web analytics
August 27, 2014 / 1 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat (L) visits the JewishPress.com booth at The Event. And the Winners of the JewishPress.com Raffle Are…

Congratulations to all the winners of the JewishPress.com raffle at The Event



Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

How Many Jewish Leaders Actually Read The Prayer Book?


Rabbi Ovadia Yosef’s ill wishes toward Israel’s Palestinian Arab enemies, including the Palestinian Authority and its Holocaust-denier president, elicited disdain and disavowals from much of the leadership of Israel and the Jewish world.

Rabbi Ovadia’s “words do not reflect the approach of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, nor the position of the government of Israel,” the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement.

The Rabbinical Assembly, the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, the Jewish Theological Assembly and related groups said, “As leaders of the Conservative/Masorti movement, we deplore these recent comments of former Chief Sephardic Rabbi Ovadia Yosef.”

ADL National Director Abe Foxman said, “We are outraged by the offensive and incendiary comments made by Rav Ovadia Yosef.” And the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations added, “We are disturbed by the reported comments of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef.”

Why these entities and eminences have reacted this way is an interesting question – even putting aside the paternalistic attitude of superiority so commonly used to justify ignoring the constant barrage of hate and incitement to genocide emanating from many of Israel enemies. And that vitriol is not voiced by individuals but promulgated by governments and leaders, including Israel’s purported “partners for peace.” Advertisement

I was gratified to learn I am not the only one who found the situation peculiar. In a letter published on the Jerusalem Post’s website, Chana Pinto accurately and articulately pointed out that in our prayers, Jews beseech God to defeat our enemies. For example, the Amida includes “Frustrate the hopes of those who malign us” and “Let all your enemies be speedily destroyed.”

So is Rabbi Ovadia Yosef the only prominent Jew who reads the prayer book? Can Jewish leaders be fairly likened to America’s legislators who now routinely pass multi-thousand page bills without reading them or knowing what is in them, much less understanding and reflecting on their implications?

Or is it that other Jewish leaders are aware of their prayers but Rabbi Yosef is the only one who means it when he says them? If they are so offended by their own prayers, they should change them. If Obama and his Democrats can ram through their unwanted legislation, perhaps these Jewish leaders can change the prayers to be more consonant with their political and worldly sensibilities.

The controversy over Rabbi Yosef’s remarks reminded me of a similar hypocrisy that occurred during George W. Bush’s presidency. Bush was well known to have been inspired by his faith during his time in office. And he was routinely mocked for it, with many Jews among those criticizing him.

But consider the “Prayer for Our Country,” a commonly recited Shabbat and Festival prayer in Conservative (and other) American congregations. The prayer includes the plea to God to “Teach [our leaders and elected officials] insights of Your Torah so they may administer all affairs of state fairly, that peace and security may forever abide in our midst.”

So those Jews who criticized Bush for being inspired by the Bible were criticizing him for doing precisely what they were praying for him to do.

In my view, there is a twofold reason why so many people claimed offense at Rabbi Yosef’s remarks. First, the fact is that most people in the world don’t want Israel to prevail in its struggle, and Israeli and Jewish leaders are overly sensitive to that sentiment. More important is the widespread and tragic refusal by Israelis, Jews, and westerners in general to acknowledge that Israel is at war.

(If it’s not a state of war, why do we need peace talks? Does this enemy to whose defense the Israeli government and Jews throughout the world are rushing even acknowledge Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state? Last time I checked, no. And the enemy even says it never will.)

Related to the refusal to acknowledge the state of war is, on the part of many, a lack of understanding of what war actually entails. That lack of understanding results in a sense of shock and horror when the enemy is killed, injured, or even inconvenienced (think “checkpoints” and “blockade”).

As has been learned over the course of human history, Israel will never achieve the security of peace until it defeats its enemies. And as has also been true throughout human history, Israel will never be able to defeat its enemies by being nice to them. Love bombs don’t work. Real armaments are needed.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “How Many Jewish Leaders Actually Read The Prayer Book?”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman
Political Fallout Begins From Ceasefire
Latest Indepth Stories
Palestinian patient enters Israel for emergency treatment.

We risk our lives to help those who do what they can to kill to our people .

Mark Twain

Twain grasped amazingly well the pulse of the Jewish people.

Brudner-012414-Hollywood

The entertainment industry appears divided about the conflict between Israel and Hamas.

Grandparents of 4 year old Daniel Tragerman mourn during his funeral at the Hevel Shalom Cemetery in Southern Israel. The boy was murdered by Hamas.

Israelis in Gaza border communities need to get out; who will help them?

The contrast between the mentality of Israel and the mentality of Hamas was never so loudly expressed as when the Arab killers became heroes and the Jewish killers became prisoners.

There is a threat today representing a new category of missionary:They call themselves “Hayovel.”

Just as we would never grant legitimacy to ISIS, we should not grant legitimacy to Hamas.

Is Woodstock still leading the world to destruction?

Wye would be seen to have set the groundwork for the creation of a Palestinian state

Blaming Israel for the violence in Gaza, he ends up justifying Hamas’s terrorism.

In the Thirties it was common for anti-Semites to call on Jews to “go to Palestine!”

Obama never hid his contempt for the Israeli government or the majority of Israel’s voters.

“This arbitrary ban is an ugly stain on our democracy, and it also undermines the rule of law.”

We take US “aid” for psychological reasons-if we have an allowance, that means we have a father.

ZIM Piraeus isn’t Israeli-owned or flagged, incidentally, it is Greek operated.

Foolish me, thinking the goals were the destruction of Hamas thereby giving peace a real chance.

More Articles from Mark Gold

Rabbi Ovadia Yosef’s ill wishes toward Israel’s Palestinian Arab enemies, including the Palestinian Authority and its Holocaust-denier president, elicited disdain and disavowals from much of the leadership of Israel and the Jewish world.

I regret to report on the ascendance of an American Jewish version of Replacement Theology and a corresponding new American Jewish Bible. These have been adopted primarily in the Reform and secular sectors, as well as in the overlapping wider societal groups of Democrat Party faithful, academia, and the media establishment.

Israel has no shortage of avowed detractors. It also has many genuinely avid supporters. Even more people and institutions claim to support Israel. But what does supporting Israel really mean?

    Latest Poll

    Do you think the FAA ban on US flights to Israel is political?






    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/how-many-jewish-leaders-actually-read-the-prayer-book/2010/09/15/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: