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Feb 15, 2021

Interesting Psak: Guidelines for Purim and Zachor in the wake of CoronaVirus - women should not hear Zachor!

Behazit is reporting on a major psak just issued by Chief Rabbi Rav Yitzchak Yosef.

Rav Yosef met this afternoon with the CoronaVirus Czar Nachman Ash to work out protocols and issues for the upcoming Parshat Zachor in light of CorroaVirus, and to ensure some consideration would be taken for the religious when setting the regulations for the holiday.

The agreement they arrived at led Rav Yosef to issue the following guidelines and piskei halacha in relation to Parshat Zachor.

1. the first reading of Zachor in shul should be done with a bracha, before and after, as normal. The Torahs should be taken out after davening for additional readings, but brachas should not be said. They can also do readings later in the afternoon. Multiple readings should be arranged to avoid large gatherings of people.

2. children under the age of 16, who are not vaccinated or recovering from Corona, should have a minyan arranged just for them for reading Zachor, so they will not put adults in a situation of risk or danger.

3. for Parshat Para - the minyan should be divided into multiple minyanim to avoid congregation of large crowds.

4. women should not be machmir this year to hear Zachor, so as to avoid congregating. This year they can rely on the opinions in halacha that exempt women from hearing Zachor. Women who normally go to hear Zachor do not need hatarat nedarim this year.

5. children below the age of 13 are exempt this year from hearing Zachor. They should read the portion of Zachor at home from a chumash, for chinuch purposes

6. megilla on Purim must be heard from a proper scroll, and not via radio, zoom, or other similar methods. Additional minyanim should be arranged to accommodate everyone without congregation of crowds. People arranging readings for women should do so according to the guidelines.

7. the Purim seuda, on Friday in most places and on Sunday in Jerusalem, should only be held with the nuclear family and as small as possible. You should explain to extended family that because of the situation around the world the halacha is to avoid groups of people

8. for mishloach manot, people should make do with the minimum of halachic requirements of two portions to two people, and should not send out a lot to a lot of people as might be done in normal years.

9. matanot laevyonim - two gifts to two poor people, and this year people should try to give more, and people should try to transfer via bank transfers rather than giving directly

10. yeshiva bochurim who normally go fundraising for the yeshiva "tatim" should not go this year but should make do with sending out requests by mail and telephone and request bank transfers.

11. all Purim parties should be cancelled. In all yeshivas and all institutions. Purim celebrations should be held only with immediate family at home.

12. People should get vaccinated as soon as possible and not listen to those who confuse the public taking responsibility for issues of pikuach nefesh against the daas torah and against halacha


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  1. Acc. to many Rishonim, there is no obligation to hear it read from a sefer Torah even for men. Certainly not for women. But they can read it from a chumash at home.

    Acc. to some, the leining on Purim morning (VaYavo Amalek) counts for the mitzvah. I assume the women are going to hear Megillah, so they can hear the kriah then too.

    1. Hearing it in Beshalach or Ki Teitzi also counts.

      Note that the keriah is on Shabbat in Jerusalem this year, not on Friday.

  2. I thought Mishloach Manot was to one person...

    1. I was wondering that too. I suspected it might be a mistake in communication and confusion with mataot laevyonim but I now just saw the original letter form the rav and that's what it says. I am adding it to the post


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