Bob Calco

Talmid, Yeshivat Shuvu

Initially I cringed at the title. Like “Return of the Kosher Pig,” this book’s title–“The Besorah According to COVID-19”–feels at face value sensationalistic in some shock-value marketing sense. But as with “Kosher Pig,” by the end of “Besorah According to COVID-19” you can’t imagine a better title. It just fits. And as with new shoes, it takes some wearing-in. This is not a one-and-done, disposable reading experience.

To me, COVID-19 represents not a plague in any world-catastrophic sense, but a deep global deception. Which is, when you think about it, a plague in a world-catastrophic sense. So whatever one thinks of COVID-19 or the political response to it, there can be no doubt something very profound is afoot in the heavenlies with this virus, where powers and principalities wrestle for dominion (and where have we heard THAT term recently, eh?) over the hearts of men and the souls of nations.

This book’s core message is that whatever in the heavens is happening with the pandemic and the geopolitical madness it has unleashed, it doesn’t have to be scary or rob us of shalom, even (if not especially) when we suffer from it. Quite the opposite! Adversities of this kind are wake-up calls, opportunities sent by G-d himself to prompt us to re-evaluate and deepen our relationships with both Him and man. It just so happens the two tablets of Torah concern both relationships: one’s vertical relationship with HaShem (the first three commandments), and one’s horizontal relationship with one’s fellow man (the other seven commandments).

For me, each re-reading the book is helping me unlearn a lifetime of preconceived or culturally instilled doctrinal mysteries/contradictions that have blocked or prevented me from reaching the fullness of my potential, as a person, as a husband, even as a talmid. These obstacles are referred to in Hebrew as klipot, and they are meant to be removed, as quickly and completely as possible. This is the key to unleashing one’s potential.

I have for example had an idea for a book that was going nowhere until a few lightbulbs went on after some “Aha!” moments in key passages of this book. Now I can barely wait to start that project. The “Besorah According to COVID-19” examines the relationship between Esau and Jacob, between Christianity and Judaism, between Gentiles and Jews in the scheme of redemption, and my book idea aligns with the message of this book; I just didn’t know what that message was, in it clearest formulation, or how it related to the initial idea. In short, it unleashed my creativity, which had been blocked by a certain fixed idea.

The concept of the geulah, the redemption, in Judaism is a far more sublime concept than the equivalent Christian concept of the “end times.” It is instead an ongoing, almost existential concept, in which the current times are always the potential end times, if we will but do our part to invite Heaven’s response. By the end of the book we realize it is not we who have been waiting on Him for two thousand years, but rather He who waits for us–not so much in an individualistic sense, but really in a communal or corporate sense as well, just as Israel was conceived, as the apple of His eye. When those of us who are Gentiles have reached our fullness, provoking Israel to say “Baruch haba b’shem Adonai,” then, “on time,” and as promised, He will come.

In short, it’s a deep, deep book with a timely yet timeless message. Especially if you are a Christian who wants to understand how far the Jewish roots rabbit hole goes, “The Besorah According to COVID-19” is a lifetime’s supply of red pills that will challenge your understanding of who “Jesus” was, and is, and is to come. It will also (and more importantly) super-charge your heart attitude to follow Him in humility, spirit, power and truth. This is what HaShem seeks: a renewed khavenah, or heart attitude, and he always extends grace in response to your inner-most heart desire to return (“repent” has connotations that are not helpful to understand this point). When you respond to adversities not with anger or bitterness, but with joy and renewed sense of commitment to follow in the footsteps of Rabbi Yeshua, aka “Jesus of Nazareth,” who was sent by G-d to make the path to redemption and reconciliation of all things clear and open to all who could seek it, it hastens the geulah. This is, in the end, our mission, too. We take its burden up daily, not a burden in the negative sense, but as something heavy to be shared for good, to bring healing and end division and stamp out baseless hatred with undeserved and unconditional love.

Get the book. Read it slowly. Read it more than once or twice; let it steep and stew in your spirit, and stir it to action. Think about Jacob and Esau. *Really* contemplate the significance of that central story. Set aside initial reactions, unlearn patterns of unproductive and unfruitful thought (especially self-righteous arguments of dogma, which is different from honest explication of good doctrine) that prevent you from stepping outside your comfort zone. Exit that comfort zone long enough to experience the very same revelation that “burdened” its author, Rabbi Shapira, until at last he could put it to paper and share its besorah with a world ripe for a proper end-times message–an opportunity for which one must give thanks, in part, to the pandemic, which was sent as a sign from Father of the Bridegroom that He still awaits our return and and our renewed commitment to the Marital Covenant, the ketubah so beautifully described not just in Revelation but also in the very structure of the Torah itself. May Yeshua bless you through this book, as it helps you remove all your klipot, and become the person He destined you to become, just in time for the restoration of all things. Amen.

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