As seen on Matzav.com
Rav Avrohom Yehoshua Soloveitchik, in a Chumash shiur delivered to talmidim, blasted recent directives of the Israeli Ministry of Health, also sharply attacking those in the chareidi community who have signed on to these directives.
“How is it possible that rabbonim determine their opinions according to headlines in a newspaper?” he asked.
Rav Avrohom Yehoshua stated that at Yeshiva Yad Halevi headed by his son-in-law, the talmidim studied during the summertime as usual, and it was precisely those young men who were frightened by corona and were busy with it who ended up contracting the disease.
“I just asked at the yeshiva and they told me there were three sick boys all summer long, and all three were wearing masks all the time!” he said. “Among them was one who did not take off his mask for a moment, and the third did not enter a bais medrash at all but sat in a separate room out of fear.”
In his remarks, Rav Avrohom Yehoshua referred to the phenomenon in which people who arrive without a mask are thrown out of shuls. “Where is the ‘bein adam lachaveiro‘?” he asked. “When a spiritually corrupt person comes to the bais medrash, then we have to be tolerant, but if someone comes without a mask, we can throw him out?”
As far as his yeshiva, Rav Avrohom Yehoshua said, “Whoever wants to come with a mask can come with a mask. Whoever wants to come without a mask can come without a mask. We do not force this on anyone.”
Rav Avrohom Yehoshua asked, “Do the secularists really know what ‘venishmarten meod lenafshoseichem’ is? …Every day they do all sorts of things that are close to death… Whoever does not have Torah, who does not know that there is God in the world, then he also does not know what ‘venishmarten meod lenafshoseichem’ means.”
“You need to know what you should fear and what you should not fear,” Rav Avrohom Yehoshua said later on.
Some other excerpts:
“In a year and a half, we’ll see how much all the opinion-makers of today know about what they’ve been talking about.”
“You can ask doctors what the disease is. There is a ‘permission given to the doctor to heal.’ When a doctor knows, you can ask him how the disease works, how contagious the disease is, etc., but how much you should be careful about the disease? There is Torah about that! There is a Torah that says how much one should be careful.”
“Everyone creates pressure for what seems more important to him: One says that the economy cannot be stopped, because it is a danger to the state. The other says that offices should be left open, because otherwise it will harm the economy, etc. Then some Jews come and say that the Torah must not be neglected. The Torah is as important to us as the economy is to them! Can the Torah be neglected?”