Coronavirus Shabbos Directives
Going to Shul:
All medical and Rabbinical directives for one’s locality are to be guarded regarding going to Shul or arranging a private Minyan. This means that if the local Rabbinate or medical authorities request that shuls be closed and there be no congregation for Minyanim, then one may not make a Minyan and is to Daven in private at home. In Israel, following the guidelines of the ministry of health, as well as those of the Chief Israeli and local Rabbinate, Minyanim may only be conducted with no more than ten participants, staying a distance of two meters from each other, following directed hygiene, and without any sick individuals or individuals who require quarantine being present. If you are unsure whether your shul, or the private Minyan will follow these guidelines-DO NOT GO TO SHUL OR PARTICIPATE! You have an obligation to guard your health and it Halachically overrides the joining of a Minyan who will not keep the standards.
Going to Mikveh [men]:
Follow the Rabbinical and medical guidelines given. The Israeli Rabbinate has ordered all men Mikvaos closed as of Sunday, and so has been ordered by the Rabbanim in many other Jewish localities in the Diaspora. If this is the case in your locality, do not go to Mikveh even if you are aware of Mikvaos who are defying the instructions and leaving them open.
Directives for those not going to Shul:
- Davening time: Try to Daven the same time as your usual local Minyan if it is still taking place, [unless it takes place past Zeman Tefila in which case you should try to Daven beforehand].
- Reading Parsha from Chumash: After Shemoneh Esrei of Shacharis and Shir Shel Yom, read the Torah portion of Vayakehl Pekudei and Parshas Hachodesh from a Chumash. See Here for the full details of this matter. You can simultaneously utilize this for the saying of Shnayim Mikra, if you have yet to do so.
- Making up the reading next Shabbos: It is not possible to make up the Parsha of Vayakhel-Pekudei the next Shabbos, even if making or joining a Minyan becomes feasible next Shabbos and there is a Minyan of people who missed the reading. See Here for the full details of this matter. The same applies for Parshas Hachodesh, that it can not be made up the next Shabbos. See Here for the full details of this matter.
Directives for those not going to Mikveh:
Men who are unable to immerse in a Mikveh either due to their closure in one’s locality [as has been decreed in Israel] or due being placed in quarantine, can perform the following alternatives in place of Mikveh:
- Immerse in a swimming pool
- Shower for several minutes [on Shabbos, in cold water]
- Wash one’s hands forty times
- Learn Mishnayos Mikvaos
See here for the full details of this matter!
Directives for those making a private Minyan [In par with local Rabbinic and medical directives]:
- Meiyn Sheva: Don’t recite Meiyn Sheva after Maariv of Friday night with a blessing. It is to be recited without a blessing just as one who Davens in private. See Here for the full details of this matter.
- Bringing Sefer Torah: In this situation, you may bring a Sefer Torah to the Minyan on Shabbos for the sake of Kerias Hatora and then return it after the reading. However, it is best to set up the Sefer Torah in a makeshift ark on Friday and use it to read on Shabbos day and Shabbos Mincha, and if possible, also on Monday. See Here for the full details of this matter.
General directives for Shabbos:
- Be happy and encourage faith! Use the time to emphasize to your family the extra Bitachon and Emunah in Hashem that He will keep us safe just as He did by the time of the exodus where he protected us from the Mageifa on the night of the 15th, and that all that is occurring now is the footsteps of Moshiach!
- Washing hands with liquid soap: It is permitted to use liquid soap on Shabbos, although the custom is to liquify it with water before Shabbos, or to liquify on Shabbos before use if this was not done before Shabbos. Ideally, one should use only unscented soap to wash his hands, although if unscented soap is not available, then scented soap may be used so long as one does not intend at all to place the scent on his hands but simply to clean them. See Here for the full details of this matter.
- Kiddush: Those who may not leave their room due to quarantine may be Yotzei Kiddush from their room, upon listening to Kiddush recited outside their room. There is no need for them to drink the wine to be Yotzei.
- Wearing gloves and face mask: In those areas without an Eiruv, one should consult with his local Rav regarding if he may wear medical gloves and face mask outside, and if it is better that he stay home rather than walk out with them due to the carrying prohibition.