Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef issues pandemic Purim guidelines

Rabbi Yosef issues guidelines after meeting COVID Czar, including limiting crowds at synagogues, eating only with nuclear family.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef
Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef
סטודיו סולם יעקב

The Sephardi Chief Rabbi of Israel, Rishon LeZion Rabbi Yitzchak Yosef, met today in his office with Coronavirus Czar Prof. Nachman Ash and his staff.

At the meeting, the Chief Rabbi and Coronavirus Czar agreed on a series of instructions to the public for the Purim holiday commandments and celebrations and for the special Torah portions which are read during the Hebrew month of Adar.

Parshat Zachor: As is well known, there is an obligation to read Parshat Zachor this coming Shabbat from a Torah scroll with a minyan (halakhic quorum of ten men). Due to the current situation, it is correct to organize the reading of a Torah scroll after prayers, for additional minyans, and in each they are to recite Parshat Zachor without the blessing before and after it, which will only be recited in the first reading. And it is also possible to take out the Torah scrolls in the afternoon for the entire Shabbat and to divide the congregation into separate minyans to prevent the congregation of too many people at the same time.

Adolescents: For children under the age of 16 who are not vaccinated or have not contracted and then recovered from the coronavirus, synagogues should try to arrange separate minyans for them to read the Parshat Zachor reading and thus avoid endangering the adults.

Women are advised to stay home this year and not come to the synagogue to hear the Parshat Zachor reading.

Shabbat Parshat Para: The same guidelines should be observed for the Para reading as for Parshat Zachor.

Purim: It is mandatory to hear the reading of the Megillah from a scroll in person, and hearing a reading through ZOOM does not suffice. Therefore, additional minyans should be set up to keep crowds to a minimum. As the hearing of the Megillah is mandated for women as well, separate quorums should be established for women to reduce risk levels.

Purim festive meal: The meal should be held only with the nuclear family and not with a large number of people.

Mishloach Manot: A person should fulfill the bare minimum requirement of sending two foods to one person and not send gifts to many people as is done in other years.

Gifts to the poor: A person must fulfill at least the bare minimum requirement of giving gifts to two poor people and this year especially to try to give gifts to many poor people. This year it should be done through remote options (to fit social distancing).

Carnivals and celebrations should be cancelled.

The Chief Rabbi also called on all Israelis to get vaccinated against the coronavirus.