Sep 14, 2020

Rav Lau's guidance for Yomim Noraim and CoronaVirus

Chief Rabbi Rav Dovid Lau has issued some guidance and instruction for the Yomim Noraim under lockdown and in the shadow of CoronaVirus dangers.

To start with, Rav Lau is not happy with the suggestions of shortening davening and cutting out piyyutim. Rav Lau said that if you love Hashem, cut out some of your sleep and get up earlier in the morning (presumably to daven), but dont cut out parts of davening even if the conditions are not optimal.

Regarding specific guidance, Rav Lau says everyone must adhere fully to the rules of the Ministry of Health. Services in shul can only be in accordance with the guidelines set.

Rav Lau said, seemingly in opposition to his feelings expressed in the previously quoted article, that when possible it is appropriate to ease up on the long and lengthy prayers.

Shuls should plan in advance and register people who will come to daven so the gabbaim can arrange the seating and proper spacing. Care should be taken to ensure space is left for people who did not register in advance.

in large shuls, the congregation should be divided into multiple minyanim.

Wherever services are held, space should be allocated for women who want to participate

Services held outdoors must have full shade provided and drinks available

Shuls should have necessary items for hygiene such as alcogel, masks and tissues and paper towels for wiping hands.

Davening can be shortened by omitting piyutim, many of which are omitted anyway. Each shul rabbi should decide for his own shul which ones, based on minhag and eida.

Chazzanim should not draw out the davening and should not repeat words, which is never a good thing

minimize the "mi shebeirachs" said for the people who get aliyahs to the Torah. minimize time used for selling aliyahs, and preferably sell them before the holiday.

Start the davening early int he morning to avoid cutting out parts of davening. Stick to posted times and finish on time

Where davening is held outdoors, it is good to have a kiddush so people can eat a little and drink before the shofar blowing

Blowing the shofar causes spittle to be sprayed around, risking spread of the virus. Do not pass the shofar among people without sterilizing it first. The shofar blower should stand at a distance from the person calling out the blasts and from the rest of the people as well.

All 100 blasts should be blown, except for sick people.

Each shul should take care to ensure shofar blowing for people int eh community who are at high risk and unable to go to shul.

Tashlich should be said but people should not gather together for it. It can be said at a distance form the water, and there is no need to gather with other people right next to it

On Tzom Gedaliah, people with CoronaVirus should not fast, even if asymptomatic. Anyone in quarantine who feels fine should fast. If not feeling well, should not fast






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4 comments:

  1. You wrote --> Rav Lau is not happy with the suggestions of shortening davening and cutting out piyyutim. Rav Lau said that if you love Hashem, cut out some of your sleep and get up earlier in the morning (presumably to daven), but dont cut out parts of davening even if the conditions are not optimal.
    MY QUESTION ---> Am I missing something? I thought the purpose of reducing the number of piyutim has nothing to do with SLEEP, but rather the need to reduce the amount of time that people are in close quarters with each number, to reduce the spread of the virus. Scientifically, there is a concept call viral load -- being exposed to a small quantity of virus is VERY different than being exposed to a large quantity. Also, the singing ALSO has nothing to do with sleep. Instead, an infected (G-d forbid) singing person is MUCH more likely to distribute into the air virus-containing droplets than someone who is davening quietly - i.e. MANY in the scientific community think that singing is much more likely to spread the disease. Once again, this is not related to sleep. Am I missing something?
    IMPORTANT QUESTION -- Who gave the Rav the scientific information upon which to base his psak? Was this information vetted and/or published? I assume that noone expects the Rav to be a scientist - instead, this information must be brought to his attention.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think it's in response to outdoor minyanim trying to shorten things so that they're done before it gets too hot. Otherwise the "get up earlier" suggestion seems irrelevant.

      Delete
    2. IMPORTANT QUESTION -- Who gave the Rav the scientific information upon which to base his psak?
      Rav Lau is in regular communication with experts in the Ministry of Health, they consult with him before making declarations about how minyanim, funerals, or other religious activities should run, and he consults with them before making health recommendations.

      Part of his job is to be the advisor to the government on matters related to religion.

      Delete

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