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Rabbi bans use of Shabbat vaccines

Jewish children in Israel cannot be vaccinated by any of the one million coronavirus vaccines that arrived on Saturday morning, a rabbi has ruled.

This is because the shipment “violated Shabbat”.

Rabbi Benjamin Hota ruled that Jews must wait for the next shipment from Pfizer to vaccinate their children “because it is forbidden for them to benefit from work done on Shabbat”.

They should use only vaccines from a further shipment if it arrives on a weekday, he said.

Rabbi Hota hosts the popular show Mabat Lashabbat about practical Jewish law on the ultra-Orthodox radio station Kol Barama, in which he answers questions from listeners.

No benefit must be derived from desecrating Shabbat if it was violated purposely and not accidentally, he said.

And those who requested such a jab should be fined under Jewish law.

Rabbi Hota, who has published five books on Jewish law, ruled that there was no issue of pikuach nefesh (saving lives) trumping the observance of Shabbat in this case.

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