South African Rabbi Asks God for Forgiveness as He Closes Synagogue Due to Coronavirus
A South African rabbi can be seen asking for forgiveness from God for closing his synagogue due to the coronavirus pandemic in a video later posted on Instagram.
According to the Chabad news site COLlive, Rabbi Yossy Goldman, senior rabbi of the Sydenham-Highlands North Hebrew Congregation in Johannesburg and president of the South African Rabbinical Association, said the decision to close the synagogue and all others in the city was difficult to make.
“Guided by top observant Jewish medical experts who are at the forefront of this crisis, the decision was made that it is pikuach nefesh, and as broken-hearted as we are to close shuls, minyanim, and shiurim, we have no alternative,” he stated.
Pikuach nefesh is a halachic concept that holds the saving of a life overrides the authority of Jewish law.
In the video, Goldman is viewed standing in front of the Aron Kodesh saying, “Almighty God, we beg your forgiveness that unfortunately we will not be able to come to shul for the foreseeable future to daven … because of matters of life and death.”
“This is not by our design or our devices or our plans or our thoughts,” he added. “This is something that was thrust upon us by a global virus.”
“We beg and pray for your understanding,” he said. “We beg and pray for your compassion. Your divine mercy.”
“Our father in heaven, have mercy on your people Israel,” Goldman continued. “Have mercy on all of your children. All of humanity. In our country, in Israel, in the world over. Please God, that there should be an end to this virus. Those who are afflicted should have a complete and speedy recovery.”
“We look forward to being in our shul again very, very soon to sing your praises,” he concluded, before saying “amen,” which was echoed by the congregation.
Asked where his prayer came from, Goldman replied, “It was completely spontaneous.”
Watch the complete video below: