JERUSALEM (VINnews) — Rabbi Gershon Edelstein, the 98-year-old Rosh Yeshiva of Ponovezh, has contracted coronavirus, according to a report from his associates. The Rosh Yeshiva was tested for coronavirus after his body temperature rose and the test revealed that he was positive.
Rabbi Edelstein’s infection was surprising since he has been extremely careful since the beginning of the pandemic to maintain social distancing and only met people behind a plastic sheet. Moreover all members of his household kept masks on while in his presence. Rabbi Edelstein received the fourth shot of vaccine on Thursday but the vaccine’s protection does not begin until five days after the shot.
Both Rabbi Edelstein and Rabbi Kanievski have called on the chareidi public to vaccinate. Rabbi Edelstein said recently that ” in the merit of our efforts we will be able to continue our studies with G-d’s help.” The fourth shot of vaccine is currently being given to Israelis over 60 or with weak immune systems.
The public is requested to daven for Rabbi Yerachmiel Gershon Ben Miriam for a speedy recovery.
A number of other prominent Rosh Yeshivas have tested positive to the virus during a wave which has seen a huge spike in Omicron cases in Israel over the last week. Rabbi Baruch Weisbecker of Beis Matisyahu, who recently recovered from cancer, tested positive and Rabbi David Cohen of Chevron yeshiva, who had been especially cautious and even wore two masks and hardly left his house, also contracted coronavirus. Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Kook, Rosh Yeshiva of Meor Hatalmud in Rehovot and Rabbi Dov Landau, Rosh Yeshiva of Slabodka also contracted the virus.
Many yeshivas have also reported widespread infection from the Omicron strain of coronavirus. In the wake of the infections, Rabbi Edelstein and Rabbi Kanievski called on the yeshiva students to strengthen their studies and “not to allow the yetzer hara to disturb the study of Torah” but at the same time warned them to “make every possible effort not to infect others and to vaccinate according to requirements.”