Coronavirus

P’sak Halacha during a Modern Pandemic – Interim View

by R. Daniel Mann Question: My own question: What observations can we make about the way halachic rulings were made and disseminated during the first stage of the coronavirus crisis?  Answer: As a “student of the history of the halachic process,” I find breathtaking the difference in the tools available in reaching halachic rulings and sharing them in today’s society ...

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Yeshiva Tuition and Coronavirus

by R. Gil Student To our great sadness, the societal shutdown due to Coronavirus also closed yeshivos. The government rightly insisted that all schools cease in-class teaching. Schools transitioned to remote learning for abbreviated hours, with parents taking a greater role in watching their children and ensuring they join the class. With shorter hours and a greater parental role, many ...

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Washing Hands after Leaving a Hospital

by R. Daniel Mann Question: When visiting a hospital, I saw a kohen alert sign. Upon leaving, should I have done netilat yadayim due to exposure to tumah? Answer: We will first survey the point of netilat yadayim in various cases including yours.  When one becomes tameh on the level of Torah law in a manner that he needs rechitza ...

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Speak Your Truth: Moving Forward From Coronavirus

by R. Gidon Rothstein Adam Gopnik recently warned that we react to stressors such as the novel coronavirus with ideas we already held before, a worry I too have shared (although in looking for that link, I found this one, suggesting I’m also more locked into my own idees fixes than I’d like to think).  It’s part of the reason I try to find prior sources for my ...

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Torah Reading and Social Distancing

by R. Gil Student As ”stay at home” restrictions begin to loosen in certain places, and within weeks will probably begin to loosen in the New York area also, we need to reimagine what shul will look like in the interim stages before we fully return to normal. The OU, Agudath Israel of America and several poskim have published on ...

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Who Bentches Gomel On Coronavirus?

by R. Gil Student We bentch Gomel (recite the “Gomel” blessing) on being saved from a dangerous situation. How does that apply to Coronavirus? Arguably, everyone in the world is in a potentially life-threatening situation, those in the New York region and above the age of 65 even moreso. Additionally, we are now in some form of quarantine. When we ...

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Kri’at HaTorah in the Shadow of Corona

by R. Daniel Mann Question: When minyanim are taking place with the permission of health authorities under social distancing rules, what should be done to separate “functionaries”? Answer: [This is being written as small outdoor minyanim just became re-permitted in Israel, and little has been written on the topic. Health rules may change by the time the column is read, ...

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What Tzeniut Really Means

by R. Gidon Rothstein Hatzne’a Lekhet: Rethinking Weddings and Funerals in the Light of Coronavirus Makkot 23b has a statement we all know, R. Samlai says there are six hundred and thirteen mitzvot in the Torah, two hundred and forty-eight obligations, three hundred and sixty-five prohibitions, and R. Hamnuna offers the verse of Torah tzivah lanu Moshe to support the idea. I find the next ...

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Missed Torah Readings

by R. Gil Student Most of us have missed the weekly Torah readings since March 21 (Vayakhel-Pekudei), some even from March 7 (Tetzaveh). When the time comes to return safely to shul, do we have to make up for the missed readings? If so, the congregation reads the (so far) 7 missed readings in addition to the new reading for ...

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Did the Students of R. Akiva Die in a 2nd Century Epidemic?

by R. Dr. Basil Herring They said “R. Akiva had twelve thousand pairs of disciples who were located all the way from Gevat (near Beersheva in the south of Judea) till Antiparis (at its northern end) and they all died at one time because they did not act respectfully toward each other. As a result, the world was desolate (Rashi: ...

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