In a recent YouTube video Rabbi Mendel Kessin, an international speaker and noted Torah scholar, offers a practical approach to protecting oneself from contracting the coronavirus while helping to bring redemption closer. In the seventy-five minute talk, he lays out a step-by-step analysis of the deeper significance of the coronavirus and makes the case that God introduced the coronavirus into the world in order to repair the exact problems that are keeping the Messiah from being revealed.
In Kessin’s words, “The coronavirus is designed to speed up the geula (redemption process).”
According to Kessin, the collective sins of “sinat chinam” (baseless hatred) and “lashon hard” (evil speech) are significant obstacles to moving redemption forward. Gossip, slander, defamation of character and all manner of derogatory speech about others are forms of prohibited speech and, according to Kessin, God is enraged by the amount of prohibited speech that exists in the world and by how this contributes to a lack of unity and to hatred among people.
Among the unique characteristics of the coronavirus pandemic are social distancing and quarantine. According to Kessin, these actions serve as atonements for the sin of prohibited speech. Since quarantine and social distancing limit social interactions between people, they serve to reduce the amount of prohibited speech in which people engage.
Another fascinating angle Kessin pointed out is that the power of speech comes from our breath. When our breath is used to speak prohibited, derogatory words against others, the measure-for-measure punishment is denying a person the ability to breathe freely. As is well-known, breathing issues are a prime characteristic of the coronavirus.