A leading Israeli rabbi has claimed that skipping Torah studies is more dangerous for citizens than COVID-19.
Orthodox rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, a leading member of Israel’s Haredi Jewish community, suggested that skipping Torah studies could be more dangerous than contracting COVID-19, according to reports.
Local media said that Kanievsky ordered his hundreds of thousands of followers to defy the Health Ministry’s virus restrictions by keeping Torah schools open.
On 15th March, tens of thousands of Haredi students reportedly attended religious lessons in line with the rabbi’s wishes.
When he was asked whether schools and yeshivas, a Jewish educational institution that focuses on the study of traditional religious texts, should close in the face of the COVID-19 outbreak, Kanievsky said: “God forbid.”
Spokesperson for the Orthodox Council of Jerusalem Yitzhak Weiss agreed with the rabbi, saying: “It is more dangerous to close the schools, because our tradition says the Torah protects and saves us from calamities, and to close the schools of Torah learning children would do more harm.”
According to local media, police officers have visited Kanievsky’s home to persuade him to close the yeshivas and schools.
Cops also visited the homes of other influential religious figures who encouraged students to stay in class despite measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Reports said that Kanievsky has however agreed to limit Torah study groups to no more than 10 people.
As of 17th March, 304 confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Israel.
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