The innovative ruling was issued following years during which patients were instructed by rabbis to only drink small amounts of water not exceeding 9 cc and consume them once every 15 minutes.
This week, following an appeal by medical activists in the haredi sector, Rabbi Elyashiv ruled that there is no need to drink small amounts of water and that every person with a doctor's approval could consume an unlimited amount of "stale" water as far as Jewish Law is concerned.
"Stale" water is water which has lost its taste and become bitter or sour. This water is only meant to be consumed by patients and must not be drank by healthy people who are capable of fasting. This water has been examined by a pharmacist and medically approved.
The Lev Malka association was the first to take advantage of the ruling and work to implement it at synagogues. The association's chairman, Rabbi Aharon Aberman, immediately turned to a pharmacist and asked him to prepare a large amount of "stale water" containing salt or onion, which cause the water to lose its natural flavor and give it a bitter taste.
"The seemingly stale water is bitter or sour water compounded by a professional pharmacist, and will cause no medical harm. On the contrary, the water's only flaw is its taste, enabling the patients to drink unlimited amounts of it," Aberman explained.
In the past few days, the association handed out the water bottles to all those interested. Each bottle contains 1 liter (34 ounces) of water, and several bottles could be ordered for a subsidized price.
According to Aberman, "This year, because we were short in time and did not prepare, we didn't manage to get a large number of bottles ready. We estimate, however, that this water will gain popularity next year and will become a must-have product."