CLERGY CORNER: Is there a blessing for the COVID-19 vaccine? – newportri.com

Posted By on February 21, 2021

Marc Mandel| Newport Daily News

In the year 1848, Rabbi Israel Salanter, wrote the following words as a response to the cholera epidemic.Be sure to followthe behaviors which the wise doctors prescribe, for walking in the light of their words is also our religious duty, thus upholding life in this physical world to be good and to do good." This idea of Rabbi Salanter is based on the belief that science and religion are unified. Science helps us partner with God to make the world a better place.Jewish liturgy offers blessings for many occasions. Should we recite ablessing upon receiving the COVID-19 vaccine?

A colleague of mine, Rabbi Yosie Levine from New York has written, "Not everything warrants a blessing, but, in the midst of the untold suffering brought about by this pandemic, the almost miraculous production of a vaccine doesrepresent a dose of unusually good news. As the Talmud teaches, hearing exceptionally good tidings is reason enough to recite this blessing."Furthermore, he points out that there is a custom to say a blessingin a case where a person sees his/her friend for the first time in 30 days.Considering that this vaccine will allow people in isolation to soon rejoin with their friends and family, there will be much to celebrate.

There is also a blessing that is recitedwhen a person recovers from an illness or returns from a dangerous sea journey. This blessingis said when a person is saved from a state of danger or fear for ones safety. It is a blessing of redemption. My colleague, Rabbi Barry Dolinger of Providence points out that the COVID-19 vaccine certainly should require a blessing, because the vaccine benefits therecipient, and the community at large, by helping to bring herd immunity. I hope that all of us in Rhode Island will soon have the opportunity to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, and when you receive yours, you might join me in reciting the blessing,"Blessed are You God, who has kept us alive, sustained us, and brought us to thisseason."

Rabbi Marc Mandel is the rabbi at the Touro Synagogue in Newport, the oldest synagogue building in the United States. For more information please visitwww.tourosynagogue.org.ClergyCorner appears each week in The Daily News and online atnewportri.com.

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CLERGY CORNER: Is there a blessing for the COVID-19 vaccine? - newportri.com

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