In a mad rush to prevent the global pandemic of coronavirus, researchers are looking for all types of defensive measures, such as boosting people's immune systems and looking for antibodies that prevent the penetration of coronavirus into healthy human cells. The difficulty of coronavirus is that its protein-like spikes serve as daggers that pierce and penetrate healthy cells. From a spiritual standpoint, though, I would take an offensive measure, and use a spiritual equivalent of what the pharmaceutical world calls antivirals, substances that fight off viral infections by attacking the viruses themselves. The power that knocked down the impregnable walls of Jericho can surely knock down the walls of the coronavirus.
The advantage of antivirals is that they attack different parts of the virus and thereby prevent it from entering cells friendly cells. Antivirals weaken the virus even before they destroy it and that way slow or even stop its power of infecting healthy cells.
The problem with the coronavirus is that its attack spikes, in addition to being offensive in nature, protect the coronavirus cell wall and therefore make it almost impregnable. That's why researchers are trying to protect against coronavirus rather than destroy it, which is a task no one has a strategy for.
If you remember our emunabeams podcast from this past Feb. 9, we showed how the root of the epidemic was in heresy and lack of emuna. I suggest you back and hear that podcast.
Hashem runs the world measure-for-measure. If we look at the world through emuna eyes, we can see a spiritual protection and even solution for destroying the apparently impregnable viral wall, which is actually a double fortification. Viruses have an outer wall of a protective protein coating underneath the spikes that seals the whole virus cell and then an inner wall called a nucleo-capsid that protects the viral DNA.
The coronavirus double-protective walls are tough to destroy. But let's look back in history. Israel coming out of Egypt had no chance or no military strategy for penetrating the Walls of Jericho. Joshua had no idea what to do. He poured his heart out to Hashem in such powerful prayer that Hashem illuminated his brain with a prophecy that manifest itself in what we know today as the Aleinu prayer, a prayer that we pray three times daily, every day, all year long including Shabbat and holidays.
The Chofetz Chaim writes in the Mishna Berura that the Aleinu prayer must be said with tremendous awe and intent, because the Almighty with all of His Heavenly Legions listen and respond, "Happy is such a nation" (Mishna Berura, Orach Chaim 132:2, letter chet). Let's ask ourselves: there are other extremely important prayers, yet here, the Chofetz Chaim gives us marching orders of "tremendous awe and intent". Why Aleinu in particular?
Encapsulated in the Aleinu prayer is the entire Jewish faith, the task on earth of the Jewish People, both in regard to themselves and in regard to the entire world, and the secret to Jewish success and survival, as we'll soon see.
Jericho was virtually impregnable. Its high and thick walls could not logically be breached with the weaponry of the time. What's more, its residents were fierce fighters. Joshua saw no rational chance of victory. He therefore said this prayer seven times, each time he circled the city. And, as the Chassam Sofer explains, after he circled the city for the seventh time, Hashem personally knocked down the walls of Jericho and delivered the city into Joshua's hands.
The Dark-side forces of Jericho were so great that its conquering could only be done through the miracle of Divine intervention.
The same goes for coronavirus.
The Jewish People are the People of Emuna in the Land of Emuna with the task of spreading the light of emuna around the globe. Since Aleinu is the prayer of emuna, the Chofetz Chaim placed so much importance on it.
Let's now see how the Aleinu prayer is encapsulation of the entire Jewish faith, the task on earth of the Jewish People, both in regard to themselves and in regard to the entire world, and the secret to Jewish success and survival:
- Encapsulation of the Jewish faith: as the Rambam says in the first principle of Emuna, Hashem is Creator and Director; he alone did does and will do every deed. Aleinu tells us that He is the "Master of all", the One who "forms all of creation," that "He is our G-d, there is none else," and that "He will reign forever and ever."
- The task on earth of the Jewish People: our individual task is to internalize the principles of our faith, which we mentioned in the previous point of "Encapsulation". Aleinu obligates this, as it says, "And you shall know today, and internalize in your
heart, that Hashem is the only God, in the Heavens above and on Earth below. There is no other." Not only must we know this, we must review emuna every day, even after we internalize it.
- The Jewish People's task in regard to the world: as "Light unto the nations," it's our job to do everything we can so that "all living flesh to call Your name." We do that by spreading emuna. This is the correction of the world, Tikkun Olam, which is our solemn responsibility.
- The secret to Jewish success and survival: we have no power on our own. A Jew must know that "we put our hope in You, Hashem our G-d, to soon see the glory of Your strength". Hashem is the source of all our strength and all our abundance. There is no one but Hashem!
Joshua's emuna and trust in Hashem, as conveyed in the powerful Aleinu prayer, had the power of knocking down the impenetrable walls of Jericho. Similarly, this prayer when said with fervor can knock down the walls coronavirus that threaten us. Whatever you do, don't chase out of shul at the end of davening. Say Aleinu with all your heart and you too will see Hashem's miraculous salvation for you, your family our people Israel and all of humanity that throws away its idols and heresy, very soon, amen!