Chief Rabbi: Covid-19 on the rise 'primarily due to irresponsibility'

Ephraim Mirvis used his Rosh Hashanah message to stress the importance of being mindful towards others


The Chief Rabbi has said “cases of Covid-19 are on the rise and this is primarily due to irresponsibility” towards one another.

Using his Dvar Torah for Rosh Hashanah to explain the biblical precedent for following coronavirus guidelines, Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis stressed that being mindful towards others during the period of atonement was even more important when acting irresponsibly posed a threat to lives.

“According to our tradition, for sins between ourselves and the Almighty, we go straight to God,” he said. “But if we have sinned against others, we must first appease them before God will hearken to our prayers.

“If this is the case with regard to regular situations, in which we’re hurting the feelings of others, offending others, disappointing them, how much more so does it apply to situations in which we might be presenting a threat to their very lives?”

Commenting on the passage of Genesis in which God confronts Adam over eating the forbidden fruit, the Chief Rabbi added: “Hashem is saying to us ‘how responsible are we being towards others?’ Because if we’re neglecting our health we could be posing a danger to the lives of others.”

Despite the increase in cases of Covid-19 in the lead up to the High Holy Days, Rabbi Mirvis said he would pray for “a good, happy, peaceful, fulfilling and, most of all, a healthy new year.”

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