We will review some practical issues for Yom Kippur that are likely to come up this year, in the shadow of Corona. Although local rabbis will address many of them and public policy may change, we assume our discussion will be helpful.
A Kaddish without a Minyan. B Responding to Kaddish or Kedusha heard over the phone. C Praying at the same time the community is praying. D Reciting Hagomel following recovery from the coronavirus. E Automated hand washing system on Shabbat and Yom Tov. F Guidelines for hearing the Megillah for people in quarantine. G How to conduct a quick Seder. H Using a microphone for services on Yamim Noraim. I Automated Temperature screening on Shabbat and Yom Tov. J Participation in a Siyum by Skype. K 100 Blasts for the Homebound. L Covering a shofar with a mask.
We have an outdoor “Corona minyan” outside the entrance of my building. Some men stand in locations that make it impossible to enter or exit the building without entering someone’s four amot. I (a woman) avoid passing by during davening, but to take my son to his school van, I go before Shemoneh Esrei. Last week, I felt compelled to pass by during Shemoneh Esrei and return during chazarat hashatz. Was that permissible?
We obviously can't understand how God runs the world. On the other hand, the questions, ramifications, and thoughts that inevitably arise out of our Godly intelligence and curiosity, in such an extreme and rare world crisis, are surely part (!) of what is meant to preoccupy us. Rather than seeing this as a "punishment" of an angry god, which is more fitting for a childish or pagan world-view, we believe that our loving Father works through sending us "educational lessons" or challenges, which build us and help us notice problems or shortcomings in our current routine. These 20+ social, familial, religious, universal, national, and Zionist outcomes, are surely meant to be noticed, to reap the benefits of "Gam zu l'tova!", "all God does is for the best!"