Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, 92, diagnosed with coronavirus

"We should pray for the healing of Shmaryahu Yosef Chaim Kanievsky son of Pesha Miriam," Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion said.

Ultra-Orthodox rabbi Chaim Kanievsky (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Ultra-Orthodox rabbi Chaim Kanievsky
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
One of the leading rabbis of the non-hassidic haredi (ultra-Orthodox) world, Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, 92, was diagnosed with coronavirus on Friday.
“Following a change in the body temperature of the great rabbi, he was examined and found positive for coronavirus,” his spokesperson said in a statement.
The rabbi feels good and is continuing with his usual studies, under close medical supervision, according to the statement. He is calling on his followers to study the Talmudic tractate Brachot and to read Psalms in his honor.
The Rishon Lezion Hagari Yosef announced that it was “a mitzvah for each and every person to pray for the complete health” of the rabbi.
“Together, with all the people of Israel, we pray for the speedy recovery of Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky,” said Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion upon hearing about the diagnosis. “During our holiday prayers, we should pray for the healing of Shmaryahu Yosef Chaim Kanievsky, son of Pesha Miriam.”
President Reuven Rivlin and Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz said that they, too, were praying for the rabbi, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted that he wishes a “quick and complete recovery to the Torah genius, Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky.”
It was later revealed that the Kretchnif Rabbi of Rehovot was also diagnosed with coronavirus. The rabbi is being treated at home and is reportedly in stable condition.
The news of Kanievsky's illness came the morning after the rabbi, along with his colleague Rabbi Gershon Edelstein, instructed that people should pray as much as possible in open spaces due to the threat of the pandemic, and that “anyone who can help make this possible will be greatly rewarded.”
The rabbis also explained that it is forbidden to host guests in personal sukkahs over the holiday, in line with the recommendation of the Health Ministry. They also instructed that any time people are not with their nuclear family, they should wear masks and social distance.
“One of the things that most protects against infection is when people wear masks,” they wrote. “The benefit is substantial and should not be taken lightly.”
Kanievsky also released a video telling his followers to be screened for the virus during the interim days of Sukkot because it is pikuach nefesh – lifesaving.
The coronavirus has been widespread within haredi society in Israel.
Prof. Ronni Gamzu, the coronavirus commissioner, has said Thursday that haredim make up around 40% of people diagnosed with coronavirus every day in Israel. Some 5,000 yeshiva students are infected, according to Roni Numa, coronavirus coordinator for the ultra-Orthodox community.