Purim 5781: A Time For Mindfulness And Care

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As we prepare for this upcoming Purim, we can remind ourselves how this past year might have been different had we only known last Purim what we know now. We now do know, however, that Purim has the potential to be a “super-spreader” of the terrible pandemic, and are required to think of our neighbors’ and family members’ health and safety with great gravity and concern, especially as more highly infectious strains of the COVID-19 virus are proliferating.

We are, by now, all well-schooled in proper safety guidelines; in case anyone needs a reminder, please see here for the latest CDC guidance.

Based on consultation with our rabbinic leadership and medical specialists, the Agudah is providing the following recommended guidelines for the upcoming Purim. Specific areas that require mindfulness and care this year include:

  • Heightened Public Scrutiny: It is critical to remind ourselves that the eyes of the world are upon us, and will likely be watching us closely this Purim. Acting appropriately in public is always important; how much more so this Purim.
  • Mesibos and Seudos: Community Purim seudos, mesibos, or other gatherings, even with appropriate precautions, should be avoided.
  • Megillah Reading: Depending upon circumstances, and under the guidance of local rabbonim, shuls should consider adding extra sessions of Megillah reading to ensure that everyone can hear the Megillah without dangerous overcrowding.
  • Collecting and Distributing Tzedakah: Both givers and collectors of tzedakah funds in each community should minimize contact and social interaction this Purim. Of course, matanos l’evyonim and tzedakah should remain at least at the same level as previous years. Bochurim should not go out in groups to collect money. Mosdos whose talmidim usually circulate through communities might consider, this year, setting up a phone bank where the bochurim can call the yeshiva’s supporters for donations.
  • Drinking: In light of the extra need to be careful with COVID-19 transmission, and with the imperative of avoiding chillul Hashem, it is even more important that bochurim, and those hosting them, follow the established guidelines of the gedolim about not getting drunk on Purim, available here.
  • Mishloach Manos: In fulfilling the mitzvah of mishloach manos, it would be prudent to limit our mishloach manos giving and to minimize social interaction with the people to whom we give.
  • Suspected Illness: Anyone suspected positive for COVID-19 or who has been exposed to COVID-19 must not go to shul, regardless of past COVID-19 history or vaccination status. Consult with your rav on how to fulfill the mitzvos of Purim while keeping the appropriate doctor-approved precautions.

May we be zoche to observe Purim this year properly and safely with a full measure of simchah shel mitzvah!


3 COMMENTS

  1. Huge pleitzos are needed , to make decisions like these affecting the tzibur and specificly the aniyim. The question here is are these recommendations from the gedolim..or what the lay leadership believes is prudent and necessary. I plan to respectfully approach 2 moetzes or nesius members to find out what was the process.. to throw in a one line tzedaka should be at the same level…is lip service. A yochid has every right not to open his doors if he seems it unsafe. As far as the media ..we are on such a diff planet..in Aug a goy professor stopped me in Pennsylvania and asked me if I would let my 12 year old daughter drink water on tisha beav.. I tried explaining…temple..he was so angry there was nothing I could say ..hofach libom lisno amo

  2. I’m working this Purim, and my kids will attend daycare. On Purim day, shacharis will take about 90 minutes ( will be back at the computer around 7:30), shaloch manos is to 1 person only, and matanos Levyonim will be an online payment. I’ll eat a corned beef sandwich for lunch, and prepare for shabbos. THAT is how Purim should be celebrated this year, no more, no less.

  3. I shall listen to Megilla over zoom:- This is a necessary Hora’as Shoah, in deference to Pikuach Nefesh, just as listening to a Siyum last year Erev Pessach over zoom and then being able to eat was a Hora’as Shoa, but worked.