Chief Rabbi condemns 'disgraceful' weddings and prayer gatherings

The observance of the mitzvot must not pose a threat to life, Rabbi Mirvis says in his weekly Torah address


Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis has condemned the holding of wedding celebrations or minyanim during the coronavirus shutdown as “indefensible and disgraceful”.

His comments during his address on the weekly Torah portion follows recent incidents including a wedding held in a home in Golders Green and the issuing of a prohibition notice on a synagogue in Stamford Hill.

“When a group of people gather together in a quorum in order to perform a mitzvah such as the celebration of a marriage or the staging of a tefillah [prayer] service in a minyan and it is a breach of law,” he said, “ they are endangering their lives, they are endangering the lives of others and they are causing a terrible Chillul Hashem – a desecration of God’s name.

“It is indefensible and it is disgraceful.”

In his address,  he highlighted the phrase of “v’chai bahem” from the Torah, that the commandments should be performed in order to “live through them.”

The Talmud stressed that the mitzvot should never be cause a threat to life.

“Not Shabbat, not Yom Tov, not kashrut and right now in an extraordinary fashion, we are finding that just about the entire Jewish world is fulfilling this mitzvah of ‘v’chai bahem’.

“Our shuls are closed, we’re not gathering in numbers to perform the mitzvot that we should within a minyan because we value life, we don’t want the carrying out of mitzvot to present a danger to life.”

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