Scripture has much to say about handling times of crisis and spread of plagues and illness.
Bible passages are increasingly finding their way into public discourse as Israel enters a time of national lockdown and fear escalates over the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus).
The Holy Land is no stranger to epidemics, plagues and national crises, and so Scripture has much to say about what the people should do during such times.
The following verses are just a sampling of those spotted in the past 48 hours on Israeli news websites or social media platforms, or overheard in casual conversation:
For this time I will send all my plagues on you yourself, and on your servants and your people, so that you may know that there is none like me in all the earth.
– Exodus 9:14
Come, my people, enter your chambers, and shut your doors behind you; hide yourselves for a little while until the wrath has passed by.
– Isaiah 26:20
As long as they have the disease they remain unclean. They must live alone…
– Leviticus 13:46
When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people, if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
– 2 Chronicles 7:13-14
Wash your hands, you sinners…!
– James 4:8
Mass online prayer
With increasing restrictions on public gatherings, rabbis have turned to digital streaming as a means of corporate prayer in accordance with some of the aforementioned verses.
Earlier this month, the top rabbis in the northern town of Tsfat (Safed) organized a live streamed mass prayer. And on Wednesday, former Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau and IDF Chief Cantor Shai Abramson hosted a mass online prayer service.
Both events could be watched live on YouTube and on mobile applications by those Israelis inclined to participate.
Originally posted at israeltoday.co.il