Rabbi Gershon Edelstein: 'Why were so many haredim affected by coronavirus?'

Leading haredi rabbi explains why, in his opinion, so many of the Israelis who contracted coronavirus were from the haredi community.

Ben Shaul ,

Rabbi Gershon Edelstein
Rabbi Gershon Edelstein
Yoni Kempinski

Rabbi Gershon Edelstein, one of the heads of the Ponovezh yeshiva in Bnei Brak, gave a Torah class in which he explained why he believes most of those infected with coronavirus in Israel were from the haredi community.

"We need to understand something - in Israel and around the world, there are haredim who died of this plague more than anyone else," Kikar Hashabbat quoted Rabbi Edelstein as saying. "The Chazon Ish (Rabbi Avraham Yeshaya Karelitz - ed.) said that when people sin, it's by accident. A haredi who sins is doing it on purpose. Judgement is harsher for haredim."

In his class, Rabbi Edelstein emphasized that any yeshiva reopening must adhere more strictly than others to the Health Ministry guidelines.

"Thank G-d, there are many places where learning has already commenced," he added. "But what's most important is to be extremely careful with the [coronavirus] guidelines, and there are many who are still continuing to learn over the phone - the students listen over the phone while the yeshiva dean gives the lesson on the phone. And this is a great merit, and many are doing it this way."

Two weeks ago, Channel 12 reported that Rabbi Edelstein disagreed with Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky over whether yeshivas should reopen. While Rabbi Kanievsky believed that yeshivas should be allowed to reopen, Rabbi Edelstein insisted that it is better to wait, due to concerns of a resurgence of coronavirus.

Rabbi Edelstein also urged that his followers pray alone rather than join public prayers where proper precautions may not be taken.