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Thursday, August 29, 2013

Prominent rabbis: No need for gas masks

Two prominent Haredi rabbis told their followers on Thursday that there is no need for gas masks. Rav Chaim Kanievsky urged followers to fear only the day of judgment on Rosh HaShanna (which is next week), and Rav Aaron Yehuda Leib Steinman urged followers to strengthen themselves in Torah study (link in Hebrew). I have translated part of the article below.

In the last 24 hours, Rav Steinman was asked how to act, and whether this time was different from previous times when Israelis tried to obtain gas masks (at which times Rav Steinman also said they were unnecessary).  Rav Steinman calmed those who asked, and said that in this period, we must strengthen ourselves with Torah study and fear of Heaven, and to seek merits for the oncoming day of judgment (Rosh HaShanna).

The Torah protects the people of Israel, Rav Steinman said. There is no need for masks.

A group of married students at the Mirrer Yeshiva in Jerusalem sent a question to Rav Chaim Kanievsky asking how they must prepare for the expected war, and whether they should go to the distribution points to obtain masks.

In response to their question, Rav Kanievsky laughed and said that masks are for Purim (the holiday on which people get dressed up in costume). Rav Kanievsky urged his questioners to continue to be absorbed in their Torah study without any suspicion or fear regarding what may follow.

Last night, additional people came to Rav Kanievsky's Bnei Brak home to ask if there is anything to fear. He said that we must only fear Rosh HaShanna and to worry about our merits in God's judgment.

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