Chief Rabbi Yosef Yitzhak with Chief Rabbi David Lau
Chief Rabbi Yosef Yitzhak with Chief Rabbi David LauChief Rabbinate spokesperson

Israel’s Chief Rabbis, Rabbi David Lau and Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef, have released guidelines for the observance of Passover during the coronavirus epidemic.

Regarding the burning of hametz (leavened bread), the rabbis wrote: “People should not go to a distance from their homes in order to burn the hametz. ‘The wise person will plan ahead’ and make sure not to be left with a large amount of hametz to burn.”

“This year, people can remove the hametz by pouring bleach on it in order to render it inedible and then throw it in the garbage. Small amounts of hametz [less than a ‘kezayit’ which is approximately the size of a matchbox] can be flushed down the toilet.”

The Chief Rabbis also mentioned the use of the Zoom app that was recently touted as a possible solution for people isolated in their homes on seder night. “Recently, the possibility of using Zoom was raised even in cases where there is no danger to life or health or mental health … The ban on using electricity applies on festivals [just as on Shabbat], even if a Shabbat (Sabbath) timer is used.”

The Chief Rabbis emphasized that, “The loneliness is painful and we must endeavor to find a solution to it – perhaps by talking via a computer on the eve of the festival, but not by desecrating the festival itself.”