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April 25, 2014 / 25 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Rabbi Chaim Druckman’

Rabbi David Stav: I’m Torn Up by the Divisive Atmosphere

Monday, June 17th, 2013

Rabbi David Stav, who on Saturday night was attacked viciously by Rav Ovadia Yosef, who said Rabbi Stav was a wicked man, on Sunday night responded to the attack via his Facebook page, saying he is “torn up by the divisive atmosphere.”

Rabbi Stav’s complete message was:

I want to personally thank the thousands of emails, texts and phone calls I received today from rabbis, community leaders and many of you, to strengthen me and my family in light of the personal attacks against me. I do not take this hug for granted, and I thank each and every one of you from the bottom of my heart.

I’m torn by the divisive atmosphere that has been craeted around the Chief Rabbinate election, but when I chose to go on that path, I did not seek to promote myself, rather I was thinking of the path of the Torah and the mission of returning to the Chief Rabbinate the path of Rav Abraham Isaac Kook zt”l.

These are not easy times for me and my family, so I thank you for the strength and the support. I will continue to do everything in order to connect the nation of Israel with its heritage and its Torah, and to ensure bringing together the hearts of religious, secular, Haredi Ashkenazim, Sephardim and the entire house of Israel.

Rav Ovadia Yosef attacked Rabbi Stav’s nomination for Israel’s Chief Rabbi and said: “He has no piety at all, he has no fear of Heaven. They say he is learned—what is it worth? Doeg the Edomite was a great Torah sage in King Saul’s time, and yet our sages said he had no part in the world to come.”

“His friends, from his own party,” Rav Ovadia continued, “testified to me that this man is dangerous to Judaism, dangerous to the Rabbinate, dangerous to the Torah. And I should keep silent? Therefore I had to do, and did, and everything I did was for the sake of Heaven.”

On May 25, a conference of Religious Zionist rabbis that was held at the home of Rabbi Chaim Druckman, demanded that Rabbi Stav withdraw his candidacy to allow the selection of Rabbi Yaakov Ariel—although the latter is too old for the job, and his election would have required special Knesset legislation.

During the campaign between the two rabbis, Rabbi Stav’s PR team was accused of threatened to discredit Rabbi Druckman if he acted against Rabbi Stav’s candidacy. Rabbi Stav denied the charge.

Rabbi Stav is considerably more liberal in his views than any of Israel’s chief rabbis, with the exception of the Rabbi Shlomo Goren, who ran into much the same opposition as Rabbi Stav is experiencing today. According to online sources, Rabbi Stav is less demanding than some on conversions, has a broad cultural background—as opposed to the prevalent Haredi cultural “bunker”—and employs a benign approach to many halachic issues—hence Rav Ovadia’s cursing rampage.

Rabbi Stav’s organization, Tzohar, has done a lot to repair the damage caused by a chief rabbinate that has been alienating Israelis, both secular and religious, in crucial areas, such as marriages and divorces.

In Defense of Rabbi Druckman

Monday, June 10th, 2013

A thousand words is not enough for a response to the withering attack being mounted against Haredi Zionist rabbis on the matter of selecting a chief rabbi.  The not-so-personal case of Rabbi Chaim Druckman, though, is representative. Since I know Rabbi Druckman as a man who takes things to heart in more ways than one, I gave him a call.  I consoled him, noting that in my estimation the “threatening” letter to Rabbi David Stav was not published by those who had attended the meeting at his home, but rather by opponents who disseminated the letter in order to get a boost in the media.

“Of course I know that,” said Rabbi Hayim, “but how do you?”

“Rabbi,” I answered, “I may not know how to study a page of Gemara, but I can give a good  lesson on how to read a newspaper.  The letter doesn’t contain any threat.  It’s very strident, but when push comes to shove, it’s as respectful as possible: a last-ditch call to Rabbi Stav not to run for the position of chief rabbi, despite the opposition of a good portion of the national religious rabbinate.  The assertion that his candidacy would create a rift between him and them wasn’t intended for the media.

The letter, titled “Threatening Letter from Rabbi Druckman against Rabbi Stav,” was released to the media by PR specialists working for Rabbi Stav, who decided to score some points at the expense of Rabbi Druckman and others who attended the meeting.

Rabbi Druckman sighed.  He may have enjoyed my media commentary, but, two months past his eightieth birthday, he has found himself in a war whose rules are not clear to him in the least.

*                              *                              * The proof for my thesis quickly arrived with the media gimmick’s second stage: a letter bearing the signatures of a hundred rabbis and lecturers who came out against the “threatening letter” to Rabbi David Stav.  He suddenly had become the attack-victim to whom everyone must throw his support.  Perhaps they couldn’t gather a hundred signatures in favor of his candidacy, but they could turn the issue on its head: simply gather a hundred signatures against the opposition.  And why waste more money than necessary on huge ads in the secular press?  Just have those other national religious rabbis labeled in the secular press as old-fashioned fanatics and Haredi Zionists, and let the new national religious trend continue to advance.  Secular Knesset members, for their part, including those in the Likud, won’t dare vote for any move to put Rabbi Ya’akov Ariel or anyone else of his sort in the office of the chief rabbi.

I asked a certain friend of mine, a rabbi who had signed the second letter but was not affiliated with Rabbi Stav, why he had put his name to it.  Contrary to my view, he felt that the letter to Rabbi Stav was too aggressive, and therefore signed onto the protest letter.  He really didn’t know, though, that it would be published in the general media in giant, paid ads.

“They used you, Rabbi,” I said.

“True,” he answered, “but that won’t make me excuse myself from my duty to protest”—even though, he granted, he does not think that Rabbi Stav should be the chief rabbi.

My friend is a principled man.  Rabbi Stav’s strategists are a bunch of connivers.

Bennet’s Debt to Rabbi Lior

Rabbi Druckman, who is an example to so many members of the national religious community, thought that since Naftali Bennett and his people had come to him to enlist his support before the elections, they would be faithful to him in the aftermath.  Perhaps not absolutely, but at least on basic ideological and spiritual matters, such as selecting a chief rabbi.

No such luck.  Or, as it was put this week by Colonel Moshe Hager, head of the pre-military academy system and a divisional chief of staff in the IDF: “You can quote me on this: Bennett is playing with the rabbis.  He invited me to meetings with rabbis.  After two meetings, I understood that they were for public consumption: at the end of the day, he does what he wants.  I’m not going to any more of those.”

*                              *                              * Here is a statement of defense against the sophisticated campaign that is playing out in the media, brought to you by one old-fashioned but authentic advocate:

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/in-defense-of-rabbi-druckman/2013/06/10/

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