Rabbi Chaim Druckman: 'No reason not to pray with minyan'

'We needn't be more strict than Health Ministry directives when it comes to religious matters.'

Mordechai Sones , | updated: 7:26 PM

Rabbi Chaim Druckman
Rabbi Chaim Druckman
Aryeh Minkov/TPS

Ohr Etzion Yeshiva head and senior religious Zionist Rabbi Chaim Druckman today addressed the question of public prayer following publication of Health Ministry instructions limiting public assemblies and gatherings.

As an introduction, the rabbi said, "Obviously self-discipline is very important in keeping public health authority directives, and it's inconceivable that people would decide for themselves when it comes to danger to the lives of the many."

To the very question of how to act these days during the coronavirus pandemic, the rabbi wrote: "At the same time, we needn't be more strict about Health Ministry guidelines precisely when it comes to sacred matters. If the Health Ministry wouldn't allow one to leave the house, we wouldn't say to leave the house to go pray with a minyan.

"But since there is no such provision, and for certain events, congregations of up to ten people - such as weddings, etc. - are allowed, there's no reason not to pray with a minyan of ten. In Rami Levy Supermarket even 100 people were allowed at one time, in other places they allow up to ten, and there's no reason to be stricter than the Health Ministry."

Rabbi Druckman took the opposite stand to that of the leaders of the Tzohar Rabbinic organization, Rabbi Eliezer Melamed, and Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, who instructed people not to attend minyan following the coronavirus epidemic.

Rabbi Druckman went on to write, "Regarding the Shabbat evening prayer, under no circumstances should one make a large, regular minyan in the synagogue. But there can be minyanim in private houses and in each of these houses, ten should gather and pray. A minyan of only ten may also be held in the synagogue."

The rabbi signs the letter, "What we're saying is also true in terms of people's feelings. Saying to people: 'Stay at home' doesn't make them feel good in terms of this entire situation. May G-d grant us all strong health and may we soon be praying with the entire nation of Israel in one minyan."