Chairman of the alternative Orthodox rabbinical organization Tzohar and the rabbi of the town of Shoham Rabbi David Stav told Galay Israel Radio that the proposal to revoke his rabbinical ordination was sad.
On Monday, during the first meeting of the newly elected Chief Rabbinate Council, in a discussion of renewing the ordination of some 100 rabbinical judges (dayanim) who do not actively serve on judicial panels, there was an objection to the renewal of number 74 on the list, Rabbi David Stav.
It just so happens that Rabbi Stav had also been the Jewish Home candidate for the office of Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi, and that he would have one by a hefty margin if not for a maneuver engineered by Shas and the Haredi Zionist rabbis. It also just so happens that Rabbi Stav’s organization, Tzhoar, is the most popular Orthodox outfit bar none among non-religious Israelis, mostly because its rabbis treat them like human beings, a concept which is on occasion foreign to the Haredi rabbis controlling the chief rabbinate.
And so it wouldn’t be so surprising to find out that the chief rabbinate council member who advocated kicking Rabbi Stav down the stairs and to the street was the exulted Rabbi Avraham Yosef, son of the late Maran Rav Ovadia Yosef ZTKL, as exposed by Army Radio reporter Yair Sherki on his Facebook page.
The late Maran Rav Ovadia Yosef ZTKL had a special warm corner for Rabbi Stav, whom he nicknamed “wicked,” suggested he “didn’t qualify to be anything” and even alerted folks that “NRP people come to me saying ‘Be careful, this man is dangerous to Judaism.'”
Speaking to Galay Israel Radio, Rabbi Stav said that “it should be noted to the merit of the Chief Rabbinate Council, that it rejected that proposal immediately and renewed my credentials. But it brings up a very sad problem. That council is comprised of ten rabbis, none of whom is qualified to be a dayan. None of them have passed the exams. And they’re the ones deciding to revoke or extend the credentials of people who have studied for years and have been tested. It looks grotesque and pitiful to me.”
Focusing on Rabbi Yosef, son of the great man, Rabbi Stav continued: “But this is not an issue of the council, but of one man. There’s no need to include in this the entire rabbinate or all the Haredim. He did what he did. Nevertheless, I think the authority to deal with the ordination of rabbinical judges should be removed from the chief rabbinate council, which has no understanding of rabbinical judging and includes no one with a judge’s ordination.”
Regarding the “Tzohar Law” that passed last week, enabling prospective couples to pick and choose the Orthodox rabbi and the location they prefer for their wedding, and regarding the Conversions Law which has received the preliminary approval of the government and the Knesset, adding some 30 Orthodox conversion panels throughout Israel, Rabbi Stav said: “Had I been elected Chief Rabbi and the marriage law were to pass, my life would have been miserable, I would have been attacked ceaselessly. But we continue, because that’s our obligation… [We’ll do] anything that can make it easier for Israeli society to obey the halacha, with an awareness of service, without politics…”
Rabbi Stav pointed out that all the reforms he would have attempted as chief rabbi, are being pushed through political legislation anyway. He promised to attempt to do more.
But he explicitly objected to the proposed civil marriage law, which he described as being “a knife in the back of the Tzohar law and the conversions law. The whole idea behind our laws, after all, has been to be friendlier and so the public would be willing to wed and verify their Jewish status at the rabbinate. But if you enact the civil marriage law, then the young people are going to say they no longer need the rabbinate, and they won’t come to verify their Jewish status and they won’t register to marry halachically. I very much hope the bill will not pass, and if it does, we’ll have to be even better at what we do, so they’ll still come to us.”
About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.
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