In Swine Flu, Some Crown Heights Lubavitchers See Signs of the Messiah


The onset of swine flu has inspired all sorts of different reactions. President Barack Obama is telling Americans to do common sense things like not go to school if you feel sick (Thanks, Barack!) Rightbloggers and folks like Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio are using it to unleash anti-immigrant sentiment and attack the government for failing to seal the borders.

Sara Kanevsky, a Hasidic woman we wrote about last summer, believes that swine flu may signify the hailing of the messiah.

For Kanevsky and thousands of others in Crown Heights who believe the late Lubavitch rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson (pictured) is the messiah, swine flu is yet another sign of redemption on earth. According to Jewish texts, in the time of redemption, all things that are unkosher (traif is the more-common yiddish word) will become holy.

“Why is the pig getting so much attention right now?” Kanevsky asked a Voice reporter. “There is great significance to this.”

Only animals that chew their cud (the digestive process by which cows and other animals regurgitate their food in order to digest it twice) are considered kosher. Kanevsky says she plans to begin making a round of phone calls to local farms to see if pigs have begun to digest differently. Of course, she will have to call non-Jewish farms, since Jewish farms are unlikely to be raising pigs in the first place.