Pandemic, the preparation for Geula

Does He not seem to be hiding His face from us when, all of a sudden, in one blow, we have lost so many holy and righteous individuals?

Rabbi Moshe L Kuskin ,

Rabbi Moshe Kuskin
Rabbi Moshe Kuskin
Rabbi Kuskin

There is an amazing Midrash (Breishis Raba 88:6) that states:

“Who would have expected that Abraham and Sarah, who were elderly, would have a child?…Who would have expected that Joseph who experienced so many tribulations would be a King? Who would have expected that Moses, who was thrown into the Nile, would become the redeemer of the Jewish people? Who would have expected that Chananya, Mishael and Azarya would emerge from the midst of a fire? Who would have expected that in the days of Haman the Holy One, Blessed be He, would save the Jewish people?…Who would have expected that after the Succah of David (the Beis HaMikdash) was destroyed that the Holy One, Blessed be He, would rebuild it, as it says (Amos 9: 11) “In that day I will raise the succah of David, and all the world will be one unified group, as it says, (Tzefania 3:9) ‘for then I will turn over to the people a pure language for all of them to call upon the Name of Hashem and to serve Him with one accord.’ ”

The Midrash emphasizes a poignant point that we all feel. In this world of terror, war and strife where the Jewish people have been reviled, murdered and scorned for two millennia-- how could it be possible that the nations of the world will recognize Mashiach and the righteousness of the Jewish people and serve the G-d of Israel? Yet, this is exactly what the Midrash says will happen.


Never before have people identified with each other in one commonality, facing an overwhelming problem—a global pandemic. Could this be the preparation, when the time is finally ripe for the coming of Mashiach?
And we find ourselves in an extraordinary situation that suddenly seems ripe for such a possibility.

Never before in the history of mankind has the entire world been unified in anticipating and hoping for a salvation. Never before have people identified with each other in one commonality, facing an overwhelming problem—a global pandemic.

Could this be the preparation, when the time is finally ripe for the coming of Mashiach? Could this be the moment that will bring salvation to the world and the final redemption of the Jewish People, when all nations will accept Mashiach’s sovereignty, the ascension of the Jewish People, and, most importantly, the rulership of the G-d of Israel?


Divine Providence

As Jews, we understand that we merit a unique relationship with the Al-mighty, and we believe that He deals with us in a manner we refer to as hashgacha pratis, Divine Providence or G-d'\s direct intervention—that everything that happens to us in our lives is guided and controlled by Hashem; that there is no such thing as “coincidence” or “happenstance.”

Ramban (Nachmanides), in his commentary on Sh’mos (Exodus 13:16), states “And from the great revealed miracles (described in the Torah) a person acknowledges the hidden miracles, and this is a foundation of the Torah, for a person has no portion in the Torah of Moshe Rabbeinu unless he believes that all the events that occur to us are miraculous, that they are not part of the natural order of the world ,whether regarding a group or an individual….”

Striking Signs

Therefore, it behooves us to ponder the details of our circumstances and see what appear to be stunning indications of what Hashem demands from us and how He is relating to us. Although there is no more prophecy in our time, and Hashem no longer reveals Himself to us directly, the Jewish people are still called B’nei Nevi’im (the children of prophets (Tractate Pesachim 66a), and the Al-Mighty has given us a sechel (intelligence) with which to try and understand His world.

The Torah states (Devarim 31:18), “And I will surely hide my face from them….” Hashem promises that when the Jewish People sin and abandon Him and go astray, chasing false gods, that He will hide his face, and the Jewish People will call out to Him but he will not answer (Even Ezra). However, the promise of His compassion and mercy shall await them when they return to Him (Ramban, Seforono)..

Chazal, the Talmudic Sages, refer to such a time as one of “hester panim” when Hashem “hides His face,” and events seem to be taking their natural course rather than being directed from Above, and this will occur prior to the coming of Mashiach.

Holy Masks

Look, my dear readers, how we are forced to hide our faces and wear masks all day long. Look at how we are forced to “social distance” ourselves from one another and lock ourselves into our homes, disrupting all normal social interaction! Is this not a reminder, and does this not reflect that perhaps Hashem is hiding His face from us and has distanced himself from us, awaiting us to do teshuva, to turn to him in repentance? Does He not seem to be hiding His face from us when, all of a sudden, in one blow, we have lost so many tzaddikim, kedoshim v’tahorim—holy and righteous individuals, Roshei Yeshiva, Poskim, and pure souls from among the congregation?!

What we are experiencing is akin to Yirmiyahu’s lament in Eichah (1:20) “Outside the sword bereaved, and indoors the fear of death prevailed (see commentary of Rashi). The sword in our time is the sword of the malach hamaves, the angel of death (see Bamidbar 25:23; Divrei Hayamim 1, 21:16).

Our hearts pour out to Hashem, Ad masai?!!—how much longer must we endure the suffering of exile, galus? We know that the answer is clear: “for He is our G-d, and we are the People of His flock, and the sheep He leads with compassion, today, if you will hearken unto His voice” (Tehillim [Psalms] 95:7). Hashem will redeem us from the Diaspora TODAY if we truly listen to Him.

Illusory Partition

Allow me to share a beautiful and eye-opening insight expressed by HaGaon Rabbi Shimshon Pincus, zt”l. Contrary to our logical understanding that a mechitzah, a partition, is something that separates, the purpose of a partition is actually to draw near. He explains that the rakia, firmament, that was created on the world’s second day actually makes it possible for us to receive Hashem’s Presence. Without this separation, we would not be able to withstand the holiness of His existence. Hashem created a partition, dividing between Heaven and earth, so that we could receive His presence in a manner that could be sustained.

Similarly, a mechitzah in a shul allows women to pray together with the men as a congregation. Without it, they would not be able to pray in synagogue, since mixed prayer is forbidden. So, the purpose of a mechitzah, a partition, is actually to draw near rather than to separate. And the greater the partition, the greater potential there is to draw near. One could not get too close to a very flimsy partition made of a thin veil or curtain in shul, because it could be breached easily, but one could stand directly next to a thick and solid partition, without fear of disturbing it.

Dark Clouds

Therefore, it is when the situation seems the bleakest, when the partition seems to be the greatest between Hashem and the Jewish People that the potential is greatest for our closeness to Hashem and our ultimate redemption, as it states in Shir HaShirim (Song of Songs) ‘Who is it that looks upon us before dawn (at the darkest point of the night)…?” Hashem looks down upon us and concerns Himself with us in the darkest hours of galus, when things appear most hopeless. It is then that we have the greatest chance of geula, redemption (Malbim).


Hashem looks down upon us and concerns Himself with us in the darkest hours of galus, when things appear most hopeless. It is then that we have the greatest chance of geula, redemption (Malbim).
We may find a remez (hint) to this in the following words: the gematria (numerical value) of the expression מחיצה של ברזל (a partition of iron) has the same numerical value as הישועה קרובה (the salvation is near).

The Gemara asks (Chulin 139b), “Where do we see a hint regarding Esther (and the story of Purim) in the Torah?” and the Gemara answers, “And I will surely hide my face from them” (Devarim 31:18). It was only the prayers and the teshuva (repentance) of the Jewish People that nullified Haman’s evil decree in that dark galus and led to the salvation of the Jewish People amid “light and gladness, joy and honor” (Megilas Esther 5:15) and a strengthening and rededication of Torah.

May we turn to Hashem b’lev shalem, with all our hearts, and may we turn to our fellow Jews in achdus, in achva and in ahava, in solidarity, brotherhood and love, nullifying and overcoming our social distancing, and, in that merit, witness the coming of our righteous Redeemer, speedily in our days, amen.

Rabbi Moshe L Kuskin has been involved in endeavors of tzedakah and chesed for close to 25 years, having served as the Director of a major charity organization for 15 years. He has authored numerous publications and articles that have been disseminated nationally and has authored four books, including two books of poetry. His most recent is “Seraphim’s Touch” . He is a past student of HaRav Shlomo Freifeld, zt”l,as well as the Mirrer Yeshiva in Brooklyn. He grew up in Silver Spring, Md. and currently resides in New York.



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