In the opinion of Meam Loez commentary on Shmuel/Samuel there was a time of “boiling hot wrath” when David counted Israel, and therefore the Nation of Israel was punished by a plague.

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virusIn the opinion of Meam Loez commentary to Shmuel/Samuel, there was a time of “boiling hot wrath” when David counted Israel, and therefore the Nation of Israel was punished by a plague.

last revised 25th of Nissan, 5780 -April 19,2020

This is an excerpt from the commentary on the verse: And G-d placed pestilence upon Israel from the morning up till the appointed time; and {those that} died of the nation from Dan to Be’er Sheva  {were} seventy thousand men (II Shmuel/Samuel 24:15).
And G-d placed pestilence upon Israel. In that same hour David lifted up his eyes and saw that the iniquities of Israel were great and stood up from earth to the sky. In that hour an angel descended and put to death, Gad the Seer, and 4 sons of David, and the elders that were with him. And once he saw his sword he trembled, and from then on, he never regained his strength, for it was stated and the King, David was old, advanced in days, etc. (first verse of the book of Kings).
But even though David was punished over the counting (of Israel) however, Israel was punished over their iniquities. Now since it was a time of rage (“a time of boiling hot wrath”) they were punished over sins of which they are usually not liable for punishment over them in other times.

Now one should comment regarding the words of Meam Loez that Gad the Seer seemingly speaks with David after the plague is ended. Now it is possible to suggest a number of explanations for this problem, but I prefer to remain silent.

The Talmud in Tractate Menachot 41a Also Contends that at the time of “Boiling Hot Wrath” There is Punishment for Sins (In Our World) Normally Not Punished

According to the Talmud an angel told a scholar named Ketina, that Ketina would be punished for looking for tricks to avoid, either the commandment of Tzitzit in general or the commandment to put Techelet on Tzitzit at a time of “Boiling Hot Wrath”.
These are not the only commandments which are subject to punishment during “Boiling Hot Wrath”. Lack of fulfillment of positive commandments in general are punished during periods of “Boiling Hot Wrath”.
The final halacha of chapter 2 of Rambam’s Hilchot Tzitzit states (translation by ):
Not to attach white fringes to one’s garment is more culpable than to omit the blue thread {techelet}. For the white fringes are procurable by all, while the blue thread cannot be obtained in all places and at all times on account of the need of the special dye, of which we have spoken.

Chafetz Chaim
Chafetz Chaim

Chafetz Chaim: The Holy One Blessed Be He, Gives Rebuke to the Righteous of Each Generation – You Cherished MY Torah, But You Did Not Wait For My Kingdom

In a letter sent by the Chafetz Chaim to Rabbi Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld (In Parshat Tavo, year 5669) to arouse the scholars in the Holy Land to learn the laws connected to the Beit Hamikdash, he writes: “And currently I found, etc. The Pesikta Rabati (Gili Bat Tzion, 34): “The Holy one Blessed be He, said to the righteous of each generation, you did not do well, for you cherished my Torah but you did not wait for my Kingdom. It is an oath before me, that whoever waits for my Kingdom, I testify for him for the good”, end of quote. Behold the will of the Holy One Blessed be He is that we wait for his kingdom. And by default it is understood that we have to learn the laws that are pertinent to this, etc. etc. And also the sages stated (Shabbat 31a) that they ask a person at the time of judgement, “Did you expect salvation?” Therefore it is very fitting that the men of the Holy Land shall place their learning in this order, each one according to his strength. And there is no doubt that this will be an arousing for the redemption if a great portion of Israel, especially in the Holy Land, will be involved in this order with intricate analysis of it its laws, as it is stated (Shir Hashirim 2:16), “My Beloved is for me and I am for him”. For when we prepare ourselves from our side, he too [The Holy One Blessed be He] hurries from his side to redeem us” {end of quote}.

post by Shlomo Moshe Scheinman

Footnote 1: See Shmot/Exodus 30:12 for the connection between counting the people and a plague.

Footnote 2: See Brachot 62a, what was the spiritual failure of David, that led to the counting of the nation.

Footnote 3: The current head of Charedi-Ashkenazik Jewry, HaRav Chaim Kanievski has been asked by many about the status of Murex Techelet (Techeiles). In his opinion Techelet (Techeiles) cannot return until Moshiach arrives, but he felt that there is room for others to disagree. For those who feel this is the correct Techeiles, he has clearly ruled to them that they MUST wear it.
It should be noted that Maharil (שו”ת המהריל החדשות סימן ה) (in contrast to the view you need the Moshiach) believed in principle that Techelet might be restored merely by finding a species that matches the signs of the Chilazon (the Talmudic name for the species that provided the special dye for the blue threads of Tzitzit).

Footnote 4: According to Rabbi Shimon Ben Yochai it appears the war deaths of Israel as well as the plague were a punishment upon Israel for not demanding the Beit Hamikdash (The Temple).
Midrash Tehillim (Buber) Mizmor 17 states:
It was taught by Rabbi Shimon Ben Yochai, I will provide a parable to one that would hit his son, and the son did not know, over what he was being hit; after he hit him, he said to him, go and do this certain thing that I commanded you today, for a number of days, but you did not pay attention to me; thus all those thousands that fell in war in the days of David, only fell on account that they did not demand the building of the Beit Hamikdash.
Now behold the matter is a rule of logic from the simple case to the severe; and what if these that the Beit Hamikdash wasn’t among them and was not destroyed in their days, nevertheless this befell them and they were punished over not demanding it, we that it was in our days and it was destroyed in our days, and we are not mourning over it and we do not request mercy, all the more so; therefore the early pious ones (Hasidim) enacted that they would pray three prayers each day, and enacted within it, {the supplication} I beseech you the Merciful One, in your great mercy, return your Divine Presence to Zion and the order of the sacrificial service to Jerusalem; and they enacted the blessing, Builder of Jerusalem as a blessing by itself in prayer and in Grace after Meals.