PODCAST: The COVID Vaccine and Halakha

Yona Reiss Tradition Online | December 23, 2020

The arrival of a COVID-19 vaccine is a long-awaited and blessed development that requires our gratitude to God, and the scientists through whom His work is done, for providing humanity the means to eradicate the pandemic and its deadly effects. In this podcast, R. Yona Reiss explains that vaccination constitutes a mitzva requirement based on the imperative of “guarding our lives” and preventing harm to others. According to halakhic triage rules, it is appropriate for those who are most vulnerable to take the vaccine first, including the elderly. Finally, he argues, we should exercise our obligation to sanctify God’s name by displaying vigilance in preserving and protecting human life.

This episode was produced by TRADITION’s publisher, the Rabbinical Council of America, for its member rabbis, and is being shared with our listeners as a courtesy of the RCA and its executive director, R. Mark Dratch.

Rabbi Yona Reiss, a member of the TRADITION editorial board, serves as the Av Beth Din of the Chicago Rabbinical Council.

For more on the obligation to vaccinate, see our recent article “Halakha Approaches the COVID-19 Vaccine” by Drs. Sharon Galper Grossman and Shamai Grossman.

Click here to watch the ZOOM video recording of this episode.

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