Looking at the virus from the USA, where some fools ignore it

The coronavirus war in the US has reached the point where the fatalities reach Korean and Vietnam war death levels.

Rabbi Yitzchak Rudomin

OpEds Hasidic man walks by a police car in a Orthodox Jewish neighborhood in Brooklyn
Hasidic man walks by a police car in a Orthodox Jewish neighborhood in Brooklyn
צילום: INN: R.R

Part I

History is full of lessons. But what to make of them? Some may be comforting and others may not be that pretty or easy to swallow. Some people, sad to say, never learn anything from anything a lot of the time.

In the wake of the Coronavirus war, sadly, deaths have now reached truly tragic proportions. As a student of history I try to learn from the past in all sorts of ways. I recently checked Wikipedia for the number of those killed in past wars involving America. Now that, as of mid April 2020, deaths from Coronavirus have surpassed the 40,000 mark in the USA, it reminded me of other wars America has fought.

Those dying from what is caused by the Covid-19 Coronavirus are falling like soldiers, or is it flies? on a frontline against an invisible microscopic enemy and weapons for which there are no known cures. But it may just have had a pernicious intent from others on the planet. This may sound like a conspiracy theory in the making, and maybe it is, or not. No one can be absolutely sure. But that does make it seem more like a war.

II

Looking at things from a Jewish spiritual point of view, this was all meant to be, as they say, and it's part of God's Divine Plan, as is everything else that happens. From our human point of view it remains a mystery and it's up to each of us to draw the necessary INTELLIGENT conclusions. How do we mend our ways, how do we improve ourselves, how can we help others, how can we help God if at all?

We just celebrated Pesach when we live through an enactment of our liberation as a Jewish People from bondage in ancient Egypt by means of ten miraculous plagues that broke down the spiteful stubborn hate and resistance of the Egyptians to God's Will. That in turn liberated the Children of Israel sending them on the path to receiving the Torah at Mount Sinai 50 days after the onset of Passover Eve and then on to the Promised Land.

Maybe, now, we are on the eve of another great deliverance, but in the interim, many, both Jews and non-Jews, are dying and paying the ultimate sacrifice.

War is war, whether it is fought on battlefields with men and women in armor holding and firing weapons, nuclear bombs vaporizing entire cities, chemical weapons choking men on the front such as with gas warfare in World War One or gas chambers in the Holocaust of World War Two. It is war when a tyrant is killing millions in death factories, or with chemical bombs like those dropped by Saddam Hussein on the Kurds. Dare we say it, it is all those, meaning each and every one of us, that was, is or will be slaughtered by the Angel of Death via sickness and disease over the span of time.

One of my own, unpatented sayings is that "Life is terminal"!

Man and woman, in fact all and everything, are born to but to die, (see Pirkei Avot-Ethics of the Fathers: Chapter 4:29: "Rabbi Eleazar HaKappar said: they who have been born are destined to die...") but no one wants to die before their time, which means ever! People want to live forever even though they know they won't. It's all part of the Original Curse of the Original Sin of the Original Death stemming from: "the day you shall eat of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil you shall surely die" (Genesis 2:17) and die they did, and have, and we must!

Which brings me to the question of what and where are the origins of this deadly Coronavirus? So far the conventional wisdom has been that it has been from one of three possible things: (1) A virus that was transmitted from animals (bats, rats, pets, vets?) in Wuhan, China. (2) A pathogen (a virus poison pill) created in a lab in Wuhan, China. Or (3) a (hocus-pocus) combination of (1)+(2).

But according to an article I just read by author John Loftus the current deadly Coronavirus was actually clandestinely developed by the Russians and then transported to China. According to Loftus, the Russians have also worked and developed an vaccine antidotes, which they kept for themselves and then later sold to the Chinese as well after the initial breakout in the city of Wuhan in Hubei province. (Spyview by John Loftus: "Code Name Chimera: How the Russians Unleashed Covid-19 on the World" AMI Magazine, Issue 463; April 8, 2020;pp. 134-139). 

Somewhere in this haze and maze there must be some kernels or perhaps bunches of truth. 

III

Wikipedia states that during the Korean War from 1950 to 1953 there were 33,686 combat deaths with a total of 54,246 military deaths. During the Vietnam War from 1961 to 1975 there were 47,424 combat deaths, with a total of 58,209 military deaths. See "United States military casualties of war." 

The Korean War lasted four years and the Vietnam War lasted fifteen years, but it has taken only about two months or less for more than 40,000 people to die during 2020 in the Coronavirus war in the United States!

We have not reached the levels of US military deaths from the First World War (116,516 deaths) or the Second World War (405,399 deaths), or the American Civil War (750,00 estimated deaths), but we have very quickly almost outstripped the combined number of deaths of the War in Afghanistan (2,216 deaths so far); the Spanish-American War (2,246 deaths); the Philippine-American War (4,196 deaths); the Iraq War (4,576 deaths); the Mexican-American War (13,283 deaths); the War of 1812 (15,000 deaths); the American Revolutionary War (25,000 deaths)! 

IV

There are those in our midst who want to tell us that the good news is that the "curve is flattening," That makes me think of "flat Earth" theorists somehow because every time, or rather every day when I check the news, the number of people dying from Coronavirus complications in the USA rises by several thousand per day and right now it's more than 40,000. This is more than the recorded 33,686 US combat deaths in the Korean War and at the level of 47,424 US combat deaths from the Vietnam War.

But remember, the Korean War lasted four years and the Vietnam War lasted fifteen years so having over 40,000 thousand people die from Covid-19 in the USA within about two months by mid April 2020 is a national catastrophe and a cause for nationwide mourning.

I live in Brooklyn, New York and I follow the news from the various Jewish religious communities in the New York metro area. The virus has been devastating in these places. Hundreds of people have died, including some very famous and venerable rabbis and rebbetzins. Thousands are very ill. It's not a joke, yet you would be surprised, they share some leaders' "optimism" by wanting America to be "open for business ASAP." They therefore have outdoor and backyard and secret Minyans (prayer gatherings of at least ten Jews) where, naturally people infect others with the dread Covid-19 disease because they think they are somehow "immune" and can just wish away the invisible bugs with a sprinkling of (you fill in the gaps). Even though all American synagogues, yeshivas, schools are shut until further notice.

There are no Shabbat or Holiday or daily services. Kids are at home being tutored over the phone or via zoom or whatnot. Yet even though their rabbis and principals have taken all precautions by doing the unimaginable and shutting their institutions in "peace time" (which it is not!), yet nevertheless there are still many fools among us who want to "be brave" and risk their own and others' lives.

In fact just nearby, a young upbeat rabbi with a great smile sponsored an outdoor prayer quorum (Minyan) over Passover on his back porch, and while there may have been some "social distancing" while it was on the go, when I spotted the people walking away they were all clustered together and most had no masks on whatsoever. I yelled at them that what they are doing is wrong, it is  a danger, all the yeshivas and synagogues are closed! They looked at me like I was nuts! And you would think they would know better because everyone knows or has heard of people who have died from the Coronavirus.

So this is what war looks like. On the one hand tens of thousands of people die, lonely and alone, isolated from family and friends, with no one to say a Kaddish (memorial) prayer for them usually said among ten Jews, and buried without having the proper immersions in Mikvas (pools of water for ritual purification), with hardly a soul at their funerals and burials, and the city of New York is still officially shut down to May 15, 2020 (with most of America likewise) and probably longer with all the cases still coming up and coming in. And on the other hand are the "what me worry?" dopes who are playing Russian roulette with their lives and with all those with whom they come into contact!

May the Good Lord have mercy on us all!!

Stay protected, healthy and safe!  



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