Crucial letter and video from Rabbi Dr. Aaron Glatt

Dear Klal Yisroel:

I gave a talk tonight, motzei Shabbos Parshas Shmini, discussing the state of the art regarding COVID-19, a deadly machalah that has been particularly dangerous for our communities.

I described in detail why it is a matter of pikuach nefashos at this time to maintain maximal social distancing, including, I am so sad to have to say, not allowing minyanim. I heard the Novominsker gadol, ztkl, say to me on a phone call just two weeks before his petirah from this machala: “What is the question – it is a matter of pikuach nefashos.” Every gadol I have spoken with, across the entire United States, has echoed those words. I have received many phone calls from rabbonim and askonim asking me to state my opinion what should be our approach at this time.

Therefore, it is with a very heavy heart that I must emphatically say: As of today, I absolutely am convinced it is still a very real sakanas nefashos to step even a little bit back from our maximal social distancing.

Most NY hospitals have not yet gotten out of the “overwhelmed stage.” My hospital has BH gone from 400 COVID patients to now 300; from over 100 ventilated patients to 75, which represents a huge medical problem still. Be’ezras Hashem we will continue to see such improvement – but only if we do everything possible to prevent new cases from spreading.

There are reports from South Korea of 160 COVID patients with two negative tests subsequently getting a new positive COVID test. Similar reports are noted from Japan and China as well.

We still do not know and cannot state with certainty who is truly immune and for how long. We still do not know what antibody tests mean. There is much yet still to be learned.

Based upon all of the available medical evidence, it is way to soon to declare victory and return to normal. We must, very sadly, at this time, continue the life saving changes and draconian measures that we have been doing – including, very sadly, no minyanim yet. I say this as a person who never missed going to minyan, and as one who hopes iy”H very soon to return to that situation. But not yet.

In the zechus of following the holy words of our Torah, venshmartem meod as nafshoseichem, may we be zocheh to davening betzibbur together in the near future at the right time.

Hashem yeracheim aleinu ve’al kol Yisroel.

Aaron Glatt

Rabbi Aaron E. Glatt, MD, FACP, FIDSA, FSHEA


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There are 14 Comments to "Crucial letter and video from Rabbi Dr. Aaron Glatt"

  • Trying to understand says:

    Can someone please explain how daveining on on my porch, which is about 30 feet away from my neighbors porch, poses any risk of danger to anyone, in any way shape of form?

  • a yid says:

    I assume, from reading what he writes, that he means direct contact minyanim and not porch minyanim that stick to all standards of social distancing and then some. If there is some danger in the standards that the Lakewood rabbonim set this past Friday, I hope Dr. Glatt will clarify and explain.

  • James says:

    According o R’ Aaron Kotler quoted in the APP, there were aprox 50 deaths in Lakewood and the majority were vulnerable seniors.

    So why continue to have the entire town turned upside down? So why not focus on the seniors and all the other vulnerable people to keep them locked down and let the majority of the town live normal?

    • Been there, done that says:

      That experiment was already attempted, in the UK. It did not work. Unfortunately, human nature has to be taken into account whenever these measures are taken. If one is given a finger, human nature will say to take a hand. We live in a time where things have to be black and white. If there are any shades of gray, the rules will be bent until they are broken. People make rationalizations, and before you know it, cases of sickness will be on the rise again.

  • We lost way too many says:

    Unfortunately we lost many people who were not seniors.this it not a simple matter. It is life/death

  • B says:

    Unfortunately, if you read through the list of people that have passed away, about 50% are quite young (70 and below). Those are the facts. So for anyone to think that it’s safe for any set of people is simply mistaken.

  • Berel says:

    Your observations are on the mark. I’m waiting for the next retraction letter to come out based on not having followed the conditions.

  • bubbie zelda says:

    I am a single senior citizen. Live all alone . Staying home alone without visitors . And myself not visiting anybody is unfortunately very hard. You do not have to stress all the time that only seniors are dying from the virus, First of all it is not true. And we are PEOPLE TOO. Mostly its the young people that carry the virus . Because most of them dont practice the social distancing . And then they infect us Bubbies and Zeides, .Its not easy. But PIKUACH HANEFESH HAS TO BE VERY STRICTLY OBSERVED, .We especially old people survived much worse. BEI EZRATH HASHEM we will also survive this mageife. BIMHEIRA BEIYAMEINU Amein,

  • Eli says:

    Unfortunately with porch minyanim there is a risk that some people might not follow the strict guidelines that need to be followed. Especially if there are children present.

    • Sam says:

      There is also a major risk in driving, yet we don’t put the maximum at 5 mph because we understand it’s not sustainable. People have to get places and 5 mph doesn’t work.
      Putting closures without any plan on how long and how will one sustain himself is wrong. There has to be a plan because eventually we do have to open . So far I haven’t heard one person explain how it will work. Davening 30 feet away from a person doesn’t cause the virus to spread.
      Keeping America closed for an indefinite amount of time will end up costing more lives.
      So I ask these doctors, what’s the plan?

      • loops says:

        This is not a question for the doctors but for our Genius Governor. Every expert has said that the only way things can open is for mass testing, contact tracing and isolation. So far our genius Governor has made it clear that he has absolutely no plan in place for mass testing. His only solution has been to close the parks so everyone is now forced to stay home and gain massive amounts of weight as they slowly go berserk.

  • Frumoc with a cause says:

    Unfortunatley the ikar has become a tafel and Visa versa. The halacha states mishtadel lehispallel b’asarah. And by pikuach nefesh it says a passuk ushmartem meod lnafshoseichem. Why does everyone want to be moiser nefesh for a minyan and be maikel on pikuach nefesh? Mavil al haraayon!!! I will daven b’yechidus because I actually want to be frum and be a machmir.

  • Wow! says:

    I never before heard Dr. Glatt speak for more than 5 minutes without bringing up Vaccines!! Impressive!