Some People Just Don’t Get It: Shuls Are Off Limits, Period!

Israeli police officers arrive to close synagogues in the city of Bnei Brak on April 1, 2020. following the government's decisions, in an effort to contain the spread of the coronavirus. Photo by Yossi Zamir/Flash90

BNEI BRAK (VINnews) — As reported previously, Bnei Brak is the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in Israel, with one out of every three people being tested there for COVID-19 emerging positive. So far there are more than 700 verified cases in the city of 200,000 but the numbers are still rising due to the congestion (Bnei Brak is the most densely populated area in Israel) and the lack of social distancing in shuls when they were still open.

Originally it was the health ministry recommending social distancing of 2 meters, then they said that this was not enough since the shuls themselves were contaminated with the virus. At that point the Gedolim already ruled to daven outside the shuls and to comply with health ministry regulations, although schools remained open. After ministry officials declared that any minyan even outdoors represented a danger of infection, the Gedolim ruled that each person must daven alone and learn alone. Rabbi Chaim Kanievski said that people who daven together can be reported to authorities and Rabbi Gershon Edelstein said that anyone davening in a minyan is a sinner. Even the Edah Chareidis stressed that health ministry rules must be strictly obeyed.

Despite the unequivocal nature of these statements and the clear evidence of a connection between congregation and infection, there are still people who try to use shuls. Jerusalem Faction members tried to use their shul in Bnei Brak, forcing police to intervene and seal it shut. When will they get it- there’s no mitzvah to endanger lives for minyan!

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  1. These are for the most part the same crazies known as Peleg.

    From: wikipedia
    עניין חסיד שוטה הוא שמתחסד ביותר מדאי אף במה שחסידותו גורם נזק או לעצמו או לאחר; כגון שמתענה בכל יום, או שרואה אשה טובעת בנהר ואומר איני יורד להצילה כדי שלא אסתכל בערווה, או שראה תינוק מבעבע בנהר ואומר אחלוץ תפילין קודם שאכנס. (בית הבחירה להמאירי, סוטה כ,א)

  2. look they are very frum people unlike the ones who write for and read this website. it’s hard for them to deal with, plus they don’t have internet and don’t really know all that much about the virus. so stop judging you uber judgemental people

    • well said. I think many don’t get how shul is the fabric of our life. Yes you can say there is a danger and we can’t go but realize what you are doing to people. Please don’t start hocking me about halacha and our rabbonim who did whatever they were forced to do. It all may be correct but its lacking any understanding of our life. Its just part and parcel of yiddshkiet. Its the way we live. Our yiddishkiet is based on kehila and community. Of course hashem is everywhere but we all know the shechina exists where the kehila is where ten people gather. This is what we are about. Maybe you need to shut it all down for safety but people don’t realize what you are doing to many of us mentally and yes even form a yiddishkiet perspective epes felt.

      Lets not judge.

      And yes pesach I will join a social distant outdoor minyan with a mask IYH.

      • So the Lakewood Gedolim don’t understand the essence of Yahadus? Doing thing k’neged halachah because it makes you feel better or happier is not Yahadus, especially when you magnify danger for everyone.

        Going to shul this Pesach is like coming up with beautiful chiddushim and writing them down on Shabbos so you don’t forget them.

          • Bitoolo shel toiroh zehu kiyu mo is the mitzvoh of the momonet
            don’t minimize -sakanto chamiro mei ssouro
            The ribono shel oilom is mochel for your kovod if your davening is has misguided attqachment to dqvening in a group

            It says in the toichocho -eheyiso Meshugga!!!!!

        • Shechina is in exile but it still persists when ten jews gather together for a dvar shbekedusha. Again this may be an exepctional time when we can’t go to shul. But relaize its not the same. You are missing out on yddishkiet. Shul is an essential like milk at the grocery esp on a yom tov.

    • So sounds like you are saying, we should consider very frum people as very nice pious people, but also realize they are ignorant and need others who are more well-informed to tell them what to do. So next time a very frum person (e.g. peleg is protesting against the gov’t or whatever) we should just roll our eyes and say, oysh these children need to listen. Hope it does not take too many clops till they understand the wisdom of those less ignorant.

  3. The urge to experience religious ecstasy and a sense of satisfying their good conscience (a/o avoiding religious guilt) is for some so overwhelming that they will even sin further and even harm others and themselves to have a feeling of being frum.

    The classic example is the bamma. A religious practice that under previous circumstances used to be a mitzvah but under later circumstances was a serious sin of karess punishment.

    Despite efforts of naviim and melachim tzaddikkim, the practice of bammah couldn’t be completely held back. There were too many frummer amai haaretz who rejected the naviim and melachim as shkotzim. Sancheriv’s spy made a speech to the jewish soldiers that hashem will abandon them and chizkiya because chizkiya prevented bamos. Success in stopping sins which originate in religious good intentions is so difficult to come by that megillas taanis mentions a special yom tov in commemoration of successfully stopping the practice of writing name of hashem on a contract.

    As I look out my window each morning around 1130 AM i still find several men carrying their tallis tfillin bags as they go to and from the shul across the street from the block of my house.
    Note that 1130 am is too late for zman tfilla. These people are not presumed to be holding by mesiras nefesh for minyan. They are not even holding by giving up sleep comfort for minyan. They are not going to netz minynim. They are rather simply oblivious.
    And likely also sneeze in shul to the open air, or cough into their hand then grab a siddur so that the next person can share their cough moisture onto their hand and face. Of course they will kiss the siddur.

    If chizkiya couldn’t stop it there isn’t much expectation modern rabbis will stop it.

    However we must still try.
    Im ikesh titapul.
    Instead of announcing an issur to have minyan.

    Announce instead an (extra) issur to have minyan when it’s not vassikin.

    This idea sounds crazy to the normal person. But the people you are attempting to persuade are not normal.
    This method might work because it appeals to their desire to be frum rather than to their rational mind (which seems to be missing) .
    And you don’t need to fear they will come to a minyan vasikkin either because they don’t get up on time anyway.

  4. Don’t act like these people “don’t get it”. They get it. They just don’t care or think they know better. But whether there are a few who actually do not get it, eventually they will get it too – the virus that is.

    • Again Esther I get the no minyan point . But I think the naysayers don’t fully understand how for some this is their whole life and whole being . Without it many feel not Jewish . I know someone that had a baby erev y kipper and had to eat on yom kipper . She said it was like eating pork . It felt so eww . You can make any hlacha point you want it’s a feel . And that’s the way many feel with no minyan

      • All stussim -uocharto bachaym is the biggest mitzva – Don’t worry so much about the koovod of the RBS and yourtotally misuided attached to mitavos at this moment – Imagine an SS man bind you – no frumkeit or what not

      • Archy, any chalek you might have earned is now gone!. Either your are nothing more than a reform jew who cares more for “the feeling of yiddeshkeit” than halacha or you are a troll who takes pleasure in torturing those who have lost family members to this magaifah! Either way you are a rasha and will pay the price!

  5. Archy, I usually like your stuff, but this time you are way off. Let me tell you my experience. I live in a building with an enormous courtyard in the middle. I asked my Rav about making a minyan there just for the building, with plenty distancing between each person. His response: I don’t care if it’s the size of a football field. Don’t do it. Kishem shemikablim sachar al hadrisha… Btw, I’m very chassidish and live in Boro Park.

  6. After they get the virus, they go to the hospital and ask for drugs and ventilators. Why? They clearly don’t believe in science and, virology. If you don’t believe in virology you should not want antiviral drugs. But they do.


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