NEW YORK (VINnews) — In his latest Facebook video, Dr. Stuart Ditchek, an infectious disease specialist from Brooklyn, New York, declares unequivocally that all shuls in New York should be closed immediately and whoever goes to Shul with a Minyan at present is a sinner who could potentially be a murderer if he infects older or weaker individuals with COVID-19.
Dr. Ditchek stresses that sitting apart does not help as there are germs on the siddurim and on doorknobs and other surfaces that live for a long time and can be transmitted easily from person to person.
“You are playing with peoples lives, its unfair, its counter to Halacha and it selfish- don’t go to Daven in Shul, ” Doctor Ditchek concludes, adding that outdoor minyanim are also prohibited as they are technically gatherings and could infect large numbers of participants.
URGENT APPEAL FROM DR. DITCHEK
Posted by Stuart Ditchek on Wednesday, March 18, 2020
It might be right not to go to shul. But why is that the first thing Drs say not to do??
No one should be going to pizza stores or even to business for that matter.
To call someone a murderer is quite provocative, and I understand the doctor is trying to make a point.
But for that matter the doctor should be telling other doctors that when people call with complaints of a cold, they should not be pushing it off and dismissing it.
Many people who have a small or no symptoms have the virus.
If a doctor make small issue about someone having a cold (which I’ve heard from many people in the community it’s happening)and dismiss is it, G-d Forbid, that can lead to someone spreading it to someone else.
I wouldn’t call the doctor a “murderer”,I but just try to make the point strongly how careful everyone has to be.
So please when telling people not to go to shul,you should make the case as strong as possible but don’t call people murderers.
Why did not the doctor go out and protest the gays who are spreading diseases with their sins. A Jew going to Daven is not a sinner. I myself went to Daven here in Brooklyn with a beautiful minyan. As long as you have space there is no danger said Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky. All of a sudden people are classifying good Jews as sinners because evil democRATs like Cuomo and debalsio want to scare and destroy the American economy to make Trump look bad. Even before this caronavirus these democRATs began making laws that destroy the economy. They destroyed the real estate market and then they want stores to charge for bags and increase taxes to pay for the hoax called global warming. They want people to use paper bags. But what about the millions of trees that will be needed to be cut down to make the paper bags. They want to ban straws and fur and streimels and have people drive on ocean parkway at 25 miles an hour or after five tickets lose their car.
Hong Kong, South Korea and Singapore have gotten it under control very quickly by listening to the rules set by their governments ( handwashing, masks, self quarantine with symptoms etc) without these draconian measures. They didn’t close businesses and restaurants etc.
Additionally, the rules set by the CDC and NYC( available on their websites) are completely different than this pediatrician is preaching.
Klal yisrael needs tefillos now and it should be done by the rules set out by the government and not a local doctor who’s not even an infectious disease specialist. We should be vigilant and smart social distancing, constant hand washing, self quarantine those exposed and with symptoms,gloves . There is no reason we can’t daven in small groups and be smart about it. People are going out of their houses for other things
For those of you who don’t care about spreading a dangerous virus and with Pesach around the corner, here’s some Chizuk: It has been a longstanding Minhag among Jews that לכבוד (19 ) יום טוב everyone has Sedorim with their extended families and friends.
Dr. Ditchek’s statement is in line with what world-renowned medical experts have been saying.
I was a resident when Dr. Ditchek was chief resident at SUNY Downstate. He is very bright. I trust him.
I know Rabbi Aaron Glatt MD, an infectious disease expert who was one of the brightest fellows at SUNY Downstate in the 1980s, and became a national expert in infectious diseases. I trust him.
I did a rotation in 1987 at the National Institutes of Health under Anthony Fauci decades ago. He is one of the best infectious disease experts in the world. I trust him.
I have watched a recent interview with Dr. W. Ian Lipkin, a world-renowned epidemiologist. I trust him.
I have studied medical halacha for decades, including at the annual Yarchei Kallah on Medical Halacha [www.j-c-r.org], which has featured the most prominent halachic authorities, and this sugya has been covered at length; indeed, there are clear-cut marei mekomos on this.
For example, see:
Baba Kamma 60b, including the Rashash, and see Shmiras haNefesh, perek 184, for a relatively lengthy discussion about plague, citing the Remo, Mishnah Berura, and other sources; see also Rav Tvzi Gutman’s chapter on rodef in Arzei haLevanon, wherein he classifies an unintentional person who endangers others as a rodef who may be stopped via extreme means; see Rav Akiva Eiger’s teshuva on the plague in 1831, and the harsh measures he took to stop the plague, earning him commendation by the King of Prussia.
This plague is unique in history.
It is apparently much more deadly than seasonal flu [which typically kills up to 300,000 people every year]. Data so far suggest this virus can kill at least 10 times and perhaps 35 times that number, ie 10 million people. Furthermore, it can kills over 20% of elderly people who contract it, and 5% or more of individuals with medical conditions like heart disease, lung disease, and diabetes.
After someone contracts the virus, he/she may not show any symptoms for several days, perhaps up to 2 weeks. During that time, anyone who comes within several feet of that person, as well as someone who may touch an item or counter-top which the carrier has touched, can get infected.
As noted, going to any crowded location, such as a supermarket, can expose dozens of people to the virus.
Each infected person typically infects 2 or more others. Do the math, and you’ll see that someone who goes to a large minyan indoors will almost certainly infect several other people, these will infect several other people, and within 10 days or so one person may have caused infections in well over 100 people.
These are the facts as we know them.
Once informed of the facts during a White House conference call, over a dozen chassidic rebbes took action [Satmar Rebbe, Gerrer Rebbe, Belzer Rebbe, etc], essentially closing their shuls and almost all yeshivas].
The Eidah Chareidis is working with the State of Israel to deal with this.
This is a worldwide crisis, with international experts trying to prevent what has happened in countries like Italy, where a lackadaisical response has led to the death of thousands.
What is the danger? With such high numbers of people becoming sick, hospitals may be overwhelmed. There are simply not enough ICU beds nor enough ventilators for the number of people expected at present to become seriously ill. Ask people working in hospitals or ask Hatzolah members to verify the increasing number of members of our community who have to be hospitalized.
When many people do not follow directives, the ratio will only grow, and more people will die, chas v’sholom.
Is it worth it for people to die because you want to go to minyan?
If someone needs food, there are people who are not infected or who have recovered who might be able to help. There are delivery services. Food is a necessity to stay alive. Davening in a minyan is not a necessity to stay alive. We would not steal food from someone to stay alive, would we? Yet, we are willing to cause the death of someone so that we can go to a minyan?
Finally, articles in the NY Times about supposed defiance by “the” chassidic community have gone viral. Millions of people are being taught that frum Jews do not care about their very lives, and are willfully spreadling a fatal disease. This is beyond a chillul HaShem. This is creating a sakanah for Yidden that makes the phrase ‘mipnai aivah” inadequate, and recall that we are mechalel Shabbos mipnai aivah.
Don’t let speculation, ignorance or a false frumkeit [see Alei Shor on frumkeit] stand in the way of protecting your life, the lives of your friends and neighbors, and the lives of our elderly and those with medical conditions.
Ignorance is bliss is gematria Jewish community 2020.
Well said Physician. I really can’t understand why so many people cling so desperately to davening with a minyan in the face of clear and overwhelming rabbinical and medical opposition to it. STAY HOME– if there’s even a “ch’shash” of contracting illness, it is clear hatzalas nefashos. We have all these gedeirim in halacha where we don’t do something that is technically itself permissible, so that we don’t indirectly come to do the thing that is impermissible. Well, this is another geder- just as binding. STAY HOME. DON”T BE A BIGGER TZADDIK THAN NECESARY.
And then you get intellectual luminaries like “Heshy” who start talking about gays and plastic bags and Trump. Heshy, you can go to minyan. Lick the doorknobs while you’re there, because after all there’s no problem.
If all you experts, and the elderly, are locked up in your homes, what do you care if others want to kill themselves? What do you care if 10 guys decide they want to go out (die) with a minyan? It sounds to me that the elitists/well connected are jealous that the peasants are refusing to be stripped of their freedoms. The well connected machers want to be able to go out shopping and leasure without seeing a single peasant out there. They hope and pray that it stays that way forever. Poor hardworking people are a scourge on their way of life. If only we, besereh menschen, can live without these lowlifes as neighbors.
I read these comments and am dismayed by the sheer stupidity of some of the posters.
Good G-d, we are facing an incredible certain death that will be visited upon many members of our community.
Common sense is that we listen to the medical professionals who do this everyday day in day out.
To opine as to whether ones behavior at this time is in line with biblical thought or interpretation, is sheer lunacy.
Lets live another day and then we can all patsch ourselves in the tuchus how smart we are.
First you live then you can daven. The dead dont daven. The dead dont do mitzvahs.
We must do all we can to live.