A Reminder of Restrictions From Rabbi Dovid Lau
Following Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s announcement on Wednesday night that gatherings of over 100 people have been banned, the Chief Rabbi of Israel, Rav Dovid Lau, who has received many shailos regarding the halachic aspects of the restrictions, published a list of halachic rulings on Thursday.
Rav Lau stressed that “these instructions are also obligatory according to halachah! A person is obligated to protect himself from being harmed and even more to protect himself from harming others. The coronavirus can spread from a completely healthy person to another person who may be at risk. This matter requires complete stringency adhering to the instructions even if they are difficult and burdensome.”
In accordance with the instructions of health professionals to limit the number of people [at gatherings] to 100, it’s obligatory to divide the minyanim in shuls to a few minyanim at which each will include up to 100 men.
In the case of significant crowding in a shul even with less than 100 men, the mispallelim should be divided into a few minyanim.
Shuls and Batei Midrash must be properly ventilated in accordance with the instructions of health professionals.
The shul gabbai must be makpid to maintain the utmost hygiene throughout the shul including using proper disinfectants.
Anyone in quarantine or is at high-risk should daven in his home and try to coordinate the time of his tefillah to the time of the tzibur’s tefillah.
“The routine must continue and therefore minyanim and shiurei Torah should not be canceled (unless it has been determined by Health Ministry officials).”
Yeshivah and Mosdos Limud
“According to the Health Ministry’s instructions, educational institutions are currently continuing as usual and so they are continuing to learn Torah even more intensely in the olam ha’yeshivos. The koach of Torah and the kol of Torah will stand for Klal Yisrael and the entire world as a zechus. This holds until further instructions are announced.”
Tevilah in mikvaos
The orach chaim and routine of taharas ha’bayis should be continued and there is no need to be afraid. A woman who is required to be in isolation according to the instructions should do as obligated in her situation.
A chuppah should not be pushed off due to the current situation. It’s preferable to hold [the wedding] with a small crowd than push it off. Also, it’s unknown when it will be possible to hold the simcha with a large crowd.
The mitzvah of bikur cholim is important but people must refrain from fulfilling it in this situation and should also not visit homes for the elderly due to the risk of transferring the virus. However, one should find ways to assist those in quarantine whom have no one to tend to them.”Being careful to fulfill these instructions is obligatory from the Torah: ‘V’nishmartem me’od l’nafshoseichem,'” Harav Lau stressed.
“The current situation obligates us to increase our tefillah and therefore we should add at the end of our tefillahs – evening, morning and afternoon – and say b’tzibur the pirkei Tehillim Yud Gimmel, Chaf and the tefillas Mi’Shebeirach L’cholim.”
“We should also be makpid on saying 100 brachos a day like the Gaonim wrote that Dovid HaMelech was metakein for Yisrael to bless 100 brachos every day when a mageifah broke out during his time and the mageifah was stopped.”
I’ll sign with the tefillah: “מחרב ומשבי ומדבר ומגפה ומכל צרה ויגון הצילנו כי לך קיוינו… ראה בצרותינו ושמע קול תפילתנו, כי אתה שומע תפילה”