KIRYAT SEFER (VINnews) — Rabbi Meir Kessler, the rabbi of Kiryat Sefer, published a sharp letter Sunday in which he explained why he had decided to cancel all minyanim in his town and why those males who continue to immerse in the Mikve are doing a terrible act which could cause untold damage.
Rabbi Kessler praised the gabbaim who had endeavored to maintain public minyanim after the shuls were closed but added that “unfortunately we have heard what happened in centers of Torah in other cities and countries where the danger has increased.
“In our city as well there are more and more sick people, but we know from official sources that there are people in our city who are sick (but not yet properly verified) and despite the unequivocal ruling to stay in their homes, they act irresponsibly and with callous disregard to those around them. Woe to them on the day of judgment, since all those who cause others even to be sick will be severely punished.
“Additionally, medical officials maintain that even in an open space and with proper distancing there is a possibility of infection, especially if people are not careful and this may endanger them and others. It is clear that prevention of meetings between people reduces the danger.
“Therefore: a) There should be no more outdoor minyanim, everyone should pray in his home b)Nobody should learn in shuls even individually, everyone should learn at home c)Whoever has the slightest symptoms of illness should not leave his house without medical authorization d) Some people are acting irresponsibly regarding immersing in a mikve, thinking that this would be extreme piety. About them the Rambam writes (Tumas Ochlin 16: 12) that “purity of the body leads to sanctity of the mind from evil thoughts,” and those who endanger themselves and their friends have done nothing with their immersion. Those who cause damage to property should know that the greatest prosecutor [against a person]is theft.”
Rabbi Kessler concluded his letter with a plea to accept with humility and submission that Hashem wishes us to serve him in a different way and the pain we feel from the change in all our ways of life is itself an atonement and saves us from danger.”