Mikvah Guidelines for Men as We Enter 5782
Prepared by Rav Dr. Aaron Glatt in consultation with Rav Mordechai Willig
- Each individual Men’s Mikvah should decide what they wish to do regarding usage of the men’s mikvah this year before Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur.
- Certainly, for any individual concerned about using the mikvah because of the potential risk of acquiring COVID-19 in such a setting, HaRav Willig shlita has paskened that they do not need to go to the mikvah and can take advantage of the halachic principle of “9 Kavim” and take a 5-minute shower to satisfy this minhag.
- For those mikvaos that can arrange separate individual appointments, that is certainly ideal to prevent unnecessary mingling indoors in a crowded situation.
- For those mikvaos incapable of doing that based upon the size of their community / large number of potential users, ideally, only asymptomatic vaccinated individuals without a known recent COVID-19 exposure should use the mikvah to minimize the potential risk of transmission. However, this is a decision that each Mikvah’s Rav and medical advisory committee may choose to modify as they see best for their community. Again, it is important to understand that lechatchila, such individuals not recommended to use a mikvah at this time, can take advantage of the halachic principle of “9 Kavim” and take a 5-minute shower to satisfy this minhag.
Guidelines for Shofar Blowing
Prepared by Rabbi Dr. Aaron Glatt
It is reasonable that “normal” shofar blowing can iy”H be performed this year, 5782, in shul in an indoor minyan, if an asymptomatic, fully-vaccinated person with no known exposures to COVID-19 in the past 10 days is blowing shofar. The same applies to someone blowing shofar in a house for non-family members.
If a shul wishes to further diminish any risk from this already low risk scenario, the shofar blower should have a negative PCR test taken the day prior to Rosh Hashanah.
The latter should be strongly recommended for those blowing shofar in a nursing home, hospital or for any other high-risk populations or individuals. For these high-risk groups, blowing outdoors (or from another room) is preferable.
High-risk individuals, even if vaccinated, should strongly consider masking in an indoor minyan for the entire davening.