A letter regarding shul restrictions from Harav Riskin shlita

Dear Residents,

Due to the worsening situation, and the information we have received that some shuls in our city had more than 10 people in their minyan at once, there is a need for a uniform ruling in all the shuls in Efrat.

And so I have decided that the minyanim in all Efrat shuls should be closed until further notice.

And there should be no minyanim held anywhere else, neither in homes nor outdoors.

You must understand that I had a hard time coming to this decision. I have spent my entire life devoted to the opening of synagogues and seminars rather than closing them, but the danger that currently exists from the Coronavirus requires that we not allow people to gather together. 

It is important to add that Chazal have already taught that sometimes the cancellation of Torah is necessary to further its existence.

After all, this act of canceling the minyan is the result of the greatest commandment of "and you should guard your souls."

It is told that Rabbi Chaim of Brisk was forbidden from eating marror at the Pesach seder due to his health.  Despite the doctor's orders, on the night of the seder he asked his wife to bring him the full amount of marror. Rabbi Chaim stood, took the bitter herbs and made the blessing,"Blessed are you.... who commanded us to  guard our souls" and he set the bitter herbs aside.

May our individual prayers during this time be received in heaven just as the blessing of Rabbi Chaim of Brisk.

We hope that the virus will soon pass and we can return to normal life.

In addition - As a number of Efrat residents have been tested, when the results come back tomorrow or on Shabbat, it is likely that more residents will have to enter into immediate isolation. Therefore, Rabbi Riskin ruled that in every home, the cell phone of the person who was tested and one of their parents should be left on in order to receive calls or messages from the local council. 


 Rabbi Shlomo Riskin- Mara Daatra