The world is already transforming toward the Era of Moshiach. And quickly so.
The Coronavirus (COVID-19), and its impact on the world must therefore play an integral part of this process.
Here are some thoughts about the connection:
Welcoming the Guest
Shabbat is likened to an important guest.
The weekdays are about enabling the house for the guest: Earning money, shopping, cooking, cleaning. This permeates our mindset, behavior, the way we dress etc.
Come Friday afternoon and the house is just about done. The guest is arriving soon. The focus then switches completely. It's now about the guest himself. Not only a shower and change of clothes. Our head is no longer in the soup or the vacuum cleaner:
Who is this guest? Would be handy to know this before we start scrubbing the floor for him. But it's not essential then. However when the prep work runs out and this VIP is about to arrive, we better know more about this impending monumental encounter.
We would then also appreciate the imminence of his arrival and anticipate it.
And if the guest delays, we'd become agitated. We'll pick up the phone with frustration and scream at his driver.
Ultimately we go outside and start singing with excitement, welcoming the guest. That's called "Kabbalat Shabbat".
Obviously while we turn our focus to the guest, we'll be also final-touching the house. Dressing the salad, aligning the glasses on the table (as long as we don't get dirty).
Moshiach is also a guest. And he will usher in the Messianic (Sabbatical) Era.
All the dirty work was done by the past generations: Dealing with the coarse and evil world to make it less material, more spiritual, and develop some sensitivity to G-dliness.
That was all to enable the Messianic Revelations to penetrate the world.
It comes to a point when enough was done and Moshiach is about to arrive.
This would not only involve the cutting out of materialistic shopping sprees and attendance at the packed football stadiums. There's a growing introduction to Moshiach himself and that era:
What is Moshiach about? You didn't need to know this when fighting for Jewish survival. But now when we are all somewhat withdrawn from dealing with the physical world, and Moshiach is actually around the corner, we better familiarize ourselves with this new reality.
And then our anticipation for his arrival will increase.
And so long that he tarries, we pray for him and demand the delay be brought to an end.
Ultimately we greet him with song and joy as he arrives.
Yes, there's more work to do while all this is happening. With ourselves and the world. These are the final touches we still work on in the meantime. But it is done in a whole new setting, focused on Moshiach.
Laws of Purity
If you thought keeping kosher was complex enough, there's another thing coming, together with Moshiah.
Laws of Purity (טהרה/ Tahara) is a whole body of law we don't practice today.
It only* applies if one is to enter the Bet HaMikdash.
So we need to quickly catch up on these laws before it gets rebuilt and we go inside.
Preserving your purity status resembles Social Distancing to a great degree:
Possible Ways of Contracting Impurity
Coming in contact with an impurity directly
Coming in contact with objects (כלים / Kelim), food or clothes that came in contact with an impurity
Being under the same roof as an impurity
Impurity includes the spit from some impure people, hence requiring distancing
Sources of Impurity
Menstruation and birth
Dead animal or bird (unless slaughtered in a kosher way)
Cleansing from Impure Status
Some impurities can be rid by nightfall
Some after 7 days
Some after 14 days
All instances have to involve immersion in a body of water (Mikveh)
The world seems to be getting used to these concepts.
That's not the first time.
In the past, Synagogues and Houses of Study were at times closed down, or worse – burned down. Why? Due to the hostile antisemitic climate of the time. The world was far from ready for Moshiach then.
But why now, when everything is ready for Moshiach?!
This trend is also not new:
The world has been getting more and more ready for Moshiach, while the reverse is true for Exile (the antithesis). It's been getting thicker and darker. This trend is covered extensively in our introduction to the unpleasant signs of Moshiach.
The Bet Hamikdash is where the whole nations gathers to worship.
It is also where the whole world will gather to after Moshiach comes.
It stands for revelation from Above.
A Synagogue is a mini-Mikdash. Gathering of local Jews. Quasi-revelation.
Exile on the other hand is the antithesis. Scattering of Jews. Separation. Descent.
The inner purpose of Exile is to elevate the lower level of detail that would not be elevated from a centralized source (the Mikdash in Jerusalem).
The Jews were initially dispersed around the Land of Israel for centuries.
More recently, all around the globe.
But the model had always remained the same – communities powered by places of worship and study.
Now (thanks to Corona) – we were forced to descend yet further down to the next level of detail: Worship within the heart of each and every individual by praying at home. To gather all the different faculties within the person (there are 10) and get them to connect with G-d through prayer, influenced by the brain (the "Rabbi") and led by the mouth (the "Chazan").
This will achieve the ultimate purpose of Exile and thereby void its continuity, resulting with the rebuilding of the ultimate Mikdash and the in-gathering of all the exiles, together with all the details they've elevated.
The Police lose their Force
There's a prophecy about the time of Moshiach (Isaiah 1:26): "And I will bring back your judges as at first and your counselors as at the beginning".
But the actual Commandment (Deut. 16:18) is to appoint Judges and Police?
Why aren't police mentioned in the prophecy?
Because they represent execution of judgements with force, and that will not be required anymore in the Messianic Era, as people will listen of their own accord. (Radak on Ibid)
But the Commandment of appointing police is eternal...
Police will be busy but providing friendly instructions and facilitating the observance of the law. (Sefer Hasichot 5751 Pt. 2 p.782 note 23)
Covid-19 has promoted obedience to instructions and care for others on a massive scale.
It also caused lock-downs and restrictions on population movements.
This has in turn caused traditional crime levels to depreciate.
The spare capacity of the police force has been used to inform and facilitate the novel laws of distancing.
The Floyd incident was the extreme opposite of the above: Use of ultimate, unnecessary, cruel force for petty crime.
This has sparked huge protests in response, expressing the rejection of the "force" of police.
The underlying reason:
Both Corona and Floyd demonstrate the world in general feels mature enough to follow the law without being forced to.
The resultant looting (crime!) would thus be a temporary expression of the minority, who is not there yet (as with any novelty that's introduced to the world).