HaRav Zilberstein: “Answer Telephone On Shabbos If Awaiting Results Of Coronavirus Test”


Harav Yitzchak Zilberstein, Rav of the Ramat Elchanan neighborhood of Bnei Brak, paskened that anyone who is waiting for the results of a coronavirus test should answer the phone on Shabbos with a shinui and answer any necessary questions for an epidemiological investigation. 

Rav Zilberstein issued his pesak after a comprehensive discussion with Health Ministry professionals and Health Minister Yaakov Litzman.  

Health Ministry representatives visited Rav Zilberstein on Wednesday to discuss the dilemma of shomer Shabbos patients who were tested for the virus and the results on Shabbos show they are positive. A positive result for the test requires the patient to be immediately transferred from their home and an investigation be launched to identify and quarantine anyone who came into contact with the patient. 

In his pesak, Rav Zilberstein emphasized that patients must not only answer the phone on Shabbos but must answer all questions asked of them and allow themselves to be transferred from their home according to the instructions of the medical professionals.  

The Rav also said that the health professionals are permitted to notify patients of the need to self-quarantine on Shabbos. “It’s permissible to announce through a loudspeaker or other means through a nochri,” Rav Zilberstein wrote.

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)


  1. Curious. If the person is not seriously ill, why should they care about whether they are or are not positive for Covid 19, unless the only reason for taking the test is to know if they can engage in behavior likely to infect others. On the other hand, if the person is seriously ill, how will their treatment vary given that Covid 19 has no ready course of treatment other than treating symptoms, which you would do anyways. The decision to rush the person to the hospital is based on the symptoms (particularly if they are having trouble breathing), and whether they do or do not have Covid 19 is irrelevant since under current conditions, the hospital staff treating difficulty breathing will act the same regardless of the cause.

  2. Kol hakovod to Rav Zilberstein and others who are offering this practical and common sense guidance to the frum tzibur. Sometimes, it appears these are obvious decisions but it always helps to have the confirmation for those who are machmir on these types of issues and feel less tension when they are told their actions are “ok” al pi halacha.

  3. לאפרושי מאיסורי!!! this פסק is only for the עולם in א”י, one may not חלילה apply this היתר here in America.

  4. I am sorry that YWN doesn’t screen out akuperma’s many comments on this issue. Yes, it’s nice to allow for everyone to post their own brilliant ideas, but sometimes too much is just too much. I’m sure most informed readers understand the gravity of what is going on, but many readers here are not particularly informed, and will be swayed by silly posts like these. I know he means well, but these comments and those elsewhere on this matter will lead people to take lightly a serious matter, thus contributing to sakanas nefashose.