Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky at his home in the city of Bnei Brak
Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky at his home in the city of Bnei BrakYaakov Nahumi/Flash90

Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, a leading Lithuanian-haredi rabbi, on Tuesday night met coronavirus czar Professor Salman Zarka, and the two discussed the recent rise in coronavirus infections around Israel, Kikar Hashabbat reported.

The meeting took place at Rabbi Kanievsky's home in Bnei Brak, where Rabbi Kanievsky said that each person has an obligation to try to take precautions, in any way he can, in order not to infect others or contract coronavirus.

This, Rabbi Kanievsky explained, falls under the category of "thou shalt guard your lives," and there is therefore an obligation to adhere to the health guidelines.

Prof. Zarka then asked that Rabbi Kanievsky bless him that the vaccination campaign within schools succeed, and asked Rabbi Kaneivsky to urge adults to receive the third dose of the vaccine. For his part, Rabbi Kanievsky emphasized that the vaccines are "help from Heaven" and should be taken in order to prevent illness and a loss of time that could otherwise be used for Torah study.

Prof. Zarka also noted that he was the director of Ziv Medical Center at the time of the Meron disaster, and received some of those who were injured in the tragedy. Hearing this, Rabbi Kanievsky thanked Prof. Zarka for his efforts to save lives, and gave him a blessing.

During the conversation, Prof. Zarka raised the issue of teachers and educators who have not yet received the vaccine, especially those who teach younger students who cannot yet be vaccinated. Rabbi Kanievsky told Prof. Zarka that such actions are prohibited, and all teachers and educators have an obligation to get vaccinated.

School principals must suspend all teachers and educators who have not been vaccinated, Rabbi Kanievsky emphasized.

Most of Israel's haredi communities suffered high rates of coronavirus infection last year, and in the months since, most of those who had not contracted the virus received the vaccine. However, since the end of the school year, despite most of the haredi community having natural antibodies, coronavirus infections are once again on the rise, turning most of Israel's haredi cities "red" under the Traffic Light Plan.