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Déjà Vu? Purim Could Spur New Outbreak In Chareidi Sector, Israel’s Covid Czar Fears

Coronavirus czar Prof. Nachman Ash said on Tuesday that he’s extremely concerned that Purim could lead to a new coronavirus outbreak in the Chareidi sector.

Ash, in an online press briefing, said that although the infection rate in Chareidi communities has been declining, it is still very high, with tests showing an almost 20% positivity rate, more than double than that of the general population. Ash added that 90% of Chareidim diagnosed with the coronavirus are carrying the British variant.

“We’re nearing the month of Adar but this year we need to rejoice differently while preserving kedushas haChaim,” Ash said.

“We recall with great pain what happened last Purim and the most recent outbreak in the Chareidi sector is the result of gatherings on Chanukah. We need to prevent an outbreak this Purim. It’s possible to rejoice with responsibility. We don’t need to pay for simchas Purim with human life.”

Health officials are discussing an outline for Purim regulations this year. According to a Channel 20 News report, the regulations will be similar to that of the Yamim Noraim, with up to 20 people allowed in shuls for Parshas Zachor and Kriyas Megillah.

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)

3 Responses

  1. 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.

  2. 147
    There may be, perhaps, possibly, a heter to here Megilla over Zoom, but it’s very doubtful any Rov would allow.
    Fasting on Erev Pesach is FAR less stringent, Megilla (at least by day) is almost a d’oraisa. No comparison! (according to Halacha a person must spend up to 1/5th of all his wealth if nesc. in order to do the mitzva of Megilla, some say even ALL his possessions, like Menorah on Chanuka!!

    However, if you are concerned (eg. high risk) then there should be a number of other options, you just need to brainstorm. Might not be easy or so practical, but important.

    1) someone can read it to you (loud) outside your window or door. Many people did this for Shofar.
    2) you can walk the almost dead streets very late at night / early morning, and meet someone somewhere where you can both keep a healthy distance (eg. 4mr) , besides masks.

    I dont know where you live but if needed i am happy to try and make things work for you.

  3. 147, I wouldn’t say listening to Megilla over zoom “works”. As another commenter pointed out, most reputable Rabbonim don’t encourage it and aren’t just easily giving a ‘green light’ for it. Better for you to lein the megillah yourself, give tzedaka to a shul/yeshiva/organization to come to your home to lein it for you,. Pikuach Nefesh has many requirements, and there are many ways to properly and halachically hear the megillah reading without putting your life in danger. Let’s not cheapen the word “Pikuach Nefesh”. I’ve always said that Purim has more shtusim than mitzvos. Outside of megillah, shaloch manos (will be only delivered for 1 family this year), and matanos L’evyonim (contribute online)— the day should be spent preparing for shabbos.

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