Weekly Commentary: Rabbinic Leadership Failing Bnei Brak Residents - Silent
On Refusal Of Infected To Evacuate
Dr. Aaron Lerner 6 April 2020
With the exception of some fringe elements, the rabbinic leadership of the
haredi communities in Israel have all ruled that the life threatening nature
of the corona virus is so great that the synagogues. yeshivot and heders
must remain closed.
Health officials have determined that in light of the crowded housing in the
city, those residents of Bnei Brak infected with the corona virus must be
evacuated from the city in order to stop the spread of the disease.
Arrangements have been made for the infected residents to stay in hotels
with food supplied under strict Eida Hareidi kashrut supervision. All of
this at no charge to the evacuees.
But almost all the infected residents refuse to be evacuated from Bnei Brak.
I don't know if they simply don't want to be separated from their families,
have a tradition of only eating at their own table on Passover or have some
But their reason does not matter.
The greatest Torah sage in Bnei Brak recently ruled that anyone who fails to
honor the instructions regarding the closure of the synagogues and yeshivot
is a "rodef" - one who is "pursuing" another to murder him.
If someone attending synagogue services is a "rodef" surely an infected
resident who, by their action, threatens the health of their family and in
turn the entire community, is a "rodef" as well.
It is time for the rabbinic leadership to take a clear and vocal stand on
I have no doubt that by the same token that their explicit ruling to close
down the synagogues was immediately honored, so to would their ruling that
corona virus infected residents of Bnei Brak must cooperate with the
authorities and accept evacuation to a hotel.
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