Varieties of Haredi Theological Response to Coronavirus


Waiting to see primary sources, but here’s a quick review of Haredi response in Israel to the Coronovirus with multiple links. Some of it is standard reward/punish. The pandemic is caused by lax Torah study, the sexual immodesty of women, or gay pride. More unique is the answer by Rabbi Gershon Edelstein as to why Haredi communities are suffering the pandemic in disproportionate numbers to secular Jews. The article includes a link to these brief remarks. The reason is that secular Jews are like “kidnapped children” (this is a classical halakhic category) who were raised by gentiles; their sins are inadvertent and punished more lightly than the sins of Haredi Jews who know Torah, whose sins are therefore intentional, and consequently punished more strictly. Tagging this here at the blog under “suffering” and “death.”  Rav Chaim Kanievsky has since stated here (with Edelstein signing on) that the reason Haredi Jews have been driven from their synagogues is because of the sin of using cell phones at synagogue, the disrespectful violating of the sanctity of the place with worthless words. The comment reflects perhaps something about norms and the violation of norms in the religious life of the Haredi public sphere.



About zjb

Zachary Braiterman is Professor of Religion in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University. His specialization is modern Jewish thought and philosophical aesthetics.
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