Top Chabad rabbi urges followers to avoid attending traditional gatherings

Rabbi Yaroslavsky urges: Hold 'farbrengens' at home with your family - not with others.

Michal Levi ,

Rabbi Yaroslavsky
Rabbi Yaroslavsky
Yaacov Cohen/Flash90

Rabbi Yitzchak Yehuda Yaroslavsky, the highest-ranking Chabad Lubavitch rabbi in Israel and the secretary of the Chabad rabbinical court, called for Chabad hasidim around Israel to refrain from holding large fabrengens (hasidic gatherings) in tents and courtyards.

"I know that each and every person wants to mark the anniversary of the [Previous Rebbe's] passing, and it is a great and holy day, but unfortunately the plague is rampant, G-d save us, and it has taken many lives. Many people, G-d save us, are falling each day, may G-d protect us and save us, and people are lying in the hospitals, G-d save us," Rabbi Yaroslavsky wrote in a statement quoted in Idkunei Chabad.

"I therefore request that the gatherings this Shabbat (Sabbath) be held by each person with his own family, like the Rebbe wrote in letters for the 10th of [the Hebrew month of] Shvat, so that it should not G-d forbid cause mishap.

"I am asking that fabrengens not be held in courtyards and also not in central homes - only at home with your family."

The 10th of Shvat marks the day that the Previous Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn, passed away in 1950, as well as the day when the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneersohn, accepted a year later the hasidim's request to take his father-in-law's position as leader. It is one of the most important days in the Chabad calendar.