What Did Harav Chaim Kanievsky Tell The M.D. Who Wanted To Learn Torah For An Hour A Day?


Dr. Meshulam Hart is a well-known and respected pediatrician in Bnei Brak and is also considered the doctor of gedolei Yisrael.

In the last month and a half, Dr. Hart has become known as the address for any medical information related to the coronavirus, B’Chadrei Chareidim reported. He was also asked by the Gedolei Hador to advise yeshivas and Talmudei Torah and ganim how to safely re-open and has published instructions on this topic for the public.

Since the coronavirus pandemic began spreading around the world, Dr. Hart has been receiving thousands of telephone calls every day from all over Israel and the world asking for his advice.

In light of how incredibly busy Dr. Hart has been in recent weeks, he asked HaRav Chaim Kanievsky a unique shaila. The shaila and the teshuvah was published in a weekly pamphlet that publishes Harav Chaim’s Torah.

“I have a set chavrusa in the afternoon every day on which I never concede,” Dr. Hart said. “We learn every day for at least an hour. However, in the past few weeks, the telephone rings every minute with people calling for advice. It’s gotten to the point where I can’t even learn one sentence in the Gemara.”

“I sent a shaila to Harav Chaim if I can shut off my phone at least while I learn…I’m also mechuyav in Talmud Torah.”

“Pay close attention to what Harav Chaim answered me,” said Dr. Hart. “I heard the answer myself by telephone. He heard the shaila, thought for a long while and then uttered one word: ‘Chessed.'”

“Zehu,” said Dr. Hart. “Doing chessed with Jews comes before learning Torah now. That word caused me to strive to answer every call possible and daven and plead with Hakadosh Baruch Hu that He should already bring a refuah shelimah l’cholei amcha.”

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)


  1. given the context , of how dangerous covid was/is & the fact that very few docs of his caliber have the trust of the charedi tzibur. DOES ANYONE EVEN HEAR THE SHAALOH? devorim peshutim that this zman is a yotzei min haklal

  2. This actually a clear-cut ruling in Hilchos Talmud Toirah – but only for a short period. It may not be relied upon in the long term. The rationale behind the psak is that since (one would hope) the doctor recites Eizeh Meqomon etc, he has technically fulfiled his quota of study for the day (provided he has a basic grasp of its content).However, I remain somewhat perplexed by including it under the category of chesed. Someone who is qualified to heal, or advise in healing, has a separate obligation to do so. All the more when in these times, there are questions relating to pikuach nefesh.

  3. Considering the fact that there are 1,440 minutes in a 24 hour period, “thousands of phone calls every day” sounds a bit high. If I told you once I told you a million times, don’t exaggerate 🙂

  4. Now, THIS is newsworthy. This is indeed a Psak which only a true Gadol can give. THIS is what YWN should be always posting first and foremost.

  5. ‘He was also asked by the Gedolei Hador to advise yeshivas and Talmudei Torah and ganim how to safely re-open and has published instructions on this topic for the public’.

    This is very disturbing. He was asked ‘how to safely re-open’?. That implies that it is for sure safe to re-open. Is that a definite fact? Do we know for sure that it is completely safe to re-open, and the only question is ‘How’? Im not sure its completely safe to re-open, just that there are safer ways and less safer ways.
    Im wondering if he was asked if its actually safe to re-open. And if he was asked, and he replied ‘no, it’s not safe yet’, what would have happened?
    Im assuming that, as usual, theres a lot of pressure applied to answer ‘appropriately’, and then if something goes wrong, those that asked will scream ‘but we got the ok from the doctors!’