NEW YORK (JNS) – As the coronavirus pandemic continues to rage throughout the world and within Jewish communities—and especially in light of the new virus variants discovered in the United Kingdom and South Africa—public-health guidance dictates continued mask-wearing and social distancing, and vaccination as soon as possible.
The Orthodox Union and the Rabbinical Council of America note that these mitigation efforts against COVID-19 are a halachic responsibility, fulfilling the value of pikuach nefesh—preserving and protecting life.
Along with practical efforts of mitigation, the two Jewish organizations advise that Jews can engage in tefillah, both privately and publicly.
In that spirit, the OU and Rabbinical Council of America join the call that was issued on Tuesday by Chief Rabbi David Lau, in consultation with HaGaon Rav Chaim Kanievsky, for a national day of tefillah on Jan. 21 (8 Shevat).
Individuals and synagogues are urged to make efforts to intensify their tefillot and to add appropriate prayers and tehillim, specifically Psalms 13, 20, 121, 130 and 142.
They are said in the hope for an end to the pandemic, and healing and restoration to those who have experienced loss, illness and struggle.