The name of the rapidly spreading epidemic, now becoming pandemic, the Coronavirus, may be read as biblical-Hebrew in two modes:
- As an original Hebrew word (it is not!); In that case one may wonder— What would the biblical-Hebrew root of this word be?
- “Translated” into biblical-Hebrew (namely, the word Crown); In that case one may ask— What is the biblical-Hebrew root of this word, or other Hebrew words originating in the same root or a permutation thereof?
As have happened often before (relate to chapter 19 in my book, and read also here and here), names originating in non-Hebrew languages surprisingly often tend to carry significant meaning in the Hebrew language, namely, embody meaning directly related to the essence of that which the non-Hebrew word stands for. A typical example from the Torah is Pharaoh, known to be a real historic figure (ruler of Egypt in ancient times). When considered as a Hebrew word (it is not!), the root of this word gives rise to various words implying acts of violence. For example, the biblical Hebrew Praot (Judges 5:2) has routinely been used, in modern Hebrew, to describe pogroms, namely, unrestrained maiming and killings of Jews (in exile). Such acts were probably also executed during Pharaoh reign, when Jews were slaves to the king (as described in Exodus).
Let us address individually each of the two options to relate to “Corona” (namely, as originally biblical-Hebrew, or relate to its biblical-Hebrew translation).
1. “Corona” as originally biblical-Hebrew
Several Hebrew words have structure similar to Corona. Ignore, temporarily, the letter “a” (later to be addressed as a suffix). The word “Coron” has similar Hebrew words of the same structure. We have in Hebrew Svivon, derived from the root S.B.B, and we have Shomron, derived from the root S.M.R. When words represent names of places, adding “a” as a suffix (in Hebrew, the letter Hei), implies in biblical-Hebrew “in the direction of”. For example, “I go Shomrona” means “I am going to Shomron“.
So, were “Coron” a biblical-Hebrew word, what would its root be?
In the same manner that we have determined the roots of Shomron or Svivon, the root of “Coron” would be K.R.H, which gives rise to such words as Mikreh (coincidence), Karah (occurred; also cold (n.)) and Keri. The latter is of particular importance. In the Bible, it appears seven times in Leviticus, Chapter 26, and only there. I have discussed this word at length in my book (Section 3.3), and, more generally, the concept of “Randomness” in biblical-Hebrew and in the Bible. In Leviticus (26), God warns the Children of Israel that if they walk with Him in keri (pretending everything that occurs is accidental, random), then He will walk with them with the wrath of keri, punishing them seven times over for their transgressions. The Torah repeatedly warns, here and elsewhere, against pursuing a worldview that all that one experiences in life is coincidental (rather than an act of the Divine – “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do justice?”, Gen.:18:25). The biblical embodiment of this worldview is Amalek, who had waged war against the Children of Israel on their way to the promised land (Exodus 17:8). When Moses leaves his instructions to the Children of Israel, prior to his departure, he requests that they remember Amalek who “has occurred to you”, while you, the Israelites, were somewhat like Amalek at the time, “tired and exhausted and not God-fearing” (Deuteronomy 25:17-18).
It is indeed stunning that the World Capital of this worldview (“all is coincidental”) is:
- The country where the ruling culture has totally expelled (from amidst its population) God and worshippers of God;
- The country ruled by the most secular regime on Planet Earth (deriving its legitimacy from the ruling Chinese Communist Party);
- The country that has originated one of the most devastating pandemics the human species has ever witnessed (this post is written while the epidemic is evolving into a pandemic, based on the prevailing prognosis regarding its future evolution).
And the name of the virus, originating that pandemic, rings like, well, …coincidence.
2. “Corona” and Crown in biblical-Hebrew
Assuming that the name Corona has indeed originated in Crown, we inspect its translation into biblical-Hebrew, Keter. The root is K.T.R, a permutation of which is K.R.T. The latter root originates numerous words, which appear no less than 285 times in the Jewish Hebrew Bible. The plain and straightforward meaning of the Hebrew verb Li-Chrot is to cut, like cutting-off branches of a tree, or cutting trees. From this, the meaning of the word expanded to mean also annihilate, or destroy, or perish. Examples:
- “I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be cut-off (lo ikaret kol basar od) by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth” (Genesis 9:11);
- “Because he has despised the word of Jehovah, and has violated His commands, that soul shall utterly be cut-off (hikaret tikaret), his iniquity shall be upon him” (Numbers 15:31);
- “…and all that harbour iniquity shall be cut-off (ve-Nichretoo)” (Isaiah 29:20).
We realize that the non-Hebrew “Corona”, translated into Hebrew and its biblical-Hebrew root permutated, produces an accurate description of the final effect of this pandemic.
Pandemic in Hebrew, Dever, from the root D.B.R. This root gives rise to various verbs and nouns associated with… speaking, either human or Divine. Thus, the Ten Commandments are the Ten Dibrot; And “a thing” is Davar (implying that all result from Divine speaking). In the desert did the Divine speak to humans (Ten Commandments given to the Israelites, through Moses, in the Sinai desert). Desert in biblical Hebrew — Midbar.
This pandemic, Dever, has taught a world, built on the model of the Tower of Babel (“..let us build us a city and a tower, whose top reaches to The Heavens, and make us a name..”, Genesis 11:4) — this pandemic has taught the world a painful lesson in humility. With cessation of international aviation, the adored “Global Village” has noisily smashed into hundreds of separate, nearly disconnected, villages scattered upon the face of all the earth: “And Jehovah scattered them abroad from there upon the face of all the earth..”, Genesis 11:8.
An ancient biblical story and a current historic event — describibg a similar world transformation; sharing the same final outcome…
Final quotes from prophets Isaiah and Zechariah, describing the Final Judgement at End-Times:
“Go, my people, enter your rooms and shut the doors behind you; hide yourselves for a little while until indignation is overpast. For, behold, Jehovah is coming out of His place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity; The earth shall disclose the blood shed upon her, and shall cover no more her slain.” (Isaiah 26:20-21)
“And it shall come to pass”, declares Jehovah, “that in the whole land two parts in it shall be cut-off (ikaretoo), perish; but the third shall be left in it. And I will bring the third through the fire, and I will refine them as silver is refined, and try them as gold is tried. They shall call on my name and I will answer them…” (Zechariah 13:8-9).
“Jehovah will be king (“Crown”) over the whole land;
On that day Jehovah will be one and his name One.”
- Shorty is a short post
 This comment is added in response to readers’ questions about permutation of K.T.R (root of Keter, “Crown”) into K.R.T (root of Karet, “Cut-off”). In Kabbalah, Keter is the first (uppermost) of the Ten Sephirot, describing “Divine superconscious Will that is beyond conscious intellect” (Wikipedia, entry “Sefirot”). In Jewish tradition, distortion (permutation) of the right order of the root-letters of a biblical-Hebrew word, related to the Divine, may generate words representing the harmful, the undesirable. Thus, for example, Tom (completeness, righteousness; a two-letter word) becomes, permutated, Met (a deceased person; a two-letter word); Osher (riches, abundance), permutated, becomes Resha (evil). In the orderly alphabet, Emeth (truth; a three-letter word) appears in the correct order, however the three letters of Sheker (lie, falsehood) appears as a permutation of the correct order (read more here).
 A while after this post went on-line, I came across a most recent talk by Rabbi Sacks, who, not surprisingly, also discusses at length the meaning of the central biblical Hebrew concept, addressed in this post— Keri. You may wish to view this talk to learn in more depth this term and its implications:
Corona pandemic and the biblical Keri_Talk by Rabbi Sacks_March 26 2020
 A most inspiring talk by Rabbi Elyahu Kin: “In the Shadow of the Corona Virus” (English; Hebrew subtitles):
In the Shadow of the Corona Virus_Talk by Rabbi Kin_April 3 2020
 The Coronavirus pandemic, denoted by WHO (World Health Organiztion) — COVID-19 (COronaVIrus Disease-2019), is indicative of, sounds like — Kavod (a stunning insight by Avinoam Ben-Mordechai); Read a separate post about Kavod here here.
2 replies on “Shorty*: Coronavirus in biblical-Hebrew (??)”
Thanks so much for the shorty. David
And thank you so much for the quick response. Haim