The Gemara Berachos 5a teaches that when suffering befalls an individual he should introspect. HaGaon HaRav Chaim M’Voloshin writes in Nefesh HaChaim, based on Rashi (Ibid) that a person should contemplate carefully into the nature of the suffering that befell him, to determine what personal shortcomings were responsible for this occurring mida k’neged mida. It seems, since suffering that impacts the world at large is attributed  to the Jewish people (Yevamos 63) – meaning to instill in them fear to do teshuvah – each individual should introspect to ascertain which personal shortcomings could be responsible for the suffering. (A similar idea is expressed by HaGaon HaRav Elchanon Wasserman H”yd in his Kovetz Mamaarim.)

Certainly today with coronavirus, each person should make a personal accounting of one’s actions and introspect to identify one’s shortcomings to do teshuvah for protection against calamity. Moreover, since the coronavirus has transformed normal daily life for the entire civilized world, it is imperative that we also engage in introspection into the actions of the Jewish people in general to reveal what shortcomings might have triggered this event and the observance of such unusual restrictions. As Rashi explains in the Gemara Yevamos (Ibid) the goal of calamity is to instill fear into Klal Yisroel and bring them to teshuvah.

To read the essay in full (written in Hebrew), please click here.

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