Israel’s Chief Rabbi Says Coronavirus Patients Forbidden From Fasting On Tisha B’av

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Israel’s chief Ashkenazi rabbi, Rabbi David Lau, issued guidelines on Monday that stated coronavirus patients and those with possible symptoms of the disease were prohibited from fasting on Tisha B’Av, which will begin at sundown on Wednesday.

“Unfortunately for all of us, the plague is intensifying and we need the mercy of heaven,” Rabbi Lau said, according to Israeli news site N12.

“The weather on Tisha B’Av will be warmer than usual,” he added, “and therefore, in addition to the duty we all have to observe the guidelines of the Ministry of Health in full, I would like to add these halachic guidelines as well.”

Rabbai Lau declared that fasting was forbidden in the following cases:

  • A patient diagnosed with the coronavirus, even if they do not feel sick.
  • Anyone with a fever of over 38 degrees Celsius (100.4 degrees Fahrenheit).
  • Those who have symptoms of the coronavirus, even if they have not been diagnosed.
  • Those recovering from the coronavirus.
  • Those who have fully recovered but still feel physically weak.

In addition, anyone currently under quarantine who has no symptoms should fast, but if they feel physical weakness, they can drink minimal liquids. If the weakness gets worse, they are not permitted to fast.

Those permitted to eat, however, should do so only to the extent necessary to maintain their health and no more. In addition, they must observe the remainder of the day’s traditions.

Besides Rabbi Lau’s guidelines, other adjustments are being made to the observation of Tisha B’Av, a solemn day on which disasters that have befallen the Jewish people ‐‐ including the destruction of the bais hamikdash ‐‐ are remembered.

The recital of public lamentations will be shortened and they do not have to be recited in a shul. In addition, davening at the Kosel in Yerushalayim’s Old City will be restricted, with davening being recited only in groups of 20 people apiece and the total number of worshipers capped at 1,000.

Normally, tens of thousands of people observe Tisha B’Av at the Kosel.

To provide an alternative option, davening at the Western Wall will be broadcast live. It can be viewed at

The Algemeiner (c) 2020. Benjamin Kerstein.



  1. Covid19-infected people under 60 have a less than 1 in 1,000 chance of dying from covid19. People in their 70’s and 80’s – about 5 in 1,000. Obviously, a one is too many to pass away and all lives are important, and we should do every hishtadlus to save lives, but covid19 fatality rates are very much comparable to a bad influenza season. Did R Lau issue the same psak regarding influenza, because every year *many thousands* pass away due to influenza?! Crickets?! Obviously he didn’t. Therefore, he was either misinformed about the fatality rates, or he made his statement based on the political, not halachik, reasons. Obviosly, I am *not* suggesting that people with 100 degree fever should fast, but an asymptomatic covid19 diagnosis for otherwise healthy people under 60 is *not* any more of a sakona than a regular cold virus. Don’t paskin if you don’t know all details of the subject matter, and don’t masquerade politics as a psak. Don’t sell out Toras H!

    • who would fast with a active infection? most Rabbis would tell people not to fast if sick. take your propaganda elsewhere!

      • 5:23am, reread the post as many times as it takes for the basic comprehension to kick in, then go to sleep, and wake up at 1pm to daven shacharis.

    • Rabbi Dovid Lau learned in Ponovetz Yeshiva. May I ask you which yeshiva did you learn?
      Re. who is in sakana, I suggest you took the temperature of your neshama because you are certainly in sakana even though this doesn’t give you the license to eat tomorrow. You are well advised to write with deference about someone who is certainly greater in Torah than you are because one disgracing Torah scholars be’rabbim as you did have no olam haba.

      • After consulting with doctors, Rabbi Yittzckak Yosef Shlita wrote:
        “A verified coronavirus carrier who suffers from symptoms or excessive weakness is exempt from fasting, and may eat only that which is necessary. And since he is ill there is no need to eat in small measured portions, rather one may eat as usual.
        A verified carrier not suffering any symptoms must fast, unless the doctor tells him to eat so that he does not become ill. In this case one should eat and drink in measured portions like one would on Yom Kippur in similar circumstances. And if a doctor says one is defined as ill, then he should eat and drink as usual.
        Asymptomatic carriers in isolation must fast.
        A patient who had suffered severe pneumonia, etc., or who had been sedated and on ventilator and has now recovered, should consult a doctor whether he may fast. And if the doctor says he should eat and drink he should not be stringent with himself.
        A person who develops coronavirus symptoms in the course of the fast, such as high fever, cough, loss of taste and smell, is defined as ill and is to be exempted from fasting on Tisha B’Av.
        Those engaged in emergency medicine and coronavirus testing, if by fasting they will be prevented from performing their work, especially if they have to wear special clothes for this purpose in the heat of the day, it should be permitted for them to eat and drink, and it is right that they eat and drink in measured portions.
        Regarding washing and anointing on Tisha B’Av, Rabbi Yosef ruled that it is permissible to disinfect hands with soap and water or alcogel, etc., when one’s intention is to clean.

        • 6:50am, didn’t you just say the same thing I said in the original post?! Let me guess, you didn’t get a high score in English comprehension on your SAT.

      • Dear 6:50am, reread the post as many times as it takes for the basic comprehension to kick in. In general, you should avoid typing up stupid comments until you daven shacharis, you know.

      • 8:46am, what are qualifications to type up stupid comments? Just because your asylum has a WiFi, it doesn’t mean your shrink allowed you to go online while drooling excessively.

  2. thank for the link with so few their this year so many more will be heir online
    may this be the last year we sit on the floor and cry


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