Religion and the Law

"Prominent Ultra-Orthodox Rabbi Ordered His Hundreds of Thousands of Followers … to Defy the Health Ministry's Coronavirus Restrictions"

|

The Times of Israel (Jacob Magid) reports:

After a prominent ultra-Orthodox rabbi ordered his hundreds of thousands of followers in the Lithuanian sect to defy the Health Ministry's coronavirus restrictions by keeping schools open, senior police officials were seen heading into his home on Sunday in a reported attempt to convince him to walk back the directive.

The group of officers entering the home of Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky in the Haredi Tel Aviv suburb of Bnei Brak was accompanied by senior members of Hatzalah, an ultra-Orthodox emergency volunteer service, according to the B'hadrei Haredim news site….

Kanievsky had also issued an edict on Sunday telling followers that the best ways to defeat the virus are to avoid lashon hara (gossiping about one's peers), to strengthen their humility and to place the needs of others before their own.

Yeshiva World reports that the rabbi "said that bittul Torah [neglect of Torah study] is more dangerous than the coronavirus"; no word on whether he has changed his mind after the police visit.

Reminds me of the old Duck's Breath Mystery Theatre song, "Jesus Drives My Semi When I'm Sleeping"—I couldn't find either audio or lyrics, but the title pretty much says it all. Thanks to Larry Seltzer for the pointer.

UPDATE: Commenter_XY points to a Times of Israel follow-up (Jacob Magid):

Ultra-Orthodox religious leaders [including Kanievsky] on Sunday night said Haredi schools would remain open Monday, but said they would divide the students into groups of ten to avoid the spread of COVID-19.

NEXT: Leading Causes of Death in 1900 U.S.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Only thing I could find out about this song is that its name is “Trucker’s Star.”

    See https://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/funny-business-an-entire-evening-with-ian-shoales/Content?oid=872498
    ” ‘Truckers’ Star,’ a Red Sovine type of tune about a trucker who claims that when he’s asleep, Jesus drives his truck. “

  2. There is a little more to that story, Professor.

    From the Times of Israel, “Ultra-Orthodox religious leaders on Sunday night said Haredi schools would remain open Monday, but said they would divide the students into groups of ten to avoid the spread of COVID-19.”

    https://www.timesofisrael.com/ultra-orthodox-schools-to-remain-open-with-students-split-into-groups-of-10/

    1. they also said that anybody who themselves or has any member of their immediate family showing any symptoms or under quarantine orders must not attend classes.

      1. Who cares about a 14-day incubation period?

        Not the gullible, superstitious, and belligerently ignorant, it appears.

        1. that’s subsumed under “quarantine order”. As anybody with the slightest understanding of legal terminology could have deduced.

  3. It’s so refreshing to know that the general stupidity of clerics isn’t confined to just some of the world’s religions.????????‍♂️

  4. This is how you summon David Bernstein to write a post about how you’re antisemitic.

    1. I don’t think so. I generally agree with David Bernstein on matters pertaining to Israel, Zionism, and Judaism, but I too am aghast at the idiocy of this rabbi.

  5. The Congregation Of Exalted Reason offers an uplifting song of praise and joy during this stressful time:

    I was driving home early Sunday morning through Bakersfield
    Listening to gospel music on the colored radio station
    And the preacher said, ‘you know you always have the Lord by your side’
    And I was so pleased to be informed of this that I ran
    twenty red lights in his honor
    Thank you Jesus, thank you Lord
    I had an arrangement to meet a girl, and I was kind of late
    And I thought by the time I got there she’d be off,
    she’d be off with the nearest truck driver she could find
    Much to my surprise, there she was sittin’ in the corner
    a little bleary-eyed, worse for wear and tear
    Was a girl with far away eyes
    So if you’re down on your luck
    And you can’t harmonize
    Find a girl with far away eyes
    And if you’re downright disgusted
    And life ain’t worth a dime
    Get a girl with far away eyes
    Well the preacher kept right on saying that all I had to do was send
    Ten dollars to the church of the Sacred Bleeding Heart Of Jesus
    located somewhere in Los Angeles, California
    and next week they’d say my prayer on the radio
    and all my dreams would come true
    So I did, the next week, I got a prayer with a girl . . .
    well, you know what kind of eyes she got, well I’ll tell ya
    So if you’re down on your luck
    I know you all sympathize
    Find a girl with far away eyes
    And if you’re downright disgusted
    And life ain’t worth a dime
    Get a girl with far away eyes
    So if you’re down on your luck
    I know you all sympathize
    Get a girl with far away eyes

    (Ronnie’s pedal steel is divine)

  6. Groups of ten, eh? The minyan number, the minimum number for a group studying in the Law to cause the Divine Presence to dwell among them.

  7. And of course it’s one world, so we all pay for such inanity. Faith, n: (Sometimes very harmful) superstition of which the speaker approves.

  8. This story demonstrates the idiocy of religion.

    A person (i.e. not God or a god), “ordered” other people to do something which, under today’s conditions, is highly questionable.

    This is about power and control, and NOTHING to do with belief in God, faith, piety, love, compassion, etc.

    This dumbass just wants another Jonestown, Waco, San Diego (Heaven’s Gate), etc.

  9. A prayer for our time:

    Dear God:

    Please do not send us any more religion; I don’t know how much more religion we can take.

    1. The Congregation Of Exalted Reason is the one and true way for you, my friend.

      — Rev. Kirkland

  10. The Rabbi is an expert in his field, and should thus be deferred to.

Please to post comments