Rabbi Mordechai Malka
Rabbi Mordechai Malka used with permission of photographer

Rabbi Mordechai Malka, the Chief Rabbi of the city of Elad, issued a special ruling calling for the publication of the names of coronavirus patients in order to prevent the further spread of the virus.

During his lecture, Rabbi Malka said that "this is in light of the spread of the pandemic and the fact that one of the reasons for it is that people are not being careful enough and allow themselves to go out and walk around even when they have the virus - a problem which is exacerbated when they live in one building, where one family can infect the entire building."

"I have written a responsa (halakhic ruling) that it is an obligation to publish the patients in every building, which family is infected, and that those who are infected are also obligated to publicize that information. Even if they do not do it, it is an obligation] that it be done even if it causes embarrassment because it is a matter of saving lives," the rabbi ruled definitively.

The Chief Rabbi of Elad quoted the Talmud to justify his ruling.

"The Gemara in Ketubot 41B states: 'From where is it derived that a person may not raise a vicious dog in his house and may not place an unsteady ladder in his house? As it is stated: You shall not place blood in your house (Deuteronomy 22:8).' Even though this law was said about a ladder, the sages derived from it that it applies to everything that poses a danger. This is the explicit halakha, as the Rambam wrote that 'You shall not place blood in your house' means that we must be careful with what we put in our land and in our houses so that no one dies in them. And in the laws relating to murderers, Rambam wrote: Any matter which constitutes a danger do human life, it is a positive commandment to get rid of it, and if he fails to remove it he also violates the negative commandment: 'You shall not place blood.'"

"Because some people are not careful, it can occur that there is an infected building in your building and you do not even know it. If you send your child to [the apartment of the infected person] it can spread the disease to everyone. Publishing the names is therefore an obligation in order to save lives. Even if the [infected person] may be harmed by this, it is compared to the biblical leper, who is 'called unclean, unclean,' so that they will recover and not slide back into sin. Even though it is the publishing that he is ill that makes him a leper and there is concern for defamation, he must publish that he was ill and there is an obligation in this matter," he said.

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