The Jewish Chronicle
Chief Rabbi: Please avoid ‘tragic’ Purim
CHIEF RABBI Ephraim Mirvis has appealed for a responsible celebration of Purim next week, ensuring that is enjoyed safely within social distancing restrictions.
Where there is no safe option to hear the Megillah in synagogue, it would be permissible to hear a live online recital, Rabbi Mirvis explained in a video message. He recalled that “a year ago, unknown to us, some of our Purim celebrations provided an environment in which the coronavirus could spread.
“It was so tragic that on the very day when we celebrate our physical survival, there was danger to our lives and, through us, to others.”
Purim last year occurred a fortnight before Boris Johnson announced the first lockdown.
If men and women could safely go to synagogue to hear the Megillah on both the evening and morning of Purim, they should do, Rabbi Mirvis said. “But if owing to Covid restrictions, this is not possible, and there is no other option available, then you should listen to a live online recital rather than a recording.”
To fulfil the mitzvah of mishloach manot, people should leave their gift of food on the doorstep of the recipient — or have it delivered.
“And why not give mishloach manot this year to those who are vulnerable or living alone? They will certainly appreciate it.
“Let us not do anything this year on Purim which will produce, God forbid, a Chillul Hashem, a desecration of God’s name,” he urged.
The Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations, the main body for London’s Charedi synagogues, has also issued instructions for the festival. In a notice in English and Hebrew, the union’s rabbis emphasised in red the importance of adhering to “government Covid-19 guidance”.