Halachot Related to Coronavirus
All rabbinim agree that one should be cautious with all the health guidelines and social distancing set up by the government and other local institutions in order to stay safe and help prevent getting others sick. Coronavirus, as it causes a serious health threat to some people, inhibits any social gatherings and semachot, and has severely damaged the economy and livelihood of certain people, poses a serious challenge to everyone. We all need to daven and take advantage of the circumstances in order to best serve Hashem. As a thoughtful Jew, it is incumbent upon a person to take to heart some important lessons of life and re-strengthen himself in his commitments.  Additionally, on a practical level, COVID19 has many implications for people, and below is a small collection of the relevant halachot.
- 1 Outside Minyanim
- 2 Tefillah
- 3 Minyan via Porches or Technology
- 4 Netilat Yadayim
- 5 Early Shabbat
- 6 Shabbat Davening
- 7 Hagomel
- 8 Bedikat Chametz and Biur Chametz
- 9 Selling Chametz
- 10 Buying for Pesach
- 11 Kitniyot
- 12 Kashering for Pesach
- 13 Pesach Davening
- 14 Machine Matza
- 15 Eruv Tavshilin and Eruv Chatzerot
- 16 Birchat Ha'ilanot
- 17 Tanit Bechorot
- 18 Birkat Halevana
- 19 Chol Hamoed
- 20 Using Zoom for the Seder
- 21 Sefirat Haomer
- 22 Shavuot
- 23 The Three Weeks
- 24 Mikveh
- 25 Tevilat Kelim
- 26 Brit Milah
- 27 Naming a Girl
- 28 Pidyon Haben
- 29 Bar Mitzvah's
- 30 Weddings
- 31 Fast Days
- 32 Mezuzah
- 33 Shalom Bayit
- 34 Laid off Workers and Cancelled Contracts Because of Corona
- 35 Yeshiva Tuition
- 36 Bikur Cholim
- 37 Burial and Mourning
- 38 Kibbud Av Vem
- 39 Violating Shabbat for Pikuach Nefesh
- 40 Doctors Working in the Hospital
- 41 Mesira and Rodef
- 42 Links
- 43 Sources
- There is a great discussion among rabbis where, when, and how to have minyanim while there is still a concern of the virus spreading. The OU's policy is to allow outdoor minyanim 2 weeks after the local government allows it. Every person should follow his rabbi.
- It is permitted to pray outdoor and the minyan can join together as long as they can see each other and hear the Shaliach Tzibbur. As long as there are no walls between them they can join together even over a large area. There shouldn't be a public thoroughfare in between in the middle of the minyan.
- In some places the rabbis set up a policy to begin davening at Barchu to shorten the time that the minyan joins together. In such a case, there are few options how Tefillin can be put on:
- Ideally, Tefillin can be put on in the area where they will daven. But this might not be an option if there isn't time to put on Tefillin and daven Psukei Dzimra in that place before Barchu.
- Tefillin can be put on at home and then one would walk with the Tefillin on to the Shul. One should be very careful to be cognizant of the Tefillin while one is walking. Some say that a person shouldn't walk with tefillin on from one's house if the streets aren't clean or that there are non-Jews on the streets.
- Another option is to say Psukei Dzimra at home with or without Tefillin and then come to shul without Tefillin and put it on between Psukei Dzimra and Barchu.
- It is permitted to place the Tefillin inside of the Tefillin bag upon the ground but ideally one should put them on top of another plastic bag or another item. Even though it isn't a tefach off the ground it is fine since they are inside of a double wrapping.
- Technically it is permitted to wear tefillin over gloves.
- All the aliyot can be given to the baal koreh himself and then maftir is skipped.
- Some say that there's an alternative to have other people get an aliyah and stand 6 feet away even if they can't see the words of the sefer torah.
- Regarding consecutive aliyot for father and son it is permitted but it is only ayin hara and for this situation it is acceptable. It is acceptable for the father to get aliyot in one sefer and the son for maftir since maftir is separated with a kaddish.
When davening at home one should be cognizant of the following ideas:
- The best time to pray is Netz. According to many poskim this is equivalent to praying with a minyan.
- A person should daven in a makom kavuah.
- It is preferable to daven with two people instead of one.
- A person should daven in front of a wall so that there's no distractions in front of him.
- A person can and should daven near a window that serves as a means of being inspired to look towards heaven.
- A person can daven Shemona Esrei aloud if it helps his kavana. It also serves as a role model for children.
- A person shouldn't daven in a room that is usually used for frivolity.
- A person shouldn't daven in front of an open bathroom.
- At a time of a plague such as our times it is advisable to say ketoret which has the power to end a plague.
- According to some, at this time a person should recite Avinu Malkenu in Shacharit and Mincha, while others emphasize how one must focus on Teshuvah and reciting all parts of the regular seder haTefillah first. Avinu Malkenu should not be recited during Nissan.
- Eating a meal before davening when the time comes to daven a certain tefillah should be avoided since generally we are lenient about this since we go to established minyanim but for when that isn't possible we should be more strict about this. See details here about eating and doing activities before davening.
- When davening as a family, in a temporary fashion, some hold that it isn't necessary to have a mechitza and the men and women can simply daven on different sides of the room. One should be at least 4 amot away from a person of the other gender during Shemona Esrei. See Mechitza for more details.
- A person shouldn't forget to recite Birkat Halevana by themselves when they see the moon. It can be said from indoors. See Birkat Halevana page for details.
Parts of Davening to Skip
- On Friday night an individual doesn't recite Magen Avot after Shemona Esrei of Maariv. However, one should recite Vayechulu.
- One doesn't recite Baruch Shemey when praying by oneself since it is part of the activity of removing the Sefer Torah.
Minyan via Porches or Technology
- It is forbidden to have a minyan in person whether it is in a shul, shteibel, home, or backyard. There is an exemption from tefila in a minyan due to the danger of the pandemic.
- If there ten people standing on their own porches and can see one another, some say that one can not create a minyan in such a manner, while others hold that one can.
- You can't create a minyan with a video (e.g. zoom or skype) or phone call but one can join a minyan of ten men in one room with a video or phone call in order to answer dvarim shebekedusha.
- It isn't considered a minyan for people to join together to daven on a video conference but it is still spiritually valuable.
- Even if there is a time delay between the person reciting the bracha and the one answering it that wouldn't be considered an Amen Yetoma.
- If there is a minyan in some place and someone hears on the phone or video a live stream some poskim allow them to answer kaddish, kedusha, and modim derabbanan, though for kedusha they should intend that they are saying it as psukim.
- There is a major dispute if a person could fulfill their mitzvah of listening to the megillah on the phone or through watching a live streamed video. Some rabbanim advised this, while others hold that one can't fulfill one's mitzvah at all. See this topic explained more fully here: Brachot_Through_a_Microphone.
Mechitza for Outdoor Minyanim
- Technically an outdoor minyan which isn't permanent doesn't require a mechitza, however, everyone should be at least 4 amot away from the opposite gender.
- If a person wants to wash his hands with soap and wash Netilat Yadayim for a meal, one should first wash Netilat Yadyaim for the meal, dry the hands, recite the bracha, and then wash one's hands with soap and then recite the Hamotzei.
- If a family wants to accept Shabbat early they may do so but should be careful that they recite mincha before Plag Mincha and arvit afterwards. See When_Is_the_Earliest_and_Latest_Time_to_Pray?#Maariv_Before_Sunset_If_One_Davened_Mincha_Early.
- The acceptance of Shabbat of the husband doesn't impinge upon the wife so that she must accept Shabbat at the same time. Similarly, the wife's acceptance isn't binding for the husband. Additionally, the one who hasn't yet accepted Shabbat can do melacha for the one who did accept Shabbat.
- Although the reason for reciting Shalom Alechem on a Friday night is that the angels accompany you home from shul and you welcome them to your home, if one was unable to attend shul on a Friday night, he would still sing Shalom Alechem.
Davening for the Sick or Tehillim
- It is generally prohibited to daven on Shabbat for our needs or for the well-being of a sick person. However, if the person is in a state of mortal danger one may daven for his well-being on Shabbat. See Shabbat_Davenings#Personal_Requests for all of the details of this topic.
- Some say that one should say an extra paragraph of Tehillim at every davening and on Shabbat to repeat Mizmor Shir Lyom Hashabbat after davening.
- A person who is at home and can't be at shul should nonetheless read the parsha from a chumash between Shacharit and Mussaf as a way of remembering the concept of kriyat hatorah. He can use that reading as part of his reading of Shenayim Mikra Vechad Targum. Some think this doesn't accomplish anything.
- When the congregation misses a kriyat hatorah they can make it up by reading two parshiyot next week in Shul. However, if they miss multiple weeks there is a discussion if they should or could make up all of the parshiyot that they missed. Some poskim advised making up the missed readings as a praiseworthy stringency and if they can't do it in one week they should do it over many weeks.
- A person should not move a sefer torah out of a Shul for a home minyan. See Respecting_a_Sefer_Torah#Transporting_a_Sefer_Torah for more details.
- There still is an obligation of Shenayim Mikra Vechad Targum when the there is no congregation doing the Kriyat Hatorah in shul.
- One doesn't recite Baruch Shemey when praying by oneself since it is part of the activity of removing the Sefer Torah.
- A person davening alone doesn't have to recite Anim Zemirot.
- A person who was quarantined and got out of quarantine doesn't recite Hagomel since they were in no danger.
- A person needs to recite hagomel in front of a minyan of ten men. Some suggest that this can be recited before ten people listening on a video or phone call and can answer amen. Even though they aren't present, the minyan in this context is purely to publicize the idea so it is permissible. Others disagree and as long as the minyan isn't in the same room one can not recite hagomel.
- According to Ashkenazim, if a person is ill with a sickness to the point that he is a choleh sheyesh bo sakana, a concern of mortal danger, he should recite Hagomel, but if he less sick than that there is no need to recite Hagomel. Sephardic tradition is to recite Hagomel anytime someone was sick in bed such as with a flu or bad cold even for a short period of time.
- A person should do bedikat chametz after praying by oneself at Tzet Hakochavim and then immediately begin the bedika. They should not have a meal within a half hour of the bedika.
- Because one can't do a large communal Chametz burning because gatherings aren't safe and even doing it with a few people at a time can look to non-Jews as unsafe. Rather one should just do biur chametz with a Kezayit by flushing it down the toilet.
- A person should sell chametz in the house or office if he left there before he had the chance to do a bedikat chametz. By selling the chametz there he is absolving himself of having to do bedikat chametz.
- If a person doesn't usually sell chametz and is afraid that if he doesn't sell chametz one year he isn't going to have food afterwards he can sell his chametz. He wouldn't require a hatarat nedarim.
- A person can sell his chametz on the phone or online and if possible a kinyan can be made virtually in order to appoint the rabbi to sell the chametz. The kinyan would take place as follows: the rabbi would ask if there's someone standing next to the one who wants to appoint the rabbi and if there is then that person can give a pen or a utensil to the one who wants to appoint the rabbi as his shaliach. This is considered a valid kinyan between the person standing there and the one who wants to appoint the rabbi on behalf of the rabbi to be appointed. If that isn't feasible it isn't necessary. Nonetheless, one could stipulate in the document that this appointment of the rabbi is done with the full knowledge of its legal ramifications and it is accepted completely.
- There is no issue with the selling of Chametz even though the Chametz is in a locked building or in a place that isn't accessible to the non-Jew because of the coronavirus situation.
- Some poskim allow ordering chametz on Pesach if one is certain that it will only be delivered after pesach.
Buying for Pesach
- If you have raw chicken or raw meat you don't have to worry that it is chametz even if it was processed in a place where there was chametz. You can simply wash it off to solve any question.
- Sanitizing alcohol gel, such as Purell, isn't chametz since it isn't edible and can be used on Pesach.
- Out of a concern of the coronavirus, this year some poskim permit taking vitamins which have additives of kitniyot in order to stay healthy and to strength one's immune system.
- Someone with Crohn's disease and needs to drink an enriched milk with kiniyot additives for his health can do so on Pesach. Also, he can do so within 6 hours after eating meat (see Waiting between Meat and Milk).
- Some poskim allow kashering a dishwasher for Pesach even though there are plastic and other materials in there that are questionable to kosher. One should wait 24 hours without using it and then use with just hot water and no soap. According to Ashkenazim this should be used to kosher it from Chametz but not from meat to parve or milk or vice versa.
- Some hold that one can kasher plastic, while others disagree. See on the Kashering_the_Kitchen_for_Pesach#Which_materials_can_be_kashered.3F page.
Hallel Pesach Night
- There is a custom of Sephardic and some Ashkenazic communities to recite Hallel Pesach night in Shul. However, being that the current situation demands that a person needs to remain inside there is no way to fulfill this minhag and should not recite Hallel after davening. Rather one should only recite it at the Seder. Some Ashkenazic poskim would allow reciting a bracha.
- According to Sephardim, one should recite Hallel the night of the seder after davening with a bracha even though one is davening at home.
Shir Hashirim on Chol Hamoed
- Ashkenazim generally have the custom to read Shir Hashirim on Shabbat Chol Hamoed Pesach. This year since there is no minyanim available, when one davens at home individually, there is no obligation to read Shir Hashirim. One may do so but it isn't in fulfillment of the minhag.
- One can recite the piyut for tal on Pesach was only instituted for a congregation, however if one wants to recite it one may do so.
- In Mussaf everyone should stop saying Mashiv Haruach Umorid Hageshem and instead recite Morid Hatal because one is davening individually and one may not change from the practice of saying Mashiv Haruach of the congregation until the Shaliach Tzibur has done so and this year there are no minyanim switching at mussaf. After Mussaf, starting with Mincha, one should follow their regular minhag if they usually recite Morid Hatal or not. See Mashiv_HaRuach_UMorid_HaGeshem#When_to_Stop_Morid_Hageshem_and_Start_Tal for the background.
- For Sephardim, one may begin to recite Morid Hatal in Mussaf even though he praying individually and there is no minyan nearby.
- Ashkenazim generally say yizkor to mention the names of the deceased on the last days of Yom Tov. A person can say the yizkor even as an individual. The accepted practice is to recite both the paragraph of yizkor and the kel maleh rachamim even when praying without a minyan. If the community wants they can push up to do yizkor on Chol Hamoed with Zoom.
- It is permitted under extenuating circumstances to use machine matza for the mitzvah of eating matzah on the seder night.
- Some say that there's no concern to have the hand baked matzot this year.
- A rabbi should establish an eruv tavshilin on behalf of his whole community. Even though usually he acquires it to another person who isn't a family member on behalf of the community, this year because of social distancing one can acquire it to one's wife. 
- An eruv tavshilin works to allow cooking from Yom Tov to Shabbat even though it isn't possible to have guests in most cases.
- The communal eruv chatzerot continues to be effective even though the communal box of matzah's might not be accessible.
- It is permissible to wear a surgical mask on Shabbat outside and it isn't carrying as long as it is fastened well and won't fall off.
- One can recite birkat hailanot from indoors if one can see the trees but one may not recite them by seeing the trees on a video. See the Birchat HaIlanot for more details and sources.
- A person should try to finish a short masecheta to make his own siyum. Some say that learning one masechta with Bartenura is sufficient.
- Many poskim say that he can rely on a siyum over the phone or video livestream.
- Some say that in the event one can't make one's own siyum or even hear someone else's, one doesn't need to fast this year in order to maintain strength in this time of a health crisis.
- Ideally one should recite birkat halevana outdoors. If one can not do so one can recite Birkat Halevana from inside but initially one should open the window. See the Birkat HaLevana page.
- One can't buy stocks or sell them on Chol Hamoed, however, if not selling them could lead to a loss of one's original capital that one invested one can sell it.
- It is permitted to do art projects with children on Chol Hamoed.
See Chol Hamoed for many details.
Using Zoom for the Seder
- Although a minority of rabbis allow using Zoom for this emergency situation in a very extenuating circumstance where an elderly single person is alone for the seder away from family because of the quarantines to use technology to leave a video conference going for Yom Tov to join with a family seder, most rabbis consider this to be a breach of halacha. There is a discussion if the firstgroup of rabbis retracted.
- It is suggested to perform a pre-pesach zoom seder for people who you can't invite to your seder in order to share divrei torah, songs, and the experience of the seder before Yom Tov.
- For someone who is clinically depressed to the point that there is a concern of suicide or just losing one's mind it is permitted to use a phone to call him to cheer him up and check on him. However, if there's a way to check the patient before Pesach one should do so. A person should check with his rabbi in each case.
- A person should recite Ha lachma anya this year as one would any other year, even though that phrase is a call for inviting guests and this year that is impossible.
- If someone couldn't get a hair cut because the barbers were all closed before Pesach, then if one reached the point when it very noticeably long and people would tell him to get a haircut he can take a haircut during Sefira. Today it can be estimated that if it has been more than 2 months since his last haircut he can take a haircut during the Sefira.
- Some poskim permit someone to listen to music to help them get out a state of sadness or emotional distress. It is preferable in that situation to listen to music that doesn't lead to dancing.
- It is permitted to listen to music right before Shabbat in honor of Shabbat.
- An individual does not have to recite Rut when he is at home without a congregation, however, one may do so if one wants to.
- There is no minhag to say Akdamut when praying by oneself at home, however, one may do so if one wants to.
- There is no reason to adorn the house with flowers on Shavuot. The minhag was to adorn the Bet Midrash, around the entire area, or around the bimah in a Shul.
- Making early Yom Tov sheni is generally a dispute. Some allow starting Yom Tov Sheni early, while others oppose it so that a person doesn't come to violate preparing from the day of the first day of Yom Tov for the nighttime. Additionally, this year when the second day is Shabbat and there's no concern of preparing because of the Eruv Tavshilin, one can be lenient to start early. With regards to Shavuot there's another factor that perhaps one shouldn't start early the second night of Shavuot since the Kiddush needs to be on the actual date of Shavuot. Most are lenient and allow starting the second day of Shavuot early especially this year when the second day is Shabbat.
The Three Weeks
- As with every other year the discussion of shaving during the three weeks is equally relevant. Some are lenient for those who usually shave every day or every few days to shave once it is has been twice the amount of time that they would normally shave. Others hold that one may not shave during the three weeks. See here for the discussion.
- Each community rabbi needs to decide these sort of questions however in theory it is possible for the Mikva to remain open and allow women who aren't having symptoms or aren't quarantined to go to Mikva. They should be extra careful about hygiene and prepare completely at home, go to the Mikva where there is no contact with anyone besides a brief contact with the water which has chemicals for cleanliness. Then upon returning home there are poskim who allow the woman to take a shower when she gets home to clean herself off.
- On Shabbat, if a woman goes to mikveh she can not take a hot shower when she gets back since turning on the hot water is causing cold water to enter the boiler and cook. Rather she should either decide to take a completely cold shower or delay the mikveh until Motzei Shabbat. She should also not decide not to take a shower at all because one shouldn't do something unsafe when there's an option to delay going to mikveh.
- On Yom Tov, according to those who are lenient to permit showering on Yom Tov, when a woman returns from the mikveh should do so. Rav Schachter's opinion is that it is only permitted to take a shower on Yom Tov with water that is just hot enough to remove the chill from the water (less than lukewarm). If she decides she doesn't want to take such a shower, she should delay going to mikveh until after Yom Tov.
- The OU has established health guidelines in order to allow a mikveh to remain open.
- The RCBC also stated that Mikva's are remaining open for the time.
- The men's mikveh's should be closed at this time. Even if a person is careful to go to mikveh each day he can fulfill this custom by taking a 5 minute shower. See Preparations_for_Davening#Going_to_Mikveh for details.
- Each community should decide whether or not close the kli mikveh out of a safety concern. You can do the tevilat kelim in the ocean.
- Alternatively, one can use tevilat kelim in the mikvah while wearing gloves, then throw out the gloves, wash off the kelim with soap and water. If the community has other procedures for safety one should observe them.
- As a last resort one can avoid tevilat kelim by giving the pots to a non-Jew and borrowing them back. One can rely on this until the virus passes. If one can't sell or gift the pots to a non-Jew oneself one can do so online through Zomet.
- Another option is for a person to declare the pots that need tevilat kelim to be ownerless (hefker) in front of 3 Jews. One has to have full intent that the pots are ownerless and if someone took them one would have no claim upon them. If these Jews can't be there in person it is sufficient if they are present through social media technology but they should be people who live in the neighborhood. They should then leave the pots outside their house for a few minutes so that if someone wanted to take them they could.  Others disagree.
- If there's are no solutions, some poskim would allow using the pots without tevilat kelim in this extenuating circumstance.
- Regarding a seder plate and kos shel eliyahu requiring tevilah, see Tevilat Kelim page.
- A Brit Milah can be done without a minyan since gatherings aren't safe.
- A grandfather or someone else involved in a brit milah via zoom can recite the naming of the baby but he should not recite the bracha of asher kidash yadid mbeten.
Naming a Girl
- Although normally we try to name a baby girl at an aliya to the Torah, a person doesn't need a minyan in order to name a girl and under the circumstances should do so without delay.
- In order to do a Pidyon Haben the father has to give 5 shekalim (of the days of the Torah) to a kohen. If they can meet in a safe way while following all of the social distancing practices they should. If not, then the father should leave the money or equivalent outside his door for a neighbor to pick up on behalf of the kohen and that acts as a kinyan for the kohen to acquire the money. Then the father should video the kohen to recite the bracha and the rest of the text for the pidyon haben.
- The money to be used for the pidyon haben needs to the pidyon haben coins, silver, or any other valuable item which has actual worth. One can not use cash or check for this. These item collectively need to be worth 100 grams of silver. See the Pidyon Haben page for details.
- A message for Bar Mitzvah Boys in the Lockdown by Rabbi Pesach Krohn
- A bar mitzvah boy who missed the opportunity to read his parsha in shul when he became bar mitzvah'ed when it is next possible to go to shul he can add his parsha as a hosafa and read it then. Additionally, the haftorah can follow that hosafa. Some disagree and suggest instead that they could take out the sefer torah after davening mussaf and lein the parsha without brachot.
- The father of a Bar Mitzvah boy who couldn't layn should wait until he can do something that shows he's Bar Mitzvah like layn or daven as Shaliach Tzibbur to make such a bracha.
- Ideally a wedding shouldn't be pushed off if both parties are ready even though it means having a tiny wedding.
- A rabbi should not officiate at a wedding that isn't abiding by the CDC guidelines of health because he is furthering unsafe practices.
- It has been asked whether or not the poskim are more lenient this year regarding weddings during Sefira but the answer is that it is not determined because the situation is still unclear. Some are lenient but it is best to schedule for Rosh Chodesh.
- If in this dire situation it isn't possible to have a minyan, it is possible to have a wedding nonetheless without Sheva Brachot.
- A minyan for sheva brachot can not be created via Zoom. Additionally, one can't recite a bracha of sheva brachot for the couple via Zoom.
- If the rabbis declare a half fast day until Chatzot according to Ashkenazim an individual can recite Anenu in Mincha Shemona Esrei assuming he is still fasting when he prays Mincha. According to Sephardim one can only recite anenu if one fasts the entire day.
- A person should accept the fast from the day before, as is traditionally done at mincha time. If one didn't do so, according to Sephardim one shouldn't recite anenu, but according to Ashkenazim one can recite anenu.
- A person should not kiss any mezuzah, or any siddur or chumash of a shul or a public area at this time because of concern of spreading COVID19.
- It is critical to be mindful of other people when everyone is under stress and no one is completely comfortable. Dr. Pelcovitz discusses the implications quarantine can have Shalom Bayit.
- It is forbidden for a couple to have tashmish at a night of famine since everyone is in distress it is incumbent on everyone to take upon himself an aspect of distress. The same is true for any time of societal distresses. Others disagree.
- It is permitted to have tashmish on mikvah night.
- It is permitted to have tashmish for a couple who didn't yet fulfill pru urevu. Once his wife is pregnant this leniency doesn't apply.
- If he has a strong yetzer hara and there is a concern of hashchatat zera it is permitted.
- There is what to rely upon to have tashmish at a time of war and there is no midat chasidut to be strict, especially for young couples even for someone who fulfilled pru urevu.
- During the time then the plague of corona virus is rampant in the world there is a lot to rely upon to have tashmish. Someone who wants to be strict can do so.
Laid off Workers and Cancelled Contracts Because of Corona
- If there's a employee that is unable to work because of a societal or national crisis the employees should continue to be paid by the employers according to many opinions or at least they should make a compromise.
- This applies to contractors for cancelled events as well.
- If someone rented out an apartment to someone and then he wants to retract because of a concern that the potential tenants have the virus, some say that it is forbidden to back out of the contract. The same is true of a hotel or pesach program that was cancelled.
See previous section about the background for this question.
- Even though the question of whether a person should pay tuition while it is closed is subject to debate a person should make sure to pay in full as the yeshivot do not have enough money and it is critical to give tzedaka at this time, which is a great merit to protect oneself from any danger.
- A person doesn't have to and shouldn't visit someone who has a virus that contagious such as corona.
- A person fulfills the mitzvah of bikur cholim on the phone according to many poskim.
- Someone who is praying for a mortally ill patient to get better and doesn't know if he is still alive should pray for his well-being and not specifically for him to get better.
Burial and Mourning
- Each place should follow the guidelines that are in place for safety. If a minyan isn't possible, then the next thing that is to try to have is Jews doing the burial. If they don't even let that, then afterwards a Jew should check that the burial by the non-Jews was done properly in the ground.
- It is forbidden to cremate and it is still considered not dangerous to properly do a burial with no tahara and minimal involvement of the fewest people or simply the cemetery workers. Recently, the situation in NY changed and it is possible to do a minimal tahara with proper safety guidelines.
- At this time the chevra kadisha should not perform a tahara for the deceased since it could lead to danger.
- A person who was buried in America because of the corona virus but was planned to be buried in Israel can later when the virus isn't an issue be reburied in Israel, even though generally we don't rebury someone who was buried. See the topic of reburying a corpse in general.
- Regarding burials on Yom Tov and Yom Tov Sheni, see Rav Schachter's Guidlines for burial on Shabbat and Yom Tov
- The chevra kaddisha should make sure not to bury in a plastic bag. The proper procedure halachically is not to use a plastic bag or to tear it.
- The rabbi could do the Kriyah for the mourner with gloves and a mask or he can simply tell the mourner to do it.
- A person who is no going to be involved in the burial anymore because the deceased was given to the chevra kaddisha then he is not considered an Onen anymore and should begin Avelut (mourning). However, if he is going to call relatives to tell them about the levaya then he is still an Onen.. If he is going to watch the burial with Zoom or listen on the phone it is unclear if he is still an Onen.
- On Erev Pesach if someone is buried before Chatzot (midday) the relatives should observe Avelut (mourning) before Chatzot and then at Chatzot it is considered like a Yom Tov and the rest of the Shiva is cancelled. If the person is buried after Chatzot they should observe Avelut before Yom Tov and then the Yom Tov will come and cancel the rest of Shiva.
- A mourner shouldn't eat his first meal after the burial, the Seudat Havrah, from his own food; other should provide that food. If at this time when people are concerned for COVID19 and might not send food, if the mourner knows that he isn't going to be sent food, he can eat the first meal from his own food.
- A mourner whose relative isn't going to be buried for some undefined time because of the backlog at the cemetaries, once he completed preparing for the burial he isn't considered an Onen and also doesn't begin his period for mourning. However, if he knows the date of when the burial will begin and will not be able to be involved in the burial, he is considered to have begun his mourning period once he completed preparing for the burial.
Kaddish and Iyluy Neshama
- Under the circumstances a person can not recite the kaddish because minyanim aren't available. Therefore, a person should take upon himself to learn mishnayot for the deceased.
- If one's parents ask him to do something which the department of health has deemed unsafe a person should not listen to his parents in such a case and that isn't a breach of Kibbud Av Vem.
Violating Shabbat for Pikuach Nefesh
On Shabbat or Yom Tov, if anyone has any concern whatsoever that they are in serious danger because of deteriorating health, they should immediately call a doctor or go to the hospital.
- It is a well established halacha that it is not only permitted but even a mitzvah to violate Shabbat in order to safe a life or to remove a situation that presents even a slight chance of danger. The question is how to define the threshold of danger.
- In certain cases of emergency regarding corona virus it would be allowed to violate Shabbat. Obviously every single case is different and one should learn the laws of Pikuach Nefesh from a rabbi in advance.
- If a person is discharged from the hospital on Shabbat and they need him to leave because of the lack of space that they have because of the numbers of people who are ill, his family member can drive to get him. They should do a Shinuy when turning on the car like turning the key with one's weaker hand, or pressing the button on the key with one's knuckle. Also, when turning off the car one should use a Shinuy. However, a similar question regarding a nurse returning from the hospital on Shabbat some poskim say that she may not drive herself but rather should take a non-Jewish cab and just be careful when in and after leaving the taxi.
- If a relative is in the hospital and the family members would call the hospital that would indicate to the doctors and nurses that the family cares and the patient will receive better treatment, it is permissible to do so on Shabbat or Yom Tov.
Doctors Working in the Hospital
- Regarding the larger issue of halachic triage see Rav Schachter (Piskei Corona #15 Updated). Here is a relevant sourcesheet on Halachic Triage. Rav Asher Weiss (Teleconference April 6 2020, min 5-15) discusses triage in halacha and what doctors should do.
- A doctor may and is encouraged to perform a life saving procedure if he is wearing the correct protective gear.
- A doctor returning from the hospital on Shabbat and needs to shower for health reasons so as not to catch the corona virus on his body or clothing, may do so. If he can manage with a cold shower, he should do so. If he can't, he may turn on the hot water with a shinuy.
Mesira and Rodef
- If your doctor actually ascertains that there is a sakanat nefashot, mortal danger, involved with a certain large gathering that someone is doing then it is permitted to tell the authorities. However, otherwise it is forbidden because of informing upon another Jew (mesira). This can be a very difficult measure to actually properly assess. Some say that it is obligatory to be moser to the police on someone who is supposed to be in quarantine and isn't.
- Some hold that if a person is supposed to be in quarantine and they are not they are considered a rodef. However, obviously one should first speak to him and convince him to do what is safe.
- Rav Nevinsal Q&A about Corona
- Transcription of Q&A with Rav Schachter by Rabbi Dunner
- RCBC letter calling for the closing of Shuls and Schools
- TorahWeb hosts many resources for Corona halacha including Rav Schachter's Teshuvot
- KolCorona.com a Torah resource, initiated by Rabbi Reuven Taragin, for those affected by Corona
- Rav Aviner (Keter Yitnu Lecha p. 34) interestingly describes the sources in general about the Jewish view on handshaking and whether it is a Chukot Hagoyim. The poskim hold that in it isn't however, at this time it is forbidden because of the health concerns.
- Rav Yitzchak Yosef, Rav Hershel Schachter, Rav Asher Weiss (Teleconference March 22 2020), OU (March 20 2020), Rav Shmuel Fuerst (min 53), Rav Nevinsal, Rav Chaim Kanievsky, Rav Shlomo Aviner (Keter Yitnu Lecha p. 34), and RCBC letters. An article on kikar.co.il describes how the gedolim are currently davening privately including: the Gerre rebbe, Rav Shalom Kohen, Rav Gershon Edelstein, Rav Moshe Shternbuch, Rav Yitzchak Yosef, Sanser Rebbe, Rav Bakshi Doron, Rav Dovid Yosef, Bavian Rebbe, and Rav Sheiner.
- Endangering Oneself to Learn Torah: Ketubot 77b records and praises the practice of Reish Lakish to teach Torah to those ill with tzarat, some translate as leprosy, even though it is contagious. The gemara explained that he did so out of his love for Torah. Daf Al Hadaf cites Mishnat Pikuach Nefesh 69:7 who asks how Reish Lakish could endanger himself and rely on a miracle. He answers that the disease he was concerned with was only dangerous to health but not life threatening.
- Rambam Taniyot 1:1-3, Rav Reuven Epstein emphasizes that we need to take a lesson from corona since it overtly a hardship for Jews and humanity and a sign from Hashem. Rabbi Penner discussed how we can revitalize our strength in mitzvot at this time based on better appreciating the lessons of Shema. Rav Asher Weiss (Teleconference March 22, 2020) introduced his shiur by discussing how we can strengthen our commitment to Ben Adam Lchavero. Rav Aviner (Keter Yitnu Lecha) wrote many lengthy pieces on the hashkafic questions related to COVID19.
- Rav Asher Weiss ("Safek Bidud" Nissan 5780) wrote that a person who isn't sure if they were exposed to someone with the virus should quarantine since we are strict on safek nefashot.
- OU Policy (accessed June 3 2020).
- Rabbi Meir Twersky (in Hebrew and in English) wrote lengthily how important it is to be careful about health and there shouldn't be any minyanim until it is completely safe such as when vaccines are available. Doing so is endangering the lives of individuals and forbidden for the sake of davening with a minyan.
- OU Halacha Yomi June 15 2020 based on Minchat Yitzchak 2:44
- In general it is valuable to put on Tefillin at home and walk with them to shul (Shulchan Aruch 25:2, Yalkut Yosef 25:36). Yalkut Yosef 30:12 writes that if one is going to have to drive to shul it is better to put Tefillin on in Shul than at home and drive with them on since driving with them on is likely to cause a hesech hadaat from the tefillin, interruption of thought, and it is forbidden to have a hesech hadaat while wearing tefillin.
- Mishna Brurah 25:8. Piskei Teshuvot 25 fnt. 58 notes that today our streets are assumed to be clean but nonetheless the practice isn't to put on Tefillin at home and walk with them in the street to shul.
- Shulchan Aruch O.C. 53:3 writes that a person who just got their tallit shouldn't put it on between Psukei Dzimra and Yishtabach but rather between Yishtabach and Birchot Kriyat Shema. Mishna Brurah 53:6 cites the Eliya Rabba who says that the same is true of putting on Tefillin. Mishna Brurah 53:5 explains that it is acceptable to make the bracha upon wearing Tallit and Tefillin between the paragraphs of Psukei Dzimra but it shouldn't be said after one finishes Psukei Dzimra before Yishtabach. Rabbi Yosef Adler (accessed Jun 20, 2020) writes that one should put tefillin on and off for psukei dzimra at home and then come to shul.
- Rabbi Lebowitz on Tefillin in Outdoor Minyanim
- Rabbi Lebowitz on Tefillin in Outdoor Minyanim based on Rav Ovadia's teshuva that there's no chatzitza for the wrappings upon the hand.
- Rabbi Hoffman based on most rabbanim he spoke with thought that the baal koreh should get all of the aliyot. He also quoted Rabbi Zilberstein who opted to giving the aliyot to brothers consecutively as opposed to the baal koreh repeatedly. Rabbi Lebowitz quoted Rav Schachter that the baal koreh should take all of the aliyot without brachot and not have others come get an aliyah because of the danger having people not social distancing. Rav Shraga Kallus (at the end) agreed. The reason maftir is skipped is based on the Rama 282:5 who says that they shouldn't give the maftir which is repeating psukim to someone who already got an aliya. Mishna Brurah 282:29 clarifies that if there's no such person available they shouldn't do maftir since the sheviyi aliya can count as maftir. In such a case, Mishna Brurah writes that the Kadidsh should be done after haftorah and the one who got the sheviyi aliya should do haftorah. Rav Hershel Schachter (Piskei Corona #38) wrote that this practice of skipping maftir was to be followed for this situation.
- Rav Hartman explaining the position of Rav Shternbuch
- Rabbi Lebowitz was lenient and he also quoted Rav Asher Weiss being lenient.
- Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz, Laws of Praying Beyachid (Adar 5780) by Rabbi Yonatan Nacson p. 1 citing Yalkut Yosef 89:1
- Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz and Rabbi Moshe Heinemann around minutes 5-7
- Rav Asher Weiss (Minchat Asher, Volume on coronavirus, Inyane Tefila section, Chapter 16, Subchapter 2, page 41). Rav Asher Weiss adds that there is no distinction between a man or a woman in this situation, so praying with one's wife or daughter is equally preferable to praying with one's son.
- Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz
- Shulchan Aruch 90:4 writes that there should be windows in a place where one davens. Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz suggested that the same should be done for when we daven at home to daven in a place where there is a window.
- Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz
- Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz
- Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz
- Laws of Praying Beyachid by Rabbi Nacson p. 2, Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz citing Rabbi Akiva Eiger teshuva 71
- Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz quoting Rav Schachter
- Rav Bention Mutzafi (55:10)
- Rav Nevinsal stated that one should not recite Avinu Malkenu during Nissan. See Divrei Yatziv OC 75 for different minhagim about saying Avinu Malkenu during Nissan. See discussion page.
- Mishna Shabbat 9b, Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz. Rabbi Moshe Heinemann around minutes 5-7 says that if one sets an alarm, that should be sufficient
- Igrot Moshe 5:12:1 writes that regarding a Shabbos Sheva Brachos since it is just the family and it is a temporary situation no mechitza is necessary.
- [Rav Schachter (Piskei Corona Iyar 26 5780)]
- Laws of Praying Beyachid p. 10 citing Shulchan Aruch O.C. 268:8
- Rabbi Moshe Heinemann at around 24:45. At around 34 minutes, he clarifies that this can be done even by yourself, though normally we try to say it with at least two
- Mishna Brurah 134:13
- OU. Rav Schachter (Piskei Corona #14) writes that a person shouldn't try to make a minyan on his lawn spread out even if there's a small remote chance of spreading the virus. He also held that making a minyan with ten people standing on different balconies or porches doesn't count as a minyan. Rav Aviner (Keter Yitnu Lecha p. 35) writes that certainly a person should not attend a minyan because of the danger and one may not rely on the zechut of a minyan to protect him, one needs to be safe. Rav Asher Weiss agrees that one must pray alone in order to avoid potential danger (Minchat Asher, Volume on coronavirus, Inyane Tefila section, Chapter 16, page 36).
- Rav Asher Weiss (Minchat Asher, Volume on coronavirus, Inyane Tefila section, Chapter 16, Subchapter 1, page 40).
- Rav Schachter (Piskei Corona #14) holds that it isn't a valid minyan. Similarly, Rav Yitzchak Yosef also holds that it isn't a valid minyan and it involves safek brachot and the like. However, Rav Shternbuch (teshuva Nissan 8 5780) held that it is a valid minyan. To satisfy all the opinions the shaliach tzibur should have in mind that when he does chazarat hashatz that he could be praying a voluntary tefillah. They can't join if they're across the street and within ten tefachim of the ground. The shaliach tzibur needs to be able to see everyone. For kriyat hatorah that is done with porches initially one should call up the baal koreh or anyone on his porch, then one can even call up to an aliya someone on another porch as long as he can hear the baal koreh. The kohanim should leave before retzah because they can't say birkat kohanim. Someone davening alone doesn't have to hear kriyat hatorah since it is an obligation of the community and not individual. Rav Asher Weiss (Teleconference with Aguda, April 2 2020) was also inclined to hold that it is possible to make a minyan with people on porches who can see each other.
- Mishna Brurah 55:48 based on Rashba responsa 1:96 holds that one can learn from the laws of zimmun that if people can see each other they can join for minyan. However, Shaarei Knesset Hagedola 55:6 and many others hold that they can't join. See Yalkut Yosef 90:29 for the sources.
- Rav Asher Weiss writes that a minyan can be created between men praying from their respective porches in order to prevent the grave danger of congregating in closer proximity, and kadish and kedusha may be recited (Minchat Asher, Volume on coronavirus, Inyane Tefila section, Chapter 18, Subchapter 2, page 53). In another teshuva ("Histarfut Lminyan" Nissan 5780) wrote that he thought that one couldn't join people across the street from one another.
- Rav Schachter (towards middle), Rabbi Nacson in Laws of Praying Beyachid p. 4 based on Yalkut Yosef 5775 ed Yamim Noraim p. 17, Yabia Omer 1:19:18, Chazon Ovadia Purim p. 56
- Rav Schachter (towards middle). Rav Asher Weiss says that it is appropriate to fix a time for people to pray together remotely. Rav Asher adds it will help ascertain that prayer is done properly, on time and with concentration. Nonetheless, chazarat hashatz and devarim shebikdusha must be omitted. (Minchat Asher, Volume on coronavirus, Inyane Tefila section, Chapter 17, pages 45-46). In Minchat Asher (Corona second edition n. 24) writes that it isn't clear if there's a special time of mercy when many people daven at the same time even though it isn't a minyan. Nonetheless, it is a good thing to do.
- Rav Schachter (towards middle), Rav Aviner (Keter Yitnu Lecha p. 35), Rabbi Nacson in Laws of Praying Beyachid p. 4 based on Yalkut Yosef 5775 ed Yamim Noraim p. 17, Yabia Omer 1:19:18, Chazon Ovadia Purim p. 56, Rav Asher Weiss (teshuva "Aniyat Amen" Nissan 5780)
- Rav Asher Weiss (teshuva "Aniyat Amen" Nissan 5780)
- Rav Schachter cited by Rav Aviner (Keter Yitnu Lecha p. 35) and Rav Aviner agreed.
- Rav Dovid Feinstein cited by Rabbi Fink and Rav Aviner (Keter Yitnu Lecha p. 35)
- [Rav Schachter (Piskei Corona Iyar 26 5780)]
- Rav Willig (min 30-34)
- Shulchan Aruch 233:1, Mishna Brurah 233:11
- Rav Schachter (Piskei Corona #36)
- Rabbi Moshe Heinemann at around 28:30 in the name of Rav Moshe Feinstein, because Hashem will not punish you by not sending the angels when you weren't able to attend shul.
- Rav Schachter (Piskei Corona #25)
- Rav Chaim Kanievsky
- Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz quoting Rabbi Willig. Rabbi Moshe Heinemann around minutes 7-10 agrees that you should do so on Shabbat, but that it is not necessary on Monday and Thursday.
- Rav Schachter (Piskei Corona #8)
- Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz based on Rama and Magen Avraham.
- Rav Schachter (Piskei Corona #32), Rav Yizchak Yosef. Hear Rav Dovid Yosef on this topic.
- Rabbi Yonatan Nacson in Laws of Praying Byachid (p. 10) citing Rav Asher Weiss
- [https://www.yutorah.org/lectures/lecture.cfm/950291/rabbi-hershel-schachter/piskei-corona-8-krias-hatorah/ Rav Schachter (Piskei Corona #8)
- Mishna Brurah 134:13
- Rav Schachter (Piskei Corona #24) explains that anim zemirot was instituted only for a minyan, and according to Rav Soloveitchik was considered a dvar shebekedusha.
- Rav Schachter (towards middle), Rav Nevinsal
- Rav Schachter (towards middle), Rav Schachter (Piskei Corona, April 23 2020)
- Yabia Omer OC 8:15:15, Divrei Dovid 5:3. See Divrei Dovid citing Birkat Hashem v. 4 p. 452 who implies that the minyan doesn't have to be in the same room as long as they can hear the bracha.
- Rama 219:8, Rav Asher Weiss (March 15 2015, min 11)
- Rabbi Mansour ("Saying Birkat Hagomel Within 3 Days and Laws of Birkat Hagomel Following A Sickness")
- Rav Shmuel Fuerst (min 1-5),Rav Meir Elbaz (min 17-8)
- Rav Herschel Schachter (teshuva Rosh Chodesh Nissan 5780), Rav Nevinsal. Rav Yitzchak Yosef and Rav David Lau said that one should not go outside to burn chametz or kasher pots.
- Rav Elbaz (min 26), Rav Asher Weiss (Teleconference, March 29 2020 11am)
- Rav Schachter (min 20), Rav Aryeh Lebowitz (min 9-11). Rav Herschel Schachter (teshuva Rosh Chodesh Nissan 5780) explained the reason why the hatarat nedarim isn't necessary. Rabbi Moshe Heinemann at around 46:45 agrees that if there is a big loss one can be lenient and sell chametz and it would not require hatarat nedarim, although he isn't so sure that it would be a big loss to an individual.
- Rav Hershel Schachter (Teshuva dated 28 Adar 5780 p. 2), Nefesh Harav p. 179, Rav Schachter (min 1-5) explained that the minhag is to make a kinyan to appoint a someone to sell something for you. This is classically done with a handing of a handkerchief from the rabbi to the one selling chametz. However, when they call on the phone that isn't possible. The Steipler held in such a case it isn't necessary to be careful about that minhag and simply have the person orally declare that he appoints the rabbi. However, Rav Soloveitchik felt that we should try to fulfill the minhag in any event. How can it be fulfilled? One can have someone standing in the room next to the person on the phone give something to the person on the phone on behalf of the rabbi. That is an effective halachic kinyan on behalf of the rabbi (see Kiddushin 7a). Rav Shmuel Fuerst (min 10) explained that one can appoint the rabbi to sell his chametz online. Rav Asher Weiss (Minchat Asher Corona p. 66) agrees. Rav Nevinsal allowed appointing the rabbi online if he is a talmid chacham.
- Rav Schachter (Piskei Corona #10)
- Rav Schachter (Piskei Corona #17) explains that it isn't considered rotzeh bkiyumo, wanting the chametz to continue to exist, to order the chametz since one doesn't insist on any particular box of chametz that the company provides. However, one certainly may not acquire it with a kinyan such as picking it up or moving it. Even if it is delivered into one's property if one has intention not to acquire it, one doesn't acquire it. Yet, one can't even protect it since doing so is an issue of rotzeh bkiyumo. Rav Willig (April 1 2020, min 0-2) agreed in technical terms.
- Rav Aryeh Lebowitz (min 11-15)
- Rav Asher Weiss (teshuva "Shimush Bpesach B'alchogel" Chol Hamoed Pesach 5780)
- Rav Schachter (Piskei Corona #7)
- Rav Schachter (Piskei Corona #7)
- Rav Herschel Schachter (teshuva Rosh Chodesh Nissan 5780)
- Rav Hershel Schachter (Piskei Corona #9)
- Rav Asher Weiss (Minchat Asher Corona p. 73-4) writes that a person who has the practice to recite the Hallel the night of the seder after davening can do so with a bracha even when davening individually. Rav Hershel Reichman, based on Rav Moshe Soloveichik (as quoted in Shiurim L'zecher Abba Mari Part I, Kuntres B'inyanei Kriat Shema, ft. 4), agreed.
- Yachava Daat 5:34, Teshuva written by Rabbi Mordechai Lebhar author of Magen Avot (Erev Shabbat Hagadol 5780), Kaf Hachaim 487:38-42
- Rav Schachter (Piskei Corona #13)
- Rav Schachter (Piskei Corona #9)
- Rav Schachter (Piskei Corona #9)
- Kaf Hachaim 114:8 and Halacha Brurah v. 6 p. 145 rule that the primary halacha is that there's no prohibition to begin to start to say Morid Hatal before the Shaliach Tzibbur. It is only forbidden for an individual to begin Mashiv Haruach Umorid Hageshem before the congregation does. This is the approach of the Bet Yosef citing the Ran, Pri Chadash, and Maamar Mordechai, unlike the Raavad cited by the Tur 114:2. However, in a regular year, the Kaf Hachaim and Halacha Brurah recommend being strict for the Raavad to have the Shaliach Tzibur announce before the Mussaf that everyone should begin to say Morid Hatal.
- Rav Yosef Tzvi Rimon (Teshuva Chol Hamoed Pesach 5780)
- Rav Schachter (towards beginning). This is acceptable for Sephardim as well even with a bracha as described by Rav Ovadia Yosef in Yachava Daat 1:14 and Chazon Ovadia (Pesach Hilchot Leil Haseder 5763 Edition p. 76). Rav Ben Chaim holds that one should really used hand baked matzah but if one can't acquire any then one can use machine matzah. Rav Willig (min 2) has a similar approach.
- Rav Asher Weiss (Teleconference March 22 2020, min 19) said that there's no concern to use the hand-baked matzot since they were baked earlier in the year. His personal minhag is to have only hand baked matzot. In terms of using machine matzah he felt that it is only a chumra not to use them even for the mitzvah of motzei matzah and one could use them if there's no other option.
- Rav Schachter (Piskei Corona #19)
- Rav Schachter (Piskei Corona #19) explained that usually we use the concept of hoil, since guests might arrive who can eat the food one cooked, to permit cooking from one day of Yom Tov to Shabbat. However, this year that seems not to be applicable. Rav Schachter explained based on the Maharam Chalavah that hoil doesn't necessitate that one actually have guests or even have the ability to have guests, it is rather a halachic principle since objectively it is possible to have guests the eruv is effective.
- Rav Schachter (Piskei Corona #19) explained that since theoretically it is possible to get the box alone for a few minutes it isn't completely inaccessible (see Har Tzvi OC 2:16).
- Rabbi Mansour, Rav Yitzchak Rubin of Har Nof (teshuva Erev Shabbat Shemini 5780)
- Ateret Paz (Birkat Ilanot) p. 154-6, Rav Hershel Schachter (Piskei Corona, April 23 2020)
- Rav Hershel Schachter (Teshuva dated 28 Adar 5780 p. 2), Rav Ben Chaim
- Rabbi Mansour, Rav Ben Chaim
- Rav Hershel Schachter (Teshuva dated 28 Adar 5780 p. 2). Rav Schachter (towards beginning). Rav Aryeh Lebowitz (min 1-4) explained that Rav Schachter and Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach hold that it is enough to listen and join with the siyum over the phone or video call. However, other poskim don't like this leniency. Rav Asher Weiss (Teleconference March 22 2020, min 7) agreed that one can be yotzei with a siyum over the phone or video for the tanit bechorot. Rav Shmuel Fuerst (min 6) agreed that this year you can be yotzei the siyum over the phone since it is an extenuating circumstance. Rav Avigdor Nevinsal agreed that you can be part of a siyum over the phone and the meal one has afterwards is a seudat mitzvah. Rav Ben Chaim holds that it is better to make a siyum oneself even on a tractate of mishna but if that's not possible one can listen on the phone.
- Rabbi Mansour
- Rama 426:4
- Pri Megadim M"Z 426:4, Mishna Brurah 426:21
- Rav Ben Chaim
- Rav Elyakim Levanon wrote that it is fine to do art projects with children on Chol Hamoed even if they involve coloring, weaving, decorating the house because they aren't considered an exaustive effort and are meant for the kids to have a good time.
- Rabbi Eliyahu Abergel and other rabbis
- Rav Asher Weiss (Teleconference March 22 2020 11am, min 39; teshuva in Minchat Asher Corona pp. 75-6), Rav Herschel Schachter (teshuva Adar 29 5780), Rav Mordechai Willig (min 20-22), Rav Yosef Tzvi Rimon. Rav Willig's held that it is absolutely forbidden and it is a tremendous zilzul Shabbat besides questions of others prohibitions of Shabbat.
- Rabbi Yair Hoffman describes how 3 of the original signers of the lenient ruling would only permit under life and death needs and not in general. However, another article describes how some of the original rabbis who were lenient confirmed their opinions.
- Rav Yosef Tzvi Rimon
- Rav Herschel Schachter (teshuva Adar 29 5780). Rav Willig (min 24) agrees that we violate Shabbat for someone who is suicidal but they can use the phone.
- Rav Schachter (Piskei Corona #21), Rav Nevinsal
- https://www.yutorah.org/lectures/lecture.cfm/950659/rabbi-hershel-schachter/piskei-corona-16-haircuts-on-chol-hamoed-and-sefira/ Rav Schachter (Piskei Corona #16)
- [https://www.yutorah.org/lectures/lecture.cfm/952458/rabbi-hershel-schachter/piskei-corona-30-the-aveilus-of-sefirah/ Rav Schachter (Piskei Corona #30) explains that the sefira has the status of 12 Months of mourning in which a person minimizes indulgence in pleasures, however, if it leads to pain then that wasn't included in the required mourning. The minhag not to listen to music during sefira can be waived for someone who otherwise would be emotionally distressed. It is preferable that he listen to classic music and not music that leads to dancing. Rav Asher Weiss (Minchat Asher Corona Second Edition n. 47) writes that we can't generally permit music during sefirat haomer. We can be lenient for somenoe who is near depression or for a parent watching small children, especially if it isn't live and when it isn't simcha music that leads to dancing.
- Rav Schachter (Piskei Corona #30)
- Rav Schachter (Piskei Corona #40)
- Rav Schachter (Piskei Corona #40)
- Rav Schachter (Piskei Corona #40)
- Rav Schachter (Piskei Corona #37)
- Rav Shachter (Piskei Corona Tamuz 5780)
- Rav Hershel Schachter (Piskei Corona #12), Rabbi Shay Tahan. Rav Asher Weiss (March 29 2020) said it is obviously permitted to overlook the chumra of not showering when the woman returns from mikveh at these times.
- Rav Schachter (Piskei Corona #26)
- Rav Schachter (Piskei Corona #26)
- RCBC letter on yeshivaworld.com
- Rav Asher Weiss (Teleconference March 22 2020, min 12)
- Rav Aryeh Lebowitz (min 5-9), Rav Ben Chaim
- Rav Aryeh Lebowitz (min 5-9), Rav Mordechai Willig (min 3-4)
- Rav Aryeh Lebowitz (min 5-9), Rav Ben Chaim. Rav Nevinsal said that one could rely upon this if there was no other option. Rav Mordechai Willig (min 14-16) allows selling the kelim to a non-Jew. Rav Yosef Tzvi Rimon (teshuva dated Nisan 1 5780) recommended this.
- Rav Hershel Schachter (Teshuva dated 28 Adar 5780 p. 1), Rabbi Mansour
- Rav Mordechai Willig (min 5-12) said that one shouldn't use the solution to make the pots hefker since you're using the kelim. See Sefer Tevilat Kelim p. 84 based on Maharil Diskin. See S"A Harav 445:1 that hefker that isn't meaningful since you plan to reacquire it isn't a solution. However, Rav Elyashiv and Rav Soloveitchik allowed it in extenuating circumstances. Rav Asher Weiss (Minchat Asher Corona p. 72) writes that one should avoid using new pots and relying on this leniency to mafkir but in an extenuating circumstance one can rely on it.
- Rav Asher Weiss (Teleconference, March 22 2020 11am), Rav Yosef Tzvi Rimon (Teshuva dated Nisan 1 5780)
- Rav Nevinsal, Rav Chaim Kanievsky
- Rav Schachter (Piskei Corona #22)
- Rav Neventzal, Rav Schachter (Piskei Corona Teshuva #11), Rabbi Moshe Heinemann at about 16:45
- Rav Rimon pointed out that using one's wife to acquire the money to someone else is a dispute and should be avoided.
- Rav Yosef Tzvi Rimon (teshuva 12 Nissan 5780)
- Rav Yosef Tzvi Rimon (teshuva 12 Nissan 5780)
- Rav Schachter (towards end)
- Rav Asher Weiss (Corona Teshuvot 3:14 pp. 44-6) writes that he doesn't know any source to justify Rav Schachter's ruling that it is permitted to substitute another parsha for the maftir and haftorah. Rather it is better to take out the sefer torah after davening to read without brachot. He explains that there's no prohibition to take out a sefer torah for learning and teaching torah even without brachot unlike the Netsiv (Meishiv Dvar 1:16 based on Magen Avraham 144:5 and Yerushalmi Brachot 52b; see also Torat Refael 2). Furthermore it isn't considered a disgrace to the sefer torah in an extenuating circumstance such as this. However, the rabbi should judge what makes the most sense and what will lead to the most kavod shamayim.
- Rav Nevinsal
- Rav Nevinsal, (Keter Yitanu Lecha p. 38)
- Rav Schachter (towards beginning)
- Rav Nevinsal
- Rav Ben Chaim
- Rav Schachter (Piskei Corona #18) explained that although it isn't possible to recite Sheva Brachot and seemingly they forbid the couple to each other without Sheva Brachot in this extenuating circumstance one can rely upon the opinion that the wedding is valid and they are permitted even without Sheva Brachot (see Nodeh Beyehuda EH 1:56). For birkat erusin certainly having a minyan isn't critical (Shulchan Aruch E.H. 34:4) although it is preferable and in this circumstance unnecessary. From Bet Shmuel 64:4 it appears to be a dispute between the Shulchan Aruch and Rama whether one is allowed to have a wedding at all if it is extremely difficult to get a minyan, the Rama being lenient. See Rabbi Basalely about a social distanced wedding.
- Rav Schachter (Piskei Corona #22)
- Rama 562:1 writes that Ashkenazim hold that even for an incomplete fast one can recite anenu. Mishna Brurhah 562:48 references this Rama in discussing a fast that was accepted to fast until chatzot. The Mishna Brurah 562:7 cites a debate as to whether one should omit the words צום תעניתנו while reciting עננו in such a scenario as many poskim argue that a half fast is not considered a fast and therefore one would not want to risk speak falsely, particularly when he is speaking to Hashem.
- Rav Chaim Kanievsky declared a half fast on Erev Rosh Chodesh Nissan 5780.
- Mishna Brurah 562:6
- Shulchan Aruch 562:10-11 holds that a incomplete fast is not considered a fast with respect to saying anenu. Therefore if one only fasts until chatzot one should not recite anenu.
- Shulchan Aruch and Rama 562:5
- Rav Aviner (Keter Yitnu Lecha p. 35), Chief Rabbi Rabbi David Lau
- Gemara Tanit 11a, Shulchan Aruch O.C. 240:12
- Mishna Brurah 574:9
- Rama 240:12 based on Yerushalmi Tanit. Olot Tamid 240:6 (cited by Kaf Hachaim 240:85) understands the Rama to apply to any type of tragedy that we would declare a fast over.
- Shaarei Knesset Hagedola (Hagahot Tur 240:5) writes that tashmish is only forbidden during a famine, plague of the crops, locusts and the like which cause a famine but not for other tragedies or troubles. Kaf Hachaim 240:85 rules like the Shaarei Knesset Hagedola either because that is the explanation of the Yerushalmi or we don't follow the Yerushalmi.
- Shulchan Aruch O.C. 574:11 writes that it is permitted for a couple to have tashish on mikva night. Mishna Brurah 574:11 cites the Magen Avraham who argues with Shulchan Aruch but then he cites the Bigdei Yesha and Nahar Shalom who are lenient and there's what to rely on to follow Shulchan Aruch. Mishna Brurah concludes that certainly one can be lenient at a time when it isn't a famine and it is just another time of distress in the world.
- Shulchan Aruch O.C. 240:12, 574:4, Mishna Brurah 240:47
- Mishna Brurah 574:12
- Mishna Brurah 240:46
- Tzitz Eliezer 13:21
- Rabbi Ehrman on yutorah. Rav Asher Weiss (Zoom Conference, March 22 2020, 11am, min 15) was lenient he said that the situation presently isn't one that rises to the level where we need to declare a fast. Also, since domestic violence recently has been on the rise because of the quarantines one shouldn't be strict in this area.
- Rabbi Zylberman on yutorah. Mordechai b"m 343 writes that if there's a decree in the town that the teachers can't teach the teachers should still be paid. Rama C.M. 321:1 cites this Mordechai and applies it to any worker in 334:1. The Sama 334:2 argues with the Mordechai and holds that since the employee can't work and both aren't at fault and both couldn't foresee this the employer is exempt. Netivot 334:1 limits the idea of the Mordechai to a teacher and not other employers since a teacher is paid for sachar betela (see Laws_of_Learning_Torah#Taking_Money_for_Learning_and_Teaching_Torah). Shach 334 holds that this opinion of the Mordechai only applies if majority of the town ran away because of a crisis but if only a minority runs away then the employee isn't entitled to payment. Aruch Hashulchan 334:10 has another approach. If the situation prevents the worker from working then he is entitled to pay but if he runs away then he isn't. Rabbi Zylberman explained from Mishpat Poalim we think that this is a case of Hamotzei Mchavero Alav Harayah, whoever is holding onto the money can claim that he is exempt from paying or returning the money. Rav Asher Weiss in Minchat Asher 2:106 says that they should make a compromise, and Rav Bleich (Contemporary Halachic Problems v. 4) thinks that we follow the Rama. Once the Chatom Sofer had a case in his town and he felt that they should pay but he couldn't force everyone to pay it so he told them to pay half. Rav Yona Reiss had a case where they made a compromise. Rabbi Orlian on the Business Halacha Weekly (Shabbos Hagadol 5780) writes that basically the one cancelling doesn't have to pay and there is a case to be made for a refund, however, one should compromise.
- Rav Asher Weiss (Zoom Conference, March 22 2020, 11am, min 21-25) thought that one should compromise and give the workers who aren't working 30% of their pay. This applies Jewish and non-Jewish workers. This is based on the Rama and Sama CM 221. As for the day schools and daycares that are closed and not providing services one theoretically should be exempt. Since it might be devastating to the schools one needs to wait until the government makes a decision. Either way, we should wait until there is a major decision from the government or authorities and follow that. Until then for the schools we should pay so that the teachers can have a salary for their parnasa.
- Rabbi Zylberman on yutorah
- Rav Yakov Sinai based on Rama in teshuva, Shach CM 312 and other sources
- Rav Schachter (Piskei Corona #27) writes that it is important to reach a peshara, compromise, with respect to the question of how much a person should be paid in return for the pesach programs that were cancelled.
- [https://www.yutorah.org/lectures/lecture.cfm/951789/rabbi-hershel-schachter/piskei-corona-27-the-importance-of-tzedaka-and-chesed/ Rav Schachter (Piskei Corona #27)
- Rav Yakov Sinai (min 3) explains that although the Rama in a teshuva and Knesset Hagedola hold that one should visit the sick even if they have a contagious disease, the Shulchan Gavoha and others disagree and that is the halacha.
- Rav Shlomo Aviner (Keter Yitnu Lecha p. 34) citing Igrot Moshe YD 1:223 and Tzitz Eliezer 8:5. Rav Aviner added that the main idea of bikur cholim is to do what is best for the patient and in our context that is to call.
- Rav Schachter (Piskei Corona #25)
- Rav Mordechai Willig (min 26-8). Rav Schachter (Piskei Corona #20) said that they should specifically have as few people as possible for the burial and maybe just the workers and that too fulfills the mitzvah of burial.
- Rav Schachter (Piskei Corona #20)
- Rav Schachter (Piskei Corona #41) quoting Rabbi Elchanan Zohn, a international expert on Jewish burials
- Rav Schachter (Piskei Corona #20)
- Rav Schachter (Piskei Corona #23)
- Rav Schachter (Piskei Corona #41)
- Rav Willig (min 29)
- Rav Schachter (Piskei Corona #23)
- Rav Schachter (Piskei Corona #23) isn't certain if a person involved in the burial merely because he is watching via Zoom is still considered an Onen. Rav Asher Bush wrote based on MPeninei Harav p. 202 that he considers someone phoning into a burial to not be an Onen unless they're going to ask him questions about the burial.
- Rav Schachter (Piskei Corona #23)
- Rav Schachter (Piskei Corona #23)
- Rav Schachter (Piskei Corona #31)
- Rav Asher Weiss (Minchat Asher Corona pp. 58-9)
- Rav Schachter (Teshuva Adar 29 5780), Rav Nevinsal
- Shulchan Aruch O.C. 328:13
- Rav Asher Weiss (March 15 2020, min 18-22) to Beit Midrash Gavoha explained that the definition of danger in order to violate Shabbat isn't defined by statistics. For vaccinations we assume that it is a sakana not to vaccinate even though the odds of dying because of the measles is low. Since it is preventable it is incumbent upon us to vaccinate. He concludes that as long as it is a natural phenomenon and there is an action that we can do to prevent deaths we must do so.
- Rav Zilberstein allowed a patient to answer the phone on Shabbat with a shinuy only to hear the results of a test and answer questions for epidemiological investigation. If the test results that show that a patient has the virus are produced on Shabbat it is incumbent for the health department to deal with the quarantine then and it is permitted to answer the phone for that.
- Rav Schachter (Piskei Corona #6)
- Rav Asher Weiss (teshuva "Nesiyat Achot" Nissan 5780) was uncomfortable permitting driving oneself home from the hospital on Shabbat even if it was for an emergency since it is a large dispute between Rav Moshe and Rav Shlomo Zalman. Rather he said that one should take a cab with a non-Jewish driver. Even though at this time when people are concerned about getting the virus from going in a cab, he still felt that it isn't considered pikuach nefesh and one shouldn't still drive oneself. Rather one should take the cab but very careful.
- Rav Schachter (Piskei Corona #29). Flatbush Hatzolah announced the same thing but they said that the calling and hanging up should be done with a shinuy.
- Rav Asher feels that there are only two factors that we consider for halachic triage: give precedence to someone who is in immediate danger, and give treatment to whoever has a better chance for survival. Age or spiritual need for the community are not factors for precedence.
- Rav Asher says that for choleh shebifanenu the knowledge that another choleh is going to come in soon is considered pikuach nefesh if will with certainty be helpful. Therefore, if an older patient comes into the hospital but they know a younger patient is going to come in, they can consider them as though they came in together and treat according to who is in immediate danger and who has the better chance to live. Rav Schachter felt the same way in his teshuva.
- If a hospital has a certain regulation, does he need to disregard the hospital protocols? Rav Asher Weiss felt that the doctors should not disregard hospital protocol, for multiple reasons but partly because if he doesn't he'll lose his license and having more able doctors at this time is pikuach nefesh.
- Pulling a patient off a ventilator because someone entered the hospital who has a better chance of living, Rav Asher (min 27) felt is forbidden. Rather the doctor should say that he feels uncomfortable to do this and should let another doctor do it. Rav Schachter felt that one should try to convince the older patient to sign a DNR at that point in order to save the younger patient.
- Rav Asher Weiss (Aguda Teleconference, April 6, 2020, min 18-22) explains that you can’t put yourself in danger. However, you can if you’re saving someone from an immediate danger and you’re putting yourself in minimal danger then it is a middat chasidut to do so. Therefore, a doctor should do mechanical ventilation CPR on a COVID19 patient if he has the correct protective gear.
- Rav Asher (min 33) allowed sharing ventilators when the doctors see fit in order to save another life because moving a patient from a single ventilator to a shared ventilator isn't considered doche nefesh mipnei nefesh since it isn't proven to be dangerous to use a shared ventilator. He also cited the Chazon Ish regarding turning the arrow to the side killing fewer people to save more people.
- Rav Asher (min 38) said that a doctor who isn't in that particular field or is retired or has vacation doesn't have to volunteer but his doing so would be a middat chasidut. However, if he is endangering himself such as if he's over 70, he is immune compromised, or has a family member who is, then he shouldn't volunteer.
- Rav Schachter (Piskei Corona #26). See there for how he distinguishes this from the woman returning from the mikveh on Shabbat.
- Rav Willig (min 41)
- Rav Asher Weiss (teshuva "Mechuyav Bbidud" Chol Hamoed Pesach 5780)
- Rav Aviner (Keter Yitnu Lecha p. 36) citing Rav Zilberstein