Short & Sweet - Text Message Q&A #395


Renewing Sanhedrin

Q: Can we renew the Sanhedrin in our time?

A: No.  We do not have Rabbis on the level of the Sanhedrin.  See what Maran Ha-Rav Kook wrote about this in Igrot Ha-Reeiya (Volume 2, p. 59).


Tachanun on Day of Making Aliyah

Q: Does one recite Tachanun on the day he makes Aliyah?  What about on the anniversary of making Aliyah?

A: No, since it is a holiday for him, as brought in Sefer Charedim that the Rambam established a holiday for his family on the day he arrived in Eretz Yisrael.  But others in the Minyan should recite Tachanun, since this is a novel ruling (Chiddush).  This is similar to a Bar Mitzvah in that he does not recite Tachanun but everyone else in the Shul does.  See Piskei Teshuvot 131 note #141 (and in Shut Mishneh Halachot 11:101, Ha-Rav Menashe Klein was asked this question by the Admor of Slonim, and he ruled that one does not recite Tachanun based on the Gemara in Ketubot 111a where Rabbi Elazar says: "Anyone who lives in Eretz Yisrael dwells without sin".  This is is similar to a groom whose sins are forgiven.  And just like a groom does not say Tachanun, so too someone who makes Aliyah.  Rav Klein holds that this applies to all others who Daven with him as well).


Desire to Ascend onto Temple Mount

Q: Should one have a desire to ascend onto the Temple Mount despite that he is unable to because it is forbidden?

A: One also has to do Teshuvah for a desire to perform a transgression.


Holiness of Laptop Computer

Q: It is permissible to put a laptop, which has many Sefarim on its hard-drive within the computer, on top of a Sefer?

A: No.  This is not the type of script which the Torah meant when speaking about holiness of Sefarim (Ha-Rav Avigdor Nevenzal, however, allows it if it is for the purpose of learning.  In the book "Ohel Yaakov" on the holiness of Sefarim, p. 25).


Losing a Child

Q: My child passed away.  Instead of saying: I lost a child, can I say: I returned a child to Hashem?

A: Yes.  This is what Rabbi Meir's wife said (Midrash Mishlei, Chapter 31).


Property for Embassy in Eretz Yisrael

Q: Is there a halachic problem in giving property in Eretz Yisrael for a foreign embassy because of the prohibition of transferring parts of Eretz Yisrael to non-Jews?

A: No, since they do not have military sovereignty.


Questions in Emunah

Q: Someone told me that it is not good if one does not have questions in Emunah, but I can't think of questions to ask.

A: This is not true.  One is not obligated to ask.  But if one has questions, we answer them.  And look, you just asked a question!


Rambam's 13 Principles of Faith

Q: Why aren't the Rambam's 13 Principles of Faith, which are printed in the Siddur, included in the Davening itself?

A: The Rambam explains in Moreh Nevuchim that all of the Principles of Faith are found in the Davening, just not in one place.


Torat Eretz Yisrael

Q: What is the definition of Torat Eretz Yisrael?

A: See Orot Ha-Torah of Maran Ha-Rav Kook, Chapter 13.


Standing during Kadish

Q: Do Ashkenazim have to stand for Kadish?

A: Yes.  But see Piskei Teshuvot 56:4.

Should We Daven for President Trump?

Question: Should we Daven for President Donald Trump, who is sick with Corona?

Answer: The answer is divided into three parts.

A.   Firstly, do we pray for non-Jews?  Ha-Rav Ovadiah Yosef already answered this question regarding a Druze soldier in Tzahal who was killed.   He says it is certainly permissible, and is even a Mitzvah as it says in Sefer Chasidim (beginning of Siman #790).  And he also brings as a proof from the Yerushalmi (Megillah 3:7) that on Purim we say: "May Charvorna be remembered for good", since he spoke out against the hater of Israel – Haman, and this is true all the more so for the Druze soldiers who risk their lives to protect the Nation of Israel.  It is a Mitzvah to pray for their souls (Shut Yabia Omer Vol. 10, Yoreh Deah #55.  Chazon Ovadiah - Avelut Volume 3, p. 238).  Rav Ovadiah also rules this way for a convert to Daven for his non-Jewish parents (Shut Yechaveh Daat 6:60). 

Ha-Rav Chaim Kanievsky also ruled that one may Daven for his non-Jewish neighbor who was sick (Derech Sicha Volume 1, p. 544).

By the way, Ha-Rav Kanievsky is also ill with Corona, and we should certainly Daven for him: Shematyahu Yosef Chaim Ben Pesha Miriam (without a title since there is no haughtiness before Hashem.  Sefer Chadisim #800.  Birkei Yosef, Yoreh Deah 240:4.  And Ha-Rav Avraham Dov Auerbach, Av Beit Din of Tiveria, once wrote me a Teshuvah and at the end added a request to Daven for his great father, and wrote: "Shlomo Zalman Ben Tzvia", without a title, even though his father was Gadol Ha-Dor.  Brought in Shut Hagrada, p. 64).

By the way, I was asked: Is President Trump the #1 person sick with Corona?  And I answered: It is possible to say this about Ha-Rav Chaim Kanievski Shlit"a.  One is the highest political leader and the other is the highest spiritual leader.  And what determines history - politics or the spirit?  The spirit!

B.   Ha-Rav Yitzchak Zilberstein, Rav of Ramat Elchanan in Bnei Brak, was already asked if one may Daven for President Trump's recovery, and he responded that one is OBLIGATED to do so, as gratitude for his support of Israel, moving the US Embassy to Yerushalayim, recognizing the Jewish communities in Yesha and the Golan, etc.

C.   The final question is where to Daven for him since the Mi She-Berach for the ill includes the phrase "With all of Israel his brothers".  When the Governor of Connecticut, Ella Grasso, was ill with cancer the local Rabbis asked Ha-Rav Yosef Soloveichik if they could recite a Mi She-Berach for her.  He answered that they could, but not with the same prayer since that prayer is for all Jews.  He wrote a special Mi She-Berach for her, and said that one should say her first and last name, and not her mother's name, which is the way that Jews are identified.

Ha-Rav Avigdor Nevenzal, Rav of the Old City, however, wrote to us that a non-Jew could be mentioned after that phrase.  And Ha-Rav Zilberstein added that President Trump should be referred to with his father's name: Donald Jon Ben Fred Trump.

Each person should follow his local Rabbi's ruling.


Rav Aviner tweeted today: Who is the #1 person sick with Corona?

 Rav Aviner tweeted today:

האמנם הנשיא טראמפ הוא חולה הקורונה מס' 1? – אפשר גם לומר שזה הרב קניבסקי.  זה מגדולי הפוליטיקה וזה מגדולי הרוח.  ומה קובע את ההיסטוריה?  הפוליטיקה או הרוח?  הרוח.

Is President Trump the #1 person sick with Corona?
It is possible to say this about Ha-Rav Chaim Kanievski Shlit"a.  One is the highest political leader and the other is the highest spiritual leader.  And what determines history - politics or the spirit?  The spirit!


The Jewish Press: Ben Uliel, 26, Receives Three Life Sentences, Rabbis Protest


Israel, UAE and Bahrain Peace Agreements


[Prepared by Tzvi Fishman]


Question: What is Ha-Rav's opinion regarding the peace agreements which Israel signed with the UAE and Bahrain?

Answer: The agreements are praiseworthy for three reasons.

Firstly, in principle, we are in favor of peace, for the Jewish People, and for the entire world. We believe in the ideal of universal brotherhood and friendship whereby every nation can develop in its optimum manner, while retaining its own independent nationality. Just as we want this national and cultural freedom for ourselves, we want it for other nations as well. Ha-Rav Kook calls this principle: "The line that connects, and the line that divides." We are to be "a Nation that dwells alone" in the sense of retaining our cultural and religious uniqueness, while still being connected to the world as the lifeline of Divine blessing to all peoples on Earth. Co-existence based on mutual respect, as opposed to Pan-Americanism which seeks to impose American culture and control throughout the globe.  To be an independent nation in the community of independent nations was one of the visions we had upon the founding of the State of Israel. Unfortunately, our Arab neighbors did not agree, and we have been forced to fight many painful wars. Patience, patience, patience. As our Sages teach, the Redemption of Israel comes a little at a time (Jerusalem Talmud, Berachot 1:1). If some Arab countries now want normalization and peace, this is a desirable development.

Secondly, more practically, in the global village we inhabit, a country cannot be autonomous and narcissistic, wanting to live all by itself. It would simply fall apart. Nations need other nations to survive, for economic reasons, security, and the like. Therefore, countries must have all sorts of connections.

Thirdly, we are a small country, and in many ways, isolated. Thus Ben Gurion sought to form alliances with other nations, as many as possible. He was right, and from then on, we have been trying to expand our connections. You can ask, do I believe that the UAE wants to be connected with us for the Sake of Heaven? I don’t believe that for a second. They are interested to enter into an agreement with us for their own needs. In this case, Baruch Hashem, their interests are in line with ours. In truth, we have had connections with them for some time. For political reasons on our part, and because more expanded economic ties are needed on theirs, the matter has gone public. Politics resembles big business. A person doesn’t necessarily buy fruit at a certain supermarket because he loves the owner, but because the merchandise is better and cheaper. Why are these Arab countries turning toward Israel? Because the Corona pandemic has caused them economic instability. Their tourist industry has been crippled. They would like to fill up their empty hotels with travel-loving Israelis. I know this from two very reliable sources. One of them runs a very prosperous food business in Israel. He says he has received so many orders from the UAE for Kosher Food that he could retire for the rest of his life... Whatever other reasons they have, the present agreement is positive. We know treaties can be discarded should circumstances change, but for now, Baruch Hashem.       

Short & Sweet - Text Message Q&A #394


Guest in Seat at Shul

Q: A guest was sitting in my seat at Shul.  The Halachah says that one should Daven in a fixed place.  If I ask him to move, he might be insulted.  What should I do?

A: It is preferable not to insult him.  Either sit within 4 Amot (6 feet) of your seat or sit elsewhere (Piskei Teshuvot 9:25).


Dividing the Sheva Berachot to Honor a Great Rabbi

Q: If a family has a Minhag not to divide up the Sheva Berachot, but rather have one person recite them all, and a great Rabbi attends the wedding, what should they do?

A: They should certainly divide them up!  It is the honor of Torah! (Ha-Admor Imrei Sofer of Eralu bemoaned that when his son was married he did not divide up the Sheva Berachot, as was the Hungarian custom, even though Ha-Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach attend the Chupa.  He said that for the honor of Torah, he should have acted otherwise and called him up for the Sheva Berachot.  In the book "Be-Mechitzat Zekeini", p. 259-260).


Asking Forgiveness

Q: I yelled at someone at work.  People do not customarily apologize here, and he won't understand what I want if I apologize.  What should I do?

A: It is extremely problematic that people do not ask for forgiveness.  You should do so.


Kabbalat Shabbat With Minyan

Q: Does Kabbalat Shabbat have to be recited with a Minyan, as there is no Kaddish or Barechu?  Or can I Daven by myself with greater passion?

A: You should Daven with a Minyan on account of honoring Shabbat (Piskei Teshuvot 267:3).


Learning Torah While Donating Blood

Q: Is it permissible to listen to a Torah class while donating blood?

A: Certainly.


Shidduch who Does Not Want Continue

Q: I went on a Shidduch and wanted to meet the young woman again, but she is not interested.  It is very hurtful and now I feel a lack of self-confidence.

A: Ha-Rav Pinchas Hirschprung, Av Beit Din of Montreal, said in a similar situation: The Torah is no less valuable even though the non-Jews did not want to receive it… (In the book "Be-Didi Hevei Uvda", p. 405).


Drinking to Get Rid of Hiccups

Q: Do I recite a blessing if I drink water to get rid of the hiccups?

A: Yes, since you are benefiting from the water.


Non-Chalav Yisrael Milk

Q: We have a little Kiosk in our Yeshiva.  Is it permissible to sell food which contains non-Chalav Yisrael?

A: You have to ask your Rosh Yeshiva.  As Ha-Rav Moshe Feinstein would say: "The Rabbi from Minsk should not interfere in a question for the Rabbi from Pinsk" (Meged Givot Olam Volume 1, p. 55.  Volume 2, pp. 31-32). 


Blessing over Rain Drops

Q: If I catch rain drops in my mouth, do I recite the blessing of "She-Ha-Kol"?

A: Yes, if you swallow them.


Denigrating Tzahal Soldiers

Q: I am a soldier.  I Davened in a Shul in Meah Shearim while wearing my uniform and some people denigrated me.  This is Torah?!  What can we do?!

A: They are confused.  Patience.  They will heal.

Short and Sweet - Text Message Q&A #393

Leaving Torah Class to Use the Restroom
Q: Ha-Rav published in a text message in the name of Prof. Nechama Leibowitz that one should not leave a Torah class in the middle to use the restroom.  But isn't it forbidden to "hold it in"?
A: Yes, it is an explicit Gemara in Yevamot (64b) that the students of Rav Huna did not use the restroom in the middle of a Torah class and their health was negatively affected.  And see Terumat Ha-Deshen (#16).  But this is not our case.  Rav Huna's classes were extremely long, while ours are relatively short, and one can use the restroom before and after the class (This certainly does not apply to someone with a medical condition).  Furthermore, when I served in Tzahal, I sat in ambush for 10 hours and did not use the restroom.  I planned ahead and did not drink much water beforehand.

Messiah without Knowing
Q: Can a person be the Mashiach without knowing that he is the Mashiach?
A: No.  See Rambam, Hilchot Melachim 11:4 for the list of criteria to know if someone is the Mashiach.

Tefillin during Musaf
Q: I accidentally Davened Musaf of Rosh Chodesh with Tefillin.  Did I fulfill my obligation?
A: Certainly.   This is not a negative but a positive.  It seems that in the past, when they wore Tefillin all day long, they did not remove them during Musaf on Rosh Chodesh.  In our days, Yemenite Jews wear them during Musaf on Rosh Chodesh.

Recording from the Radio
Q: If there is a Torah class on the radio, is it permissible to record it for myself?
A: Yes.  It seems that the Rabbi and the radio station would allow it as long as it is not for commerce or public use.

Tefillin on Person in Coma
Q: Is it permissible to put Tefillin on a person who is in a coma?
A: There is no obligation, but it is permissible.  Perhaps he will feel it.

Bringing Ketubah on Vacation
Q: When a family goes on vacation, does the wife have to bring her Ketubah with here, since she should have it available at all times?
A: No, since there is a fear that it will be lost (The Satmar Rebbe answered in the same way, and added that it is better to leave it at home in a safe place, and to always know its exact location.  In the book "Nitzotzei Tomer" volume 1, p. 453).

Who is Greater – Vilna Gaon or Chatam Sofer
Q: Who was greater – the Vilna Gaon or the Chatam Sofer?
A: Both were among the greatest of our Rabbis in Halachah, in holiness and in purity (The Admor Imrei Sofer of Erlau once related that a grandson of the Vilna Gaon asked his father, the Yad Sofer [a grandson of the Chatam Sofer], who was greater – the Vilna Gaon or the Chatam Sofer?  The Yad Sofer did not want to answer, and place his head between the two great mountains which where these Rabbis.  The questioner did not give up and would keep asking from time to time.  One time the Yad Sofer finally "broke" and gave an answer.  On that very day, the Yad Sofer was walking in the street and was struck by a bike and broke his hand.  The Yad Sofer saw  his injury as a punishment for his brazenness in commenting on the greatness of these two towering figures.  Someone later asked the Imrei Sofer: Did you ever ask your father what he answered?  He responded in surprise: After he told me what happened to him because he expressed his opinion about it, would I dare to ask him this question?!  In the book "Be-Mechitzat Zekeini", pp. 216-217).

Running to Shul
Q: It is a Mitzvah to run to Shul, but it looks weird!
A: One should run in a normal manner and not cause a Chilul Hashem (Piskei Teshuvot 90:18).  By the way, one should also run to the Beit Midrash and to any Mitzvah. 

Short & Sweet - Text Message Q&A #392

Changing name of Donor on Object in Shul
Q: If someone donated a Torah cover to the Shul and it deteriorated over time, is it permissible for someone else to donate a new one and have his name on it?
A: Yes.  Every donor clearly understands that an object will not last forever.  This follows the opinion of Shut Shevet Ha-Levi (9:205) unlike Shut Igrot Moshe (Orach Chaim 2:26).

Son who Enters Har Ha-Bayit
Q: I just discovered that my son enters the Temple Mount without asking me.  What should I do?
A: Love him.

People of the Book
Q: Is the expression "People of the Book" about the Jewish People correct?
A: No.  This is an expression used in the Koran.  We are the "People of Hashem".

Minhag of Baal Teshuvah
Q: Which Minhag should a Baal Teshuvah adopt?
A: He should follow his ancestors' Minhagim.  If he desires, however, he can choose a different Minhag, such as his Rabbi's.  Piskei Teshuvot 68:3 note #26.

Q: Why do we need to have Peyot?
A: Holiness of one's face.

Honor during Torah Class
Q: It is permissible to go to the restroom in the middle of a Torah class?
A: No.  One should go before or after.  Prof. Nechama Leibowitz did not allow students to go out in the middle of a class, or come in late.  She said: Would you act this way in a concert?!

Feeding Cats
Q: My science teacher told us that it is not good to feed the many street cats in Israel, because they kill all sorts of pests when they are hungry.  Is this proper even if a cat is hungry at the moment?
A: Yes.  The cats eat mice and snakes.

Pidyon Ha-Ben for Child who did not have a Brit Milah
Q: If parents refused to give their child a Brit Milah because of ideological reasons, should he still have a Pidyon Ha-Ben?
A: Yes.  They are not connected to one another.

Miracle Stories
Q: Why do Sefardic Rabbis tells so many miracles stories about Rabbis and Ashkenazic Rabbis do not?
A: There are Ashkenazic Rabbis who do tell them, and Sefardic Rabbis who do not.  But according to all opinions, this is not the essential matter, but rather one's greatness in Torah learning, in awe of Hashem and with proper character traits.

Detailed Mitzvot
Q: Why are there Mitzvot in the Torah which are not written with the details such as Shabbat and women covering their hair?
A: They are written in detail in the Torah to someone who is accustomed to reading the Torah in the proper way.  Great Rabbis of the previous generation proved this in their commentaries: Revid Ha-Zahav, Mesech Chochmah, Netziv, Ha-Rav Shimshon Rafael Hirsch, Ha-Ketav Ve-Ha-Kabbalah and the Torah Temimah.

Short & Sweet - Text Message Q&A #391

Ha-Rav answers hundreds of text message questions a day.  Here's a sample:
Popping Pimple on Shabbat
Q: Is it permissible to pop a pimple on Shabbat?
A: No, since blood comes out.  If blood does not come out but only other debris, it is permissible.

Giving Tzedakah at Night
Q: What is the source that it is forbidden to give Tzedakah at night?
A: The Arizal, but the basic Halachah is that it permissible and proper to do so.

Faith in the Redemption
Q: What is the difference if we are in the Redemption or not?
A: It is the difference of what we believe.  The Torah directs us what to do, what to believe, what to think and how to feel.

Torah Learning in Yeshiva
Q: Regarding one who comes to learn for a few years in Yeshiva: what is worthwhile for him to learn, and in what quantity – in-depth Gemara learning, broad Gemara learning, Halachah, Emunah, Musar, Tanach, etc.?
A: There are 3 answers: 1. He should follow what is customary in the Yeshiva where he learns.  The two of us cannot decide in place of your Rosh Yeshiva.  2. A person learns Torah in a place that his heart desires (Avodah Zarah 19a).  But if a person's heart does not desire, he should bring himself to a level that his heart does desire.  He should discuss it with his Ra"m in Yeshiva.  3. There is an order to Torah learning in Yeshiva for thousands of years, and who are we to change it?  The essence is to learn Gemara in depth, and to learn a little of the rest. 

Tevilat Kelim for Flower Vase
Q: Does a flower vase require Tevilah in a Mikvah?
A: No.  Only a utensil which comes in contact with food.

Civil War in the U.S.A.
Q: A Rabbi said that there will soon be a civil war in the United States, and Jews should therefore make Aliyah.  Is this true?
A: We do not have prophets which can reveal the future to us.  But it is correct that Jews should make Aliyah.

Yom Ha-Atzmaut and Charedim
Q: A feeling of hatred against Charedim arises in me every Yom Ha-Atzmaut, since they belittle the State and the army.  How can I look at them positively?
A: 1. They have many positives.  2. At the same time, theirs is a mistake within a good intention.

Change the Prayer for the State of Israel
Q: Should we change the expression "The beginning of the sprouting of our Redemption" in the Prayer for the State of Israel, since perhaps we are already after the beginning?
A: No.  It is impossible to know where we are in the process.  As long as we have not arrived at the Complete Redemption, it is possible to call it "the beginning".

Shemirat Ha-Lashon and Har Ha-Bayit
Q: Instead of Ha-Rav writing so much about the prohibition to enter the Temple Mount, isn't it preferable to focus on not speaking Lashon Ha-Ra?
A: We need to address both issues, and many others as well.  "We will do and we will obey everything which Hashem spoke" (Ha-Rav receives 400 text message questions each day.  398 are on various subjects and about 2 of them are usually about the Temple Mount – M.T.).

Hilchot Corona

Instruction of the Ministry of Health
Q: Is one obligated to listen to the instructions of the Ministry of Health regarding Corona?
A: Rabbis are not physicians.  Therefore, regarding medical matters, please turn to physicians. As the Torah states, “He must provide for his complete cure” (Shemot 21:19), regarding which our Sages commented, “Here we derive the permission that physicians have to cure people.”  The Ba’al Ha-Tanya wrote that “only the Prophets had additional knowledge regarding various matters such as [medicine and economics]… but now there are no more prophets, and even great Torah scholars like the scholars of the Mishnah and Talmud do not understand medical or economic matters, or the like” (Igeret Ha-Kodesh 22). 
Just as in a disagreement between rabbis we follow the majority, so, too, in a disagreement between physicians. For example, if there are physicians who say a patient should violate the Sabbath or should eat on Yom Kippur, and others say he should not, the Shulchan Aruch rules that we must follow the majority.  And we follow the mainstream view of the medical field.  See Ramban, Torat Ha-Dam, Sha'ar Ha-Sakanah.  The Minstry of Health is following the instructions of the majority of doctors and the mainstream view of the medical field, so one is therefore obligated to listen to their instructions.

Bikur Cholim on the Telephone
Q: Does one fulfill the Mitzvah of Bikur Cholim on the phone?
A: It depends on the situation and what is best for the sick person.  In the case of Corona, one does fulfill the Mitzvah, since it is forbidden to be with him physically (Shut Tzitz Eliezer 8:5.  Shut Igrot Moshe, Yoreh Deah 1:223).

Q: If a person is in quarantine for Corona, what does he do about Davening in a Minyan?
A: He does not attend.  He must follow the doctors' instructions.  He is Anus (exempt because of a situation beyond his control).
Q: But I heard that if someone wants to be spared from getting Corona, he should be particular to attend Minyan, and Davening in a Minyan is like being in a safe room.
A: One must obey the instructions of the Ministry of Health.  One who is in quarantine is forbidden to attend Minyan.  One who is not in quarantine must attend Minyan as usual.  We have not heard that there is such a Segulah.

Kissing Mezuzot
Q: Should one refrain from kissing Mezuzot on account of Corona?
A: There is no halachah that we must kiss the mezuzah.  It is an expression of our love of the mitzvah. Kissing the mezuzah is not mentioned in the Shulchan Aruch. What is mentioned is placing your hand on it when leaving and entering (285:2 in the Rama). It is possible that there is no concern of transferring the illness by simply touching it but one should not put his hand to his mouth afterwards. The essence is not kissing or touching the mezuzah, the essence is fulfilling what is written within it as the Rambam says at the end of Hilchot Mezuzah (6:13) that one should distance himself from the vanities of time and cling to the Master of the Universe.  One should therefore refrain from touching or kissing Mezuzot.  This is also the ruling of the Chief Rabbi, Ha-Rav David Lau Shlit"a.
Q: Does the same apply to kissing Siddurim at the Kotel and in Shul?
A: Yes.

Parashat Zachor
Q: What about hearing Parashat Zachor which is a Torah Mitzvah?
A: He is exempt because he is Anus (because of a situation beyond his control).  It is a dispute if it is a Torah Mitzvah or a Rabbinic Mitzvah.  He should read it at home from a Chumash.  He should also have intention to fulfill the Mitzvah during the reading of Parashat Ki Teitze and the Torah reader should also have this intention as well.

Megillah Reading by Telephone or Video
Q: Can a person in quarantine fulfill the Mitzvah of hearing Megillah over the telephone or by video?
A: Ha-Rav Herschel Schachter Shlit"a, a Gadol in America, was asked this question and said that in Shut Igrot Moshe (Orach Chaim 4:91), Ha-Rav Moshe Feinstein rules that Lechatchila, one cannot fulfill hearing the Megillah over the telephone or through a microphone.  However, in a pressing situation, one can fulfill this Mitzvah over the phone or through a microphone since it is a Rabbinic Mitzvah (This is also the opinion of Shut Tzitz Eliezer 8:11).  In Shut Minchat Shlomo (1:9), Ha-Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach disagrees (This also the opinion of Shut Yechaveh Daat 3:54 and Shut Minchat Yitzchak 3:48.  And the Chazon Ish was in doubt about this issue – Shut Minchat Shlomo ibid. in the notes).  In our case, since it is impossible to hear the Megillah in person due to Pikuach Nefesh (a life-threatening situation) caused by Corona Virus, it is permissible to hear the Megillah via a live phone call or video (The Chief Rabbi of Israel, Ha-Rav David Lau, ruled however that one does not fulfill the Mitzvah in this manner).
Q: Does one recite Amen on the blessings?
A: Yes.  Just as one would in the Shul in Alexandria. (Sukkah 52a, Shut Minchat Shlomo 1:9, Shut Igrot Moshe Orach Chaim 4:91).  The blessing of "Ha-Rav Et Riveinu" is only recited if a Minyan is present where the Megillah is actually being read.  One can also read from a Kosher Megillah on his own.  He is not obligated to recite the Troup, but must read it correctly and be careful to stop at the end of the verses.

One in Quarantine Attending Megillah Reading
Q: If someone is required to be in quarantine and attends a Megillah reading does he fulfill the Mitzvah?
A: No.  In Shut Maharam Shick (#260) it says that if a doctor warns a person not to eat Matzah, Marror and drink the Four Cups of wine because it is dangerous for him, it is certainly forbidden for him to be strict and eat them anyway.  This is based on the Eliya Rabba (618:2) who writes that a doctor says if a person is forbidden to fast on Yom Kippur and does so anyway, we force him to eat.  And in Shut Mahari Asad (#160) it says that if a person does not obey the doctor and fulfills the Mitzvah, it is a Mitzvah performed through a transgression (brought in Sha'aryim Metzuyanim Be-Halachah 119:18).  And the Tosafot in Baba Kama (23a) already wrote that more than a person should be careful not be injured, he should take care not to injure others.

"Harm will not befall one on the way to perform a Mitzvah"
Q: How could someone get sick with Corona while hearing the Megillah when the Gemara states, "Harm will not befall one on the way to perform a Mitzvah"? 
A: See the Gemara in Pesachim 8b.  "Harm will not befall one on the way to perform a Mitzvah" is said in regard to an infrequent danger.  The example given there is one who is checking for Chametz and perhaps should check under rocks.  But he should not check because there might be snakes or scorpions under the rocks.  The Gemara asks – how so?  Harm will not befall one on the way to perform a Mitzvah!  Answer: This is a frequent occurrence (snakes and scorpions under rocks) and there is therefore a chance that he might be harmed.  Another example: A person has a shared wall with a non-Jewish neighbor.  Perhaps he should stick his fingers into the cracks in the wall to search for Chametz.  But, he should not check, because the neighbor may accuse him of witchcraft and cause him terrible problems.   The Gemara asks – how so?  Harm will not befall one on the way to perform a Mitzvah.  Answer: This is an evil neighbor and it is considered a frequent occurrence.  Thus, we do not apply this principle when there is a frequent occurrence.  The Gemara states that the proof for this idea is found in the Book of Shmuel (1 Chap. 16) when Hashem tells the Prophet Shmuel to anoint David as king.  "And Shmuel said: How can I go?  If Shaul hears he will kill me?"  (verse 2).  Hashem said: Tell him that you are going to offer a sacrifice in order that he will not be suspicious.  The Gemara asks: But he was going to perform a Mitzvah directly commanded to him by Hashem and "Harm will not befall one on the way to perform a Mitzvah" (see Rashi).  Answer: When there is a frequent danger, even those performing a Mitzvah can be harmed.  This is discussed at length in the book "Mesillat Yesharim" at the end of chapter 9.  It is obvious that if one comes in contact with someone who has an infectious illness, it is considered a frequent occurrence and even someone performing a Mitzvah can be harmed. 

What is Hashem Telling us
Q: What is Hashem trying to teach us with the Corona Virus in the world?
A: Humility.  Man is arrogant regarding the incredible technological advances which help him control the world and thinks he is a god.  And Hashem sends a tiny microscopic creature and Man – with all of his wisdom – cannot control it.
Q: Many Rabbis says that Corona is the Mashiach.  Is it true?
A: It has nothing to do with it.

And may the following be fulfilled through us: "Heal us, Hashem and we will be healed, save us and we will be save" (from the "Shemoneh Esrei").