As you know, about six weeks ago, we had to stop Minyanim in the shul, due to the epidemic outbreak. The decision was made with a heavy heart, but with full confidence that by doing so we are fulfilling the commandments of G-d – ‘ונשמרתם לנפשתכם מאד’.
Our community has the merit to have a number of doctors and public health experts as its members. These doctors agreed to be members of a special community committee, which advised me on a number of questions related to the Corona virus. I followed their instructions in accordance with the Halacha that in times of danger one must follow the physicians’ advice.
About two weeks ago, the Ministry of Health ordered that people be allowed to pray outside under certain conditions. After consulting with our doctors, it became clear that the vast majority of them thought the danger and uncertainty as too great for such a step. Although our doctors’ opinion was stricter than the guidance of the Ministry of Health, we have ruled to follow them, according to the halachic rule that in a dispute between physicians one must follow the stricter opinion; and also because our doctors took into consideration the specifics of the situation in Tel Mond and the surrounding communities. Thus, we continued to refrain from organizing outdoors minyanim.
By G-d’s mercies, after another two weeks, the epidemic situation seems to be improving in Israel in general and in our region in particular. In view of this, we have again asked the doctors to consider the dangers of outdoors minyanim. Most of those who answered thought that if the safety instructions (attached to this letter) were properly adhered to, this could be allowed. A minority of doctors believed that the Minyanim should not yet be allowed.
In light of this the Halacha is:
One who wish to follow the more strict view and continue to daven at home – may do so.
One who is willing to rely on the Ministry of Health’s permit and pray in an outdoor minyan according to the safety instructions – may do so.
please note: Along with the great joy that in G-d’s mercy the plague is weakening, and we can once again gather for a minyan, there is also a fear of a recurring outbreak. We must stand fast and take care that our davening would not, G-d forbid, bring any danger, but rather our requests will be materialized, and Hashem will send a full speedy recovery to all sick.
In prayer for salvation
Rav, Mevaser Tzion shul