MESSAGE FROM THE GADOL HADOR: Rav Chaim Kanievsky’s Instructions on How to Protect Yourself and Loved Ones


The following letter was written by Rav Chaim Kanievsky Shlita regarding protection from the Corona Pandemic. It was translated and annotated by Rabbi Yair Hoffman for the

Rav Kanievsky’s words are in boldface.  Rabbi Yair Hoffman’s additions are in italics and in plain type.  Rabbi Hoffman’s additions are the background that is necessary to understand Rav Chaim’s words.  May we all have yeshuos. YH


Adar 5780

Regarding the concern of transmission of the Corona Virus Pandemic

Everyone must be mechazek to refrain from Lashon Harah and rechilus as it states in Arachin 15b:  [Why is a leper so different, that the Torah states: “He shall dwell alone; outside of the camp shall be his dwelling” (Vayikrah 13:46)? He (Rabbi Chaninah) answered: By speaking badly] he separated between a husband and wife and between one person and another; therefore he is punished with tzara’as, and the Torah says: “He shall dwell alone; outside of the camp shall be his dwelling.”

They must further strengthen themselves in the midah of humility and to be maavir al midosav (let things slide) as the pirush  haRosh on the side of the page says explicitly in the end of Horios [14a],

The Gemorah there cites a debate between Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel and the chachomim as to who is preferable – a Sinai, one who is extremely knowledgeable or an Okair Harim – One who uproots mountains, one who is extremely sharp.

The Gemara explains that this is not just theoretical.  Rav Yosef was a Sinai; Rabba was one who uproots mountains. They sent a message from Bavel to Eretz Yisrael: Which takes precedence? They sent in response: Sinai is preferable, as the Master said: Everyone requires the owner of the wheat, i.e., one who is expert in the sources. And even so, Rav Yosef did not accept upon himself the appointment of head of the yeshiva. Rabba did accept it upon himself and he reigned for twenty-two years, and then Rav Yosef reigned. The Gemara relates that in all of those years that Rabba was in charge, Rav Yosef did not even call a bloodletter to his home. Rav Yosef did not assume even the slightest authority, in deference to Rabba.

The Rosh explains in the name of the Ramah that since Rav Yosef lowered himself and did not wish to lord over Rabbah, his humility protected both him and his household members that not any of them became ill all of those years that Rabbah ruled and even an expert bloodletter was not needed to be called to his home.

Whoever strengthens himself in these the merit will protect him and his family members that not one of them will be sick.

[Rav] Chaim Kanievsky

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  1. I assume the Rabbi forgot to mention to practice social distancing as he is apparently doing restricting visits to his home. apparently, ikkar chosur min ha-Igeret

  2. Were we all as tuned into Rav Chaim’s p’saak when he said all should vote in the WZO election? Or, did we use our own judgment and decide that’s it’s not relevant?

  3. DrYidd when you will have hundreds of random people visiting your home daily for 20 years you can start drawing your own conclusions from what Godol does vs. what Godol says you should do!

  4. @DrYidd
    I don’t think Rav Chaim needs to tell us about ‘social distancing’, I think everyone is aware of that part!
    He is telling what needs to be done on the spiritual end…

  5. I’m wondering why he and so many others haven’t mentioned the Mishna in Avos 5:8, Plauge comes comes to the world over deaths spoken in the Torah that are not dealt with in Beis Din and over the produce of Shvi’is. The commentators say that this refers to transgressions that are punished with krisos which, through our many sins, including many practices that have become common in the world. These things require guidance from Gedolim how to relate to them.

  6. It goes without saying you should take all precautions as recommended by Misrad Habriut and follow the advice of the Rav Chaim Kanievsky.