Chief Rabbi Lau Instructs Israelis How To Fulfill Mitzvos Purim In Isolation, Chief Rabbi Yosef Composes Special Tefillah


As up to 100,000 Israelis self-quarantine the week before Purim, Chief Rabbi Dovid Lau has been inundated with shailas from Israelis on how to fulfill the mitzvah of Purim in isolation.

Rav Lau gave clear instructions for how Israelis, both in quarantine and not in quarantine, should fulfill the mitzvah of Purim in an interview with Ynet.

Rav Lau called on the general public who are not in quarantine not to let fear of the coronavirus keep them from attending shul on Purim and listening to the Megillah, while stressing that those in quarantine must follow the instructions of the Health Ministry and are forbidden to attend shul.

“Someone who is in quarantine and lives on the ground floor or first floor can listen to the Megillah from the courtyard of the building through an open window,” Rav Lau said. “If there are only nine men in the courtyard, he cannot be counted as part of the minyan, but if there’s ten men in the courtyard, he is definitely considered as part of the minyan and has fulfilled his obligation.”

“What should people do if they live on a high floor if there’s no one who will read the Megillah to those in quarantine?

“In such a case one can bring the Megillah to the person in quarantine, wrap it in plastic wrap and he can read it to himself, even without the accents [te’amim]. As opposed to reading the Torah, one is allowed to read the Megillah with a chatzitza of plastic wrap. After the Megillah is removed from the quarantined room, one can disinfect the plastic wrap without damaging the klaf.”

Harav Lau emphasized that “one cannot fulfill their obligation by listening to the Megillah broadcast live through a cell phone, radio or television since the halachic obligation is to listen to the actual voice of the person reading the Megillah. The voice is translated into electric signals [on a live broadcast] and then is translated back to the voice and since it’s not the original voice, the obligation is not fulfilled.”

“Does this halacha apply only to men or also to women?”

“Women are obligated in kriyas ha’Megillah like men and therefore if a woman is in quarantine one should make an effort to enable her to hear the Megillah like a man.”

How can a person in quarantine fulfill the mitzvah of Mishloach Manot and Matanos La’Evyonim?

According to halacha, a person can appoint a shaliach to fulfill a mitzvah. Therefore when the person’s shaliach delivers the mishloach manot, it’s as if the person himself did it. The shaliach can also receive mishloach manot for the person who appointed him and also can fulfill the mitzvah of matanos la’evyonim for the person.”

“The shaliach can be a relative – woman or man or child – or a neighbor or friend. What is important is the result – at the moment the shaliach gives over the mishloach manot or gives the money to the poor in the name of the person, the person fulfills the mitzvah.”

Rav Lau added that “an important halacha in this issue that everyone should know and is connected to dinei Shabbos is that ‘Pikuach nefesh docheh Shabbos.'”

“I received many inquiries about what one should do in the case of safeik pikuach nefesh. For example, if someone has a fever or cough on a regular Shabbos, it’s classified as a ‘safeik rachok” of pikuach nefesh and therefore there’s no need to hurry to the emergency room or call MDA. But when someone’s fever or cough worsens and there’s a chance that it may be the coronavirus, this is included in the classification of ‘safeik pikuach nefesh.’ Therefore in the case of older adults, whose risk of getting ill and being harmed is higher, it’s forbidden to hesitate and one should dial MDA even on Shabbos to clarify if the patient needs special care or quarantine.

“It’s also definitely worthwhile to daven to Hakadosh Baruch Hu for the residents of Eretz Yisrael and the whole world and to hope that a cure for the coronavirus will be found soon.”

Chief Rabbi Yitzchak Yosef composed a special tefillah for the cessation of the coronavirus that one should say when the Aron Kodesh is opened on Shabbos, Monday and Thursday when the Sefer Torah is removed.

“יהי רצון מלפניך ה’ אלוקינו ואלוקי אבותינו, שתתמלא ברחמים על כל יושבי תבל, ועל יושבי הארץ זו, והגן עליהם מכל גזירות קשות ורעות המתרגשות ובאות לעולם, ותצילנו מכל נגע מגפה חולי ומחלה. וכל החולים שנדבקו במחלה תרפאם רפואה שלימה

“לך ה’ הגדולה והגבורה והתפארת והנצח וההוד, כי כל בשמים ובארץ לך ה’ הממלכה והמתנשא לכל לראש, ואתה בידך נפש כל חי ורוח כל בשר איש, ובידך כח וגבורה לגדל ולחזק ולרפא אנוש עד דכה, עד דכדוכה של נפש, ולא יפלא ממך כל דבר

“לכן, יהי רצון מלפניך הא-ל הנאמן אב הרחמים, הרופא לכל תחלואי עמו ישראל, אתה רופא נאמן, תשלח מרפא וארוכה ותעלה ברוב חסד וחנינה וחמלה לכל החולים שנדבקו במחלה הזאת, אנא ה’ יהמו נא רחמיך על כל יושבי תבל, ועל כל עמך ישראל, עמוד נא מכסא הדין ושב על כסא הרחמים, ותכנס לפנים משורת הדין, ותבטל מעלינו כל גזרות קשות ורעות, “וַיַעֲמֹד פִּנְחָס וַיְפַלֵּל וַתֵּעָצַר הַמַּגֵּפָה”, וגזור עלינו גזירות טובות ישועות ונחמות למען רחמיך, ותקרע רוע גזר דיננו, וייקראו לפניך זכיותינו, קומה עזרתה לנו ופדינו למען חסדיך

“שמע נא לקול תחינתנו, כי אתה שומע תפלת כל פה, ברוך שומע תפלה. יהיו לרצון אמרי פי והגיון לבי לפניך ה’ צורי וגואלי, ויתקיים בנו מקרא שכתוב “כָּל הַמַּחֲלָה אֲשֶר שַֹמְתִּי בְמִצְרַיִם לֹא אָשִֹים עָלֶיךָ כִּי אֲנִי ה’ רֹפְאֶךָ”, אמן

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)