahs attached to Sukkot and Pesach together with their families. Therefore, once the situation returns to normal –

Are we as a Jewish nation going back to our old ways in some instances of not showing kindness to our fellow Jews?

Or are we going to stand together as one nation and show the world how to act in the face of the rise in Anti-Semitism throughout the world?


This is the current Hebrew year that we just began to celebrate which is hinted in the word אף equaling the Gematria of 81.

The Book Of Job

Isn’t it interesting that the abovementioned Hebrew phrase appears in the book of Job? And since Bari Weiss left her Job to look for another Job timing could not have been better. That is because according to the many sources I have consulted with and read, the phrase אף ברי  refers to G-d’s Malach or Angel responsible for clouds and therefore the rain that is produced by those clouds.

Rain symbolizes the concept of wealth and in Bari Weiss’ case her ability to find another Job which is the reason I mentioned the timing of her resignation in the previous paragraph. Going back to the time during the Holocaust, when the NY Times buried those stories in the middle of the paper as I indicated in my previous Blog, I am surprised Bari was able to hold out so long before leaving given what she went through which was revealed in her resignation letter.

An Opportunity To Study Torah

This has been a unique time for all of us which provides a Golden Opportunity to take advantage of the many Torah classes which have sprung up on Zoom and other similar communication platforms from the convenience of your own home or apartment.

A Lesson To Learn From All Of This

The day the news broke that Bari was resigning, many major news outlets immediately reported it as one of their lead stories. In other words, Bari had decided enough was enough and showed the media world what it means to be a proud Jew. As I said I admire Bari for her courage.

About the Author
Born and raised in the Minneapolis suburb of St. Louis Park. Married to a South African, we lived in Johannesburg from 1979 to 1996. Made Aliyah with our seven children on Parshat Lech Lecha. BSB Accounting Degree from the University of Minnesota. Investment Portfolio Manager /Fundamental And Technical Analyst. Wrote in-depth research on companies, markets, commodities for leading financial publications. Served in the US Army Reserves Semi Retired spending quality time with my wife, children, grandchildren and attend Kollel while analyzing current events as they relate to Torah and Mitzvahs.
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