Mirvis' plea to avoid a 'tragic' Purim

Ephraim Mirvis urges Covid-safe celebrations after some gatherings last year 'provided an environment in which the coronavirus could spread'



Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis has appealed for the responsible celebration of Purim next week, ensuring that is done 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, he explaine in a video message. 

Rabbi Mirvis 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. 

“This Purim, therefore, let us guarantee that we will celebrate safely.” 

Last year, the festival 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 and step back at a safe distance 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,” he said. 

Charity should be given online and the Purim seudah (meal) enjoyed only with members of one’s household. 

“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, stressing that the seudah should be confined to family members only and guidelines should be followed to minimise the number of people on the street. 

In a notice in English and Hebrew, the union’s rabbis emphasised in red the importance of adhering to “government Covid-19 guidance”. 



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