Laws for Yom Kippur 5782 during the covid pandemic

AuthorRabbi Baruch Efrati
Publication Date14 Sep 2021
Preparing for Yom Kippur:

* It is a positive commandment from the Torah to do Teshuva to Hashem via confession (viduy) of the things we have done wrong and express regret. We should also take upon ourselves never to commit the sin again (דברים ל', רמב"ם הל' תשובה).

* How does one do teshuva? First comes the realization that one has sinned, then one confesses in words to Hashem, abandons the sin and does not repeat it in the present time, regrets it cognitively, is shamed by it emotionally, and resolves not to repeat it in the future.

* For Mitzvot that are Ben Adam LeMakom, between you and Hashem, you have to confess to Hashem and not detail your wrongdoings to other people (יומא פו:). For Mitzvot that are Ben Adam LeChavero, between you and your fellow man, you must confess and apologize to the person you have wronged as well as confess and apologize to Hashem.

* If you have hurt your friend and your friend is unaware of it, for example, you spoke Lashon Hara about him, if the friend will not be hurt any further by knowing of the sin, you should apologize to him. If you think that your friend will be insulted and hurt by knowing about what you have done, do not ask for forgiveness (ממשמעות המג"א תר'ו, וכסברת ר' ישראל סלנט).

* It is best to be stringent when it comes to Kashrut during Aseret Yemei Teshuva, for example, you should refrain from eating לחם של נכרי and חלב נכרי.(bread baked by non-Jews and milk not supervised by Jews). This also goes for those who are more lenient about this on all other days of the year (ראבי"ה בשם ירושלמי שבת פ"ג).

Preparing the synagogue in light of the pandemic

* If it is possible to turn the women's section of the synagogue into an area for men to prevent crowding, that should not be done and the women's section should be left for women (Rabbi Dov Lior shlita). There are those who say women should be told to pray at home so that their prayer section can be used for men because men must pray in a minyan and women do not have to do so (Rabbi Neventsal shlita)

In any case, it is important to prevent arguments and bad feelings that could result from disagreement over this issue.

* It is against halakha to turn on, broadcast or view zoom during Yom Kippur. It is forbidden to use a microphone of any kind in shul.

* Halakha mandates obeying all the Health Ministry rules.

* One may do home testing for corona if necessary (Rabbi Neventsal).

Erev Yom Kippur:

* 'Kapparot' – Many of the big poskim have decided that it is best not to engage in the practice of Kapparot as there might be some suggestion of idolatry (רמב"ן ורשב"א בשו"ת ח"א שצה, וכן בשו"ע תרה). Although, it is our custom to do Kapparot on a chicken or on money. (It was Rashi's custom to do Kapparot on a vegetable but we should not do it any differently from what we have customarily done. (רמ"א ומג"א תרה). One can use a credit card for Kapparot after making a donation with it, by circling it overhead as with money.

* If one does kapparot with a...

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