COVID RULES WREAK PURIM HAVOC: Communities Cancel Purim Collections and Events, Putting a Damper on Celebrations

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After reported that for the first time in 80 years, Beth Medrash Govoha will not host a mesibas Purim, communities across the country have been announcing restrictions and cancellations for Purim in light of Covid-19 concerns, putting a damper on any planned celebrations.

Each year, hundreds upon hundreds of people gather at Beth Medrash Govoha in Lakewood, NJ, for a Purim mesibah on the first night of Purim, Motzoei Taanis Esther. Not this year, as the yeshiva has been compelled to cancel an event that has been called “the highlight of the year” for any attendees.

Meanwhile, in a letter, Agudath Israel’s Midwest Region Council of Synagogue Rabbonim released a letter in which they state that “Purim…like much else that has happened this past year will have to be different than in the past. Despite our firm belief in the power and the merit of yzedakah and specifically hachzakas hatorah, we nevertheless strongly request for groups not to be sent to our community this coming Purim to collect funds. In addition, even bachurim from Chicago that [sic] will be home for Purim should be asked not to go around collecting.”

The letter goes on to state that this “request is unfortunately what is necessary at this time, bearing in mind the potential health concerns and chillul Hashem that this can chas v’shalom create. This is in addition to the fact that we have received reports that many households are not comfortable at this time opening their doors to the influx of visitors.”

The Chicago letter is signed by Rabbi Zev Cohen, Rabbi Shmuel Fuerst, Rabbi Shmuel Yehuda Levin, Rabbi Dovid Zucker, Rabbi Henoch Plotnik, and Rabbi Yaakov Robinson on behalf of the Chicago Rabbanim of the Midwest Agudas Yisroel Vaad HaRabbanim.

A similar letter was released by rabbonim in Los Angeles.

In Baltimore, Rabbi Yaakov Hopfer penned a letter on behalf of the Vaad Harabanim of Baltimore, stating that “We ask that our community shuls remain committed to mandating mask wearing and social distancing during davening, learning and shiurim. We understand the discomfort, but it is a small price to pay for safeguarding the health of your neighbor.”

As far as Krias HaMegillah, the letter states that “When possible, shuls should arrange for multiple Megillah readings so that all have the opportunity to fulfill this sacred mitzvah… Community Purim seudos, mesibos or other gatherings, even with appropriate precautions, should be avoided. Purim seudos must necessarily be limited due to social distancing requirements, avoidance of prolonged exposure, and singing and dancing in enclosed spaces. For those who have not achieved immunity, the Purim seudah would best be conducted within the family ‘bubble.’”

Rabbi Hopfer goes on to state that in fulfilling the mitzvah of mishloach manos, “it would be prudent to minimize social interaction with the people to whom we give.” As far as matanos la’evyonim, “Bochurim should not go out in groups to collect money.”

In Chicago, a special fund is being set up for individuals to contribute to, and after Purim the funds will be distributed to the yeshivos that have regularly come to the community in the past.




  1. Seriously?? ‘Wreaks Havoc on Purim??’ Does anyone not know of someone personally who died from this disease? Does anyone not know of a suffering family? And all you can think about is being drunk? Purim is not cancelled, it is just being toned down. Relax.

  2. Your headline states: “Communities Cancel Purim Collections and Events, Putting a Damper on Celebrations”. I think there is a big flaw with your use of the word “damper”.

    The authors of these community directives are the Rabbanim shlita of their respective communities. As yidden, we believe “Yiftach bdoro, kShmuel b’doro”. Our current Rabbanim are our eyes and light as Shmuel was for his dor.

    Would you ever state “Hilchos muktzah puts a damper on Shabbos enjoyment?!

    It is a zchus to listen to our Rabbanim!

  3. Your headline says COVID RULES WREAK HAVOC. It should be COVID WREAKS HAVOC.

    This is not cause of covid rules but cause of covid itself.

  4. So what did the olam do this past Simchas Torah? In our Shul in Brooklyn we danced lebedik like every other year. Yes, we held hands as we danced in a circle. B”H no one from our Shul died because they were misameach with the Torah. We don’t need to placate the goyim. They hate us like poison and nothing will change that. If you want to show the goyim how “concerned” we are and how “sensitive” we are towards their “feelings”, CANCEL ALL TRIPS TO ORLANDO!!! CANCEL ALL TRIPS TO DUBAI! Cancel these indoor waterparks! For these Torah haters, it’s always the SHULS that must go by the wayside. Only in Shuls does the Aibishter have the koach to kill off Klal Yisroel. Outside of the mikdash miat, the Aibishter is impotent r”l. Sick wicked erev rav.

    • Well said! Oh, and you forgot resteraunts. No problem eating there but Heaven forfend to walk in to shul again! That source of prayer where kaddish can abolish the harshest of decrees is a Corona hotbed.

  5. What’s wrong with you, editor? Are you trying to be sensationalist on purpose? (Obviously you are.)

    Two days ago it was “destroying Purim”, now “wreaking havoc”… you are at fault when people don’t take corona seriously by using these words.

    Wearing masks to shul and not flying in boys to collect and get drunk is not going to “destroy” purim. Purim will go on and absolutely can be meaningful, perhaps without the hefkerus it used to have. it will be full of meaning and sincerity.

    Fire your headline writer.

    • Meaningful my foot. Without the lebedik dancing and being misamiach with others, Purim will NOT be the same. Yeh, call up the gvir over the phone for a donation. Yeh, that’s really going to work. Every gvir loves to answer phone calls from numbers they don’t recognize. Aha. And then they’re going to have a paper and pen ready to jot down the name and address of each person who called. Aha. Total lala land. Ain’t gonna happen. Without going to the house of the gvir, the tzidaka organizations are going to suffer big time.

  6. For SURE the Rabbonim, Vaadim, and Roshei Yeshivah are correct, and WITHOUT ANY DOUBT OR QUESTION we MUST follow their direction. And EVEN, like some out there may say, the p’sokim and suggestions are ill-based or only to avoid perceived, we must follow.

    HOWEVER, it is important to see the hashgachah in all this and ask, “For what reason did the Hashgachah decree that the Yom Tov of Sof HaNissim, the Yom Tov which will never become botul. should, R”L be taken away, in great part, from us. This is NOT mikreh, but full of purpose and reason.

  7. There’s a typo in your title, let me fix that for you:


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