Across Israel, Meir Panim responds to the growing needs of the country’s 1.75 million impoverished residents through various food and social service programs.
Several days ago, Hebron’s police chief showed up at the home of Rabbi Dov Lior, chief rabbi of Hebron and Kiryat Arba. The officer informed Rabbi Lior that an arrest warrant had been issued. Should the rabbi agree to be interrogated, the warrant would be cancelled. On the spot Rabbi Lior responded, telling him that such questioning represented a “disgrace to the honor of the Torah” and that he would not cooperate with such humiliation.
Why are the police and prosecutor’s office chasing this 77-year-old righteous man? Born in Poland, Rabbi Lior arrived in Israel in 1948, shortly before the creation of the state of Israel. He studied under Rabbi Abraham Kook’s student Rabbi Moshe Tzvi Neria at Kfar HaRoe and later at Yeshivat Mercaz HaRav in Jerusalem under Rabbi Kook’s son, Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda Kook. He was considered one of the yeshiva’s most important students. During festive dancing on the Simchat Torah holiday, Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda changed the words of a popular song; instead of “tov li, tov li, Toratecha” (Your Torah is good for me), he recited “Dov li, Dov li Toratecha,” paying his young student a great compliment.
In 1976 Rabbi Lior moved to the newly founded community of Kiryat Arba, where he was appointed rosh hayeshiva of the Kiryat Arba-Nir Yeshiva, working side by side with Rabbi Eliezer Waldman. Over the years the rabbi became known as a prominent Torah scholar. However, his teaching involved more than dry rabbinic rulings. He became an active leader in the movement to repopulate Judea, Samaria and Gaza. He spent many summer vacations in Gush Katif. With the rise of the left and the advent of Oslo and the Hebron Accords, he became an outspoken leader, blasting attempts to delegitimize the Israeli right.
He worked tirelessly against the Gush Katif expulsion, making frequent trips to that beleaguered area, giving hope and strength to the local population. He participated in prayer rallies and protests while providing Torah support via various rabbinic rulings needed during those struggles.
Some 25 years ago he was elected chief rabbi of Hebron and Kiryat Arba. Later, he formed the Rabbinic Council for Judea and Samaria and was appointed its leader. He is widely considered be the preeminent rabbinical figure of the Nationalist-Zionist movement and one of the most significant scholarly rabbinical figures in Israel.
Frequently rabbis are requested to write a hascama, an approbation of a Torah book by a younger rabbi. Rabbi Lior, himself the author of thousands of Torah responsa as well as his own books dealing with Torah law, is also approached to write short introductions to Torah books.
So it was that a couple of years ago he agreed to write an approbation for a book titled Torat HaMelech. This scholarly work, written by two young rabbis, deals with relationships between Jews and non-Jews, particularly during situations dealing with life and death during war and other conflicts. Specifically, it details rulings by many Torah giants, from the Talmud down to the present.
Rabbi Lior was not the only Torah scholar asked to write an approbation for this book. Others include Rabbi Zalman Nechemia Goldberg, also considered an authentic Torah giant; one of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef’s sons, Rabbi Ya’akov Yosef, a leading Sephardic Torah expert; and the well-known Rabbi Yitzchak Ginzburg.
Among other comments, Rabbi Lior praises the authors for writing such a comprehensive book and including the opinions of so many Torah commentators. He clarifies the significance of understanding Jewish law to its fullest, even when dealing with sensitive topics such as life and death.
As a result of his approbation, Rabbi Lior was accused of incitement and ordered to appear for police interrogation. In a filmed presentation to yeshiva students, Rabbi Lior explained that a rabbi must be able to freely express da’at Torah – that is, the Torah ruling on any given subject – even if that expression is not popular with others. He stressed that a rabbi must never fear to express Truth as it appears in the Torah, even if such a ruling could cause him damage:
“Limiting what a rabbi may say is comparable to Bolshevik regimes of Soviet Russia which would decide what people could think and what they could say . There are certain elements in society who lately want to oppress rabbis, ordering investigations and interrogations, in order to silence them from expressing Torah opinion and this directly contradicts what is known as democracy and freedom of expression. If there is freedom of expression, it must be for everyone. We haven’t heard of those preaching from mosques, inciting against the state of Israel, being arrested and interrogated “
About the Author: David Wilder is the spokesperson for the Hebron Community and a regular contributor to Tazpit News Agency.
If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.
Comments are closed.
Obama’s incompetence, the way his naive worldview and credulity have made a fool of him, are equally frightening
“The only difference between this world and the time of Meshiach is our bondage to the gentile kingdoms.”
You’ve discovered our little secret!
Klein’s challenger has demonstrated a propensity to unleash poisonous vitriol, even to other Zionists
President Obama’s foreign policy is based on fantasy.
Welcome the book of Leviticus!
If the nationalist Knesset members don’t provide the answer, the Arab MKs will do so in their place.
International Agunah Day falls annually on Ta’anis Esther, this year on March 13.
Yeshiva University Museum recently hosted an exhibit titled “Threshold to the Sacred.”
Even a foxhole Yid has to admit that antisemitism is on the upswing.
As shocking and insulting and horrifying as it is, Nazi war criminals are still living freely among us.
One can almost imagine a shocked Mr. Kerry thinking to himself, “How could he?” Yet not only did Mr. Putin do what he did, China, one of the three major international players along with the U.S. and Russia, agreed with him, not with Mr. Kerry.
Ramaz is a venerable Modern Orthodox educational institution whose mission statement contains the explicit commitment to “Ahavat Yisrael, and love and support for the State of Israel.”
In the course of the ages there wasn’t a Jewish community more convinced of its capacity for survival than the Jewish community of Hungary in the 19th and 20th centuries.
Three thousand new apartments should be transformed into 30,000 new apartment buildings.
Toward early mid-afternoon the tents start popping up on the lawn in the park across from the Cave of Machpela.
The present Jewish community of Hebron tries to continue walking in the footsteps of our illustrious Forefathers, learning from their deeds, and acting accordingly. Therefore, when Rabbi Shalom Alkobi, then director of the Machpela authority, realized he had an opportunity to seek a blessing from one of our generation’s most righteous people, he did so, without thinking twice.
The Arab who sold the building, Mr. Rajabi, claimed that we had stolen his property.
Last year Minister Saar initiated a new program whereby Israeli schoolchildren would visit Hebron and Ma’arat HaMachpela, the roots of the Jewish people. Since the inception of this program, hundreds of children have visited Hebron.
Muhammad Abu Shahala, a former intelligence agent for the Palestinian Authority, has been sentenced to death, following a hurried trial. His crime: selling property to Jews in Hebron. What would be the reaction to a law in the United States, England, France, or Switzerland, forbidding property sales to Jews?
When the storm-troopers crashed the party early Wednesday afternoon, very few people were home. Most were at their “other homes,” getting ready for Passover. It only took a few minutes for the hundreds of police, border police, soldiers and riot squad to round up a few women and kids, and see them to the door. Quiet, peaceful, almost pastoral. Almost. But not quite.
USAID continues to offer funding to Arab ‘development and humanitarian projects’ in Hebron despite Abu Mazen’s attempt to unilaterally declare a ‘Palestinian state’ at the UN in September 2011.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/an-unforgivable-sacrilege/2011/02/09/
Scan this QR code to visit this page online:
No related posts.