Arutz Sheva/Written by Rabbi Michoel Green
The mystery has been solved at last. Corona’s origin has been discovered, in an etymological sense at least.
It’s right there in Exodus 34:29 — When Moses descended from the mountain, he “did not know that the skin of his face had become radiant — כי קרן עור פניו…”
Moshe did not know that his face was CoRaN, radiating light.
It spread quickly to verse 30 and 35. Three incidents!
This ancient Biblical Hebrew root is undoubtedly the source of the Latin word “corona,” which eventually became “crown” in English. QaRaN can also mean horn and is the likely origin of a host of other English words like cornice, corner, cornucopia, cranium, cornea, and unicorn.
The contemporary Coronavirus has a series of crown-like spikes or horns on its surface, which is the reason for the name.
Moses had crown-like rays of light emanating from the skin of his face. Like its modern-day namesake, his unusual corona caused much fear, and everyone was afraid to approach him (ibid 30).
Fortunately, Moses did not need to be quarantined. Instead, he covered his face with a mask! (ibid 33)
The mask wasn’t meant for protection, since Moses’ corona wasn’t contagious, but rather for modesty purposes.
Moses was careful to remove his mask when teaching Torah to Israel. There can be no barriers when it’s time to learn Torah.
Parenthetically, Moses’ corona has been subject to much misinterpretation over the ages. Michelangelo read a faulty Latin translation of the Torah that rendered “QoRaN” as horns and consequently depicted horns atop Moses’ head on his famous statue in the Basilica. While the root QeReN can indeed mean horn, our verses in Exodus clearly use the verb form that indicates radiating light. QeReN often means ray in noun form too, as in קרני אור, rays of light. Even the sun has a corona. Too bad no one with any Hebraic literacy was around to advise Michelangelo.
QoRaN can also denote radiating power. Three times daily, we petition G-d to cause the QeReN (power) of redemption to flourish, and to exalt the QeReN (power) of Moshiach.
Corona is a word that expresses radiance, power, and salvation.
The takeaway lesson of Moses’ original Corona is: take off that mask and come to shul to bask in the radiance and power of Torah study.
By the way, did you know that Corona has been detected in the Mishna too?
“One should only stand up to pray with a heavy (i.e. serious and focused) head — אין עומדים להתפלל אלא מתוך כובד ראש” (Berakhot 30b). “Heavy head” is pronounced “COVID rosh” in Hebrew [and COVID 19 reminds us that this Shabbat, we’ll read Parshat Terumah, the 19th portion of the Torah!]
So there you have it, folks.
The best way to be prepared for Corona is by feeling empowered and coming to Shul, praying with COVID rosh, learning the Torah and unmasking the deep radiant secrets contained therein.
(And if you really insist on a Mosaic face-mask, feel free to wear one next week on Purim).
Anyway, folks, I hope you appreciated this important Corona update.
By increasing in Torah study, prayer acts of goodness and kindness, may we merit to CoRoNate king Moshiach in the most immediate future. Amen.
PS: Didn’t mean to make “light” of a serious subject. I suppose this virus deserves a bit more KOVID Rosh, but it never hurts to laugh a bit. (this was sent by the rabbi to his congregation).