A mass tefillah gathering took place at the Kosel on Sunday at 4:30 p.m. for those affected by the coronavirus. The gathering was organized by Harav Shmuel Eliyahu, the Chief Rabbi of Tzfat, together with the Israeli branch of the Orthodox Union. The senior representative of the Chinese embassy in Israel participated in the gathering.
“As children of Avraham Avinu, we have an obligation to everyone created b’tzelem Elokim,” Harav Eliyahu said in a statement. “The job of the Jewish people is to daven for the entire world. The fact that our tefillos have a deep impact obligates us to daven for peace and good in the world.”
Harav Eliyahu, in an interview with Arutz Sheva, explained how the participation of Chinese diplomats came about.
“The Chabad shlichim in China were the ones who included them. They were our partners in the tefillah gathering together with us and the OU. They were extremely happy that our hearts are with them. They’re in a very serious crisis.”
“Maybe we don’t realize because of the distance but there are men, women and children who have been in quarantine for a long time. Tens of thousands have already contracted the virus and are afraid of dying. Each one has relatives and friends. The situation is not simple, especially since a cure for the virus hasn’t been found yet and it’s continuing to spread.”
“We’re all continuing on, confident that a cure will be found and the epidemic will be stopped but we have to remember that there were epidemics in the last century that killed tens of millions of people until they ended. We don’t want to reach this situation. There a koach to tefillah and there’s a place – sha’ar Shamayim – and this is the time to scream out.”
איזה אלף סינים מתו בקטנה אבל אלוהים לא יעצור את המגיפה שלו עד שהרב שמואל אליהו יארגן תפילה בכותל https://t.co/oZ9ZxIFK0L
— מיסיסיהו (@misisyahu) February 16, 2020
Regarding the tefillos of Am Yisrael for the nations of the world, Harav Eliyahu said: “Avraham davened for Avimelech and even for S’dom. Moshe Rabbeinu davened to stop the makkah of frogs that he himself brought on the Mitzrim – he truly davened for it to stop. Yeshayahu, Yirmiyahu and Yechezekel davened on calamities that stirred the world. Hakadosh Baruch Hu even instructed Yechezkel to say a Kinah on Tzur [for its utter destruction to a heap of ruins by the Bavlim].”
“There are many tefillos like these. The problem is that we’ve been in conflict with the nations of the world for 2,000 years, struggling to survive their persecution so we haven’t been able to daven for them so this chapter of Yahadus is slightly forgotten.”
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)