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September 19, 2014 / 24 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Rabbi David Stav’

Rav Ovadia Calls Tzohar Rav Stav ‘Evil’; Tzohar Replies: Repent

Sunday, June 16th, 2013

Revered Sephardi Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, a spiritual head of the Shas party and a former Chief Rabbi, castigated Chief Rabbinate candidate Rabbi David Stav in unprecedented terms Saturday night, calling him “evil” and a “danger to Judaism.”

The Tzohar rabbinical group responded by calling on Rav Ovadia, who by all accounts is one of the most brilliant Torah sages today, to “repent” and “ask for forgiveness.”

The epithets  by Rav Ovadia may boomerang and give Rabbi Stav sympathy support that could make him Israel’s next Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi.

They also give anti-religious Jews, both inside Israel and in the Diaspora, plenty of ammunition to fire back in their campaign against leaving authority for Israel’s religious affairs in the hands of orthodox Jews, Haredi or not. One can hear the refrain already, “And you call these people spiritual leaders?”

Rabbi Benny Lau, a national religious rabbi and the nephew of former Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, told Voice of Israel public radio that despite Rabbi Ovadia’s constant antagonistic comments in  his weekly Saturday night sermons, he once realized the greatness of the man when he spoke  with him in person.

But Saturday night’ wild attack on Rabbi Stav left Rabbi Lau without any explanation for his behavior.

Rav Ovadia’s weekly speeches are often geared for his Sephardi audience, many of whom see themselves as having been discriminated against for decades under the domineering thumb of Ashkenazi rabbis for years.

Even taking that into account, Rabbi Lau’s inability to explain Rabbi Ovadia’s venom points in one direction: Aryeh Deri, the Rav’s favorite political leader and who rules the Shas political party.

Deri has been trying to torpedo a bill that would allow Chief Sephardi Rabbi Shlomo Amar to seek a second term. The reasoning is that since he is Haredi, his selection would create more pressure to accept a non-Haredi Ashkenazi rabbi.

Deri, a crackerjack if not ruthless politician, simply had to turn to his trusted rabbi, Rav Ovadia, to help make sure Rabbi Amar will not be selected and thereby prevent the election of Rabbi Stav.

It is open to question how much Deri and other aides close to Rav Ovadia have sheltered him from reality and have fed him the news they want him to read.

Regardless of who is to blame, when a  rabbi, especially one as distinguished as Rav Ovadia, states that appointing another rabbi to the Chief Rabbinate is like bringing idolatry in the Holy Temple, it only takes a look at the calendar to realize how deep and slimy the pit into which the campaign for Chief Rabbi has fallen.

Next week, Jews being the tradition “three weeks of mourning” that concludes with Tisha B’Av, marking the destruction of the First and Second Temples.

The Second Temple is said to have fallen because of “loshon haRa,” literally the “evil tongue” by which Jews slander other Jews.

The Tzohar rabbinical organization accused Rav Ovadia of doing just that and accused Rav Ovadia of incitement.

When respected rabbis feel the need to call on a rabbi as revered as Rav Ovadia to “repent,” it is clear something is not kosher.

Rabbi Stav has conducted an unprecedented self-promotional campaign to become Chief Rabbi, but it can easily be argued there is no other way to change the outward face inward soul of the Chief Rabbinate in Israel that has managed to distance secular Jews instead of drawing them closer to Judaism.

In a pitiful understatement, aides to Rabbi Amar have charged that political elements are sowing the seeds of hatred between Torah sages.

The group of Tzohar Rabbis protested what they called the incitement of Rabbi Yosef against “another great rabbi in Israel whose entire life has been dedicated to love of the Torah by the People of Israel.. [His comments] prove the need for an urgent change in the Rabbinate of Israel.”

Shas officials insisted on the last word, which gets worse every time they speak. They  said it is “not respectful to respond to words of a heretic by people who call themselves rabbis but are worse than non-Jews.”

One Shas source, compared Rabbi Stav with Korach, who challenged  Moses’ authority and whose followers died when the ground opened up and buried them alive. ” When Rav Ovadia says he [Rabbi Stav]is evil, there is no need to explain,” said the source. Now , it is clear that all of them [Tzohar rabbis] are evil.”

Rav Ovadia Attacks Tzohar Rabbi David Stav

Sunday, June 16th, 2013

The campaign for Chief Rabbi in Israel got uglier Saturday night with Shas party’s spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef saying in his weekly address that Tzohar Rabbi does “not have the fear God.”

Rabbi Stab has staged an unprecedented campaign to promote himself for Chief Rabbi. His candidacy is supported by most national religious leaders and stiffly opposed by most of the Haredi community.

Rabbi Yosef, who was hospitalized briefly last week after he fell unconscious temporarily, warned that Rabbi Stas is “dangerous to Judaism.”

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:

Jewish Home MK Orbach Supports Rabbi Stav for Chief Rabbinate

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

Jewish Home Minister Uri Orbach announced Monday night on his Facebook page that he supports Rabbi David Stav, who is part of the Tzohar organization, as Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi of Israel. Some other Jewish Home Knesset Members have backed Rabbi Yaakov Ariel for the position, but his candidacy is in doubt because of his age.

The Tzohar organization focuses on bringing non-religious Jews closer to tradition. Rabbi Stav’s open approach “is what the overwhelming majority of the public, including many rabbis who give their quiet support, and most of our voters want from us,” Orbach wrote.

“Rabbi Stav is a great and learned national religious rabbi committed to the People and State of Israel,” he added.

Shas Balking on Support for Bennett’s Candidate for Chief Rabbi

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

Despite reports in the media—most notably by Arutz 7, whose owner, Rabbi Zalman Melamed, has a pony in the race—about a deal that’s been supposedly forged between Naftali Bennett’s Jewish Home and Shas (See: New Chief Rabbi Appointment Pitting Bennett Against Lapid).

The deal that’s being touted by Jewish Home includes extending by another ten-year term the tenure of Sephardi Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar, in exchange for a legislative change of the maximum age for the position. That would pave the way for Rabbi Yaakov Ariel, who is over age 70, to become Chief Rabbi.

But a senior Shas official told Kikar HaShabbat that “Rav Ovadia Yosef will not support such a deal with Jewish Home,” in light of that the party’s conduct in the last elections.

“Rav Ovadia Yosef will not give a hand to any deal with the Jewish Home, the party that caused the most damage to Haredi parties,” said the Shas official. We will not support it, even if [our refusal] would endanger the selection of the Haredi Sephardi rabbi.”

Another source in Shas declared that “Rav Ovadia is willing to lose both chief rabbis if getting them means a partnership with the ones who stuck a knife in our back and went with Yair Lapid.”

Meanwhile, Rabbi David Stav published a tortured letter in Srugim, a National Religious website, saying that should Rabbi Ariel become a candidate, he, Rabbi Stav, would remove his own candidacy. Rabbi Stav also bemoaned the personal campaign against him, launched by supporters of Rabbi Ariel.

The struggle between Rabbi Ariel and Rabbi Stav is also creating a conflict within the Jewish Home faction, between the more right wing faction, represented by Rabbi Chaim Drukman, dean of the Or Etzion yeshiva and head of the Bnei Akiva yeshivot, who support Rabbi Ariel, and the Bennett circle, including MK Ayelet Shaked and Minister Uri Orbach, who support Rabbi Stav.

Naftali Bennett is, among other government jobs, Minister of Religious services. But his deputy minister there, Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan, is the de-facto minister. Both men will be the final decision makers, at least on paper, regarding the appointments.

But without the support of Shas, chances are limited for Rabbi Ariel’s appointment, which will require changing the law which at this point says one must be younger than 70 when taking the mantle of Chief Rabbi. While Likud-beitenu might be persuaded to support such “personalized legislation,” in exchange for another deal, making former Foreign Minister David Levi Israel’s next president (which Liberman is pushing—Levi’s daughter is an Israel Beitenu MK).

The main reason the age-changing personalized legislation is bound to die in the water has to do with the fact that Yair Lapid’s lieutenant, Education Minister Rabbi Shai Piron, supports Rabbi Stav, as do most of the faction members, and—most importantly—Lapid’s entire agenda abhors special deals that include personalized legislation and similar political tricks. And so, Yesh Atid will vote against the proposed legislation, should it come up, and their 19 votes together with the opposition votes will prevent the move.

A source close to Jewish Home told The Jewish Press that Naftali Bennett is waiting this one out, offering tacit support for Rabbi Ariel’s candidacy simply because he wouldn’t dare stand up to Rabbi Drukman and the Melamed faction inside his party. In the end, Bennett is hoping that the Rabbi Ariel proposal will collapse under its own weight, clearing the way for the appointment of the one man most secular and religious Israelis (who care) are hoping for – rabbi David Stav, the National Religious antidote to Haredi alienation.

New Chief Rabbi Appointment Pitting Bennett Against Lapid

Friday, April 19th, 2013

In Jewish Home circles they appear certain that the National Religious party’s candidate, Rabbi Yaakov Ariel, will be the next appointed Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel. But Naftali Bennet’s BF Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party is not prepared to give them this one. In fact, Yesh Atid officials said on Thursday that they’re ready for an all out war in support of Rabbi David Stav for the post.

But the conflict between the two buddy factions is not just over who would end up as Chief Rabbi, but also over one of the illnesses of Israel’s legislative system, known as “personalized laws.” These are laws that are enacted for a singular, temporary purpose, which can only be done, seemingly, in a country without a binding constitution.

In this case, the Jewish Home faction’s candidate is over age 70, and so his backers are proposing a new law that would eliminate the age limit when it comes to appointing a Chief Rabbi.

This is exactly the kind of calloused approach to the law that Yesh Atid’s idealistic, middle-class voters hate with a passion.

Rabbi Ariel is the personification of Religious Zionism in Israel, possibly its most respected scholar. So much so, that Rabbi Stav, who gained popularity in Israel as founder and leader of Tzohar, a rabbinic organization seeking to integrate religious and secular Israelis, announced that should Rabbi Ariel run, he, Stav, would remove his candidacy.

But Education Minister Rabbi Shai Piron, himself a product of Religious Zionism, said on Thursday that he spoke with Rabbi Ariel, and the latter does not consider himself a candidate for the job.

“I will oppose the law (to loft the age limit) in the government and the Knesset, and will do anything in my power to make sure it will not pass,” Piron said privately, as reported by Maariv. “This is not the proper way to choose a chief rabbi.”

MK Aliza Lavie, also of Yesh Atid, also opposes listing the age limit by tailor-made legislation. And she’s been a supporter of Rabbi Stav since before her election to the Knesset. “There is room to amend the Chief Rabbinate,” she said, “but not through personalized legislation.”

Incidentally, MK Lavie got under the skin of Haredi politicians (would that constitute negiah?) recently, when she proposed appointing a female “Morat Halacha” (halachic teacher) alongside the two chief rabbis. The title “Morat Halacha” is in use as an alternative to the “Rabbah” among the Conservative and Reform. There are about 70 certified, Orthodox, female Rabbinic Advocates, who are permitted to argue in front of rabbinic courts in Israel – perhaps one of them could be chief rebbetzen?

Meanwhile, Jewish Home pols are telling everyone that they’ve got this one in the bag, and their 76-years-old candidate has received the approval of Shas’ leader Rav Ovadia Yosef and, hence, a majority of the votes needed.

Personally, I like Rabbi Ariel’s credentials very much, but I’ve been truly excited by Rabbi Stav’s achievements in the most crucial area of religion and state in Israel – helping secular Israelis feel better about their tradition.

Meanwhile, MK Moshe Feiglin is proposing the elimination of the two-rabbi deal, no more separate Ashkenazi and Sephardi authorities, we’re no longer in diaspora, he argues, all we need is one Chief Rabbi.

But what about all the patronage jobs that go with the office? You have to think before you make those grand announcements, Feiglin – what about parnassah?

National Religious Rabbis Support Outsider for Chief Rabbi

Monday, December 17th, 2012

In the past, Rabbi David Stav, chairman of the Tzohar rabbinic organization and rabbi of the town of Shoham, has announced a number of times that he was considering throwing his hat in the ring, so to speak, for the position of Israel’s chief rabbi. recently, according to the Srugim website, Rabbi Stav has received support from senior National religious rabbis who pointed out that his Torah knowledge, personality and achievements, have led them to recommend him for this high post.

Back in 2010, in an interview he gave Maariv, Rabbi Stav was asked if the very existence of his organization, Tzohar, which is attempting to make up for the perceived failures of the chief rabbinate in communication with the secular Jews in Israel who require its services, might not be an indictment of a bankrupted chief rabbinate.

Choosing his words carefully, Rabbi Stav said that, ideally, Tzohar should have been invented by the Rabbinate, to improve its contact with and influence over the Israeli public at large.

“Sadly,” Stav said, “some elements are viewing us with a jaundiced eye and so they create a dispute between Tzohar and the chief rabbinate. We try our very best to avoid a division. We want there to be a chief rabbinate, but we must remember that the Haredim have no interest in the chief rabbinate, and neither do the secular. The only ones who are interested in it are the national religious, who are able to serve as a bridge between the secular and the religious.”

Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, dean of the Ateret Kohanim yeshiva and the rabbi of the town of beit El has written: “Based on my many years’ acquaintance with Rabbi Stav Shlita, I support his candidacy for Chief Rabbi of Israel.”

In his letter, Rabbi Aviner notes that that Rabbi Stav is “a true scholar and a Torah giant,” and “has proven himself in great action on behalf of Torah and the nation.”

In conclusion, Rabbi Aviner writes that “Rabbi Stav understands the temperament of every person, National Religious or Haredi, secular and traditional, which is a dire need regarding the great vision of the chief rabbinate, that it belong to the entire nation.”

Rabbi Aharon Lichtenshtein, dean of the Har Etzion yeshiva, quotes Maimonides’ laws of the Sanhedrin which determine the prerequisite qualities of a member of the high court, from which Lichtenshtein deduces a fortiori that the task of finding a scholar befitting the role of chief rabbi is very difficult.

Rabbi Lichtenshtein concludes: “I view Rabbi Stav – out a deep and diverse personal acquaintance, as well as having worked together in several areas and on behalf of several communities – as most qualified to meet successfully the demands of this high office to the benefit of the public as a whole.”

Dean of Itamar yeshiva and former chief rabbi of the IDF Rabbi Avi Ronsky wrote: “I recommend Rabbi David Stav Shlita to the position of Israel’s chief rabbi. To begin with, Rabbi David is a scholar, an ordained rabbi and judge, serving as the rabbi of the town of Shoham and head of the Tzohar organization, known for its many good works among Israel’s multitudes to bring them closer to the Torah of Israel.

“I am certain that, with God’s help, Rabbi David with his pleasant demeanor will be able to forge anew reality in our nation, of respect and affection for Torah, and consequently a desire to know and keep it.”

An official at Tzohar said that these letters are but the tip of an iceberg in terms of the broad support Rabbi has been receiving from the entire spectrum of Israeli society: “We’ve been getting enormous support from religious Zionist rabbis, Haredi rabbis, top business people, and from the leaders of the Zionist parties who understand that the coming vote for the chief rabbinate is critical to the continuity of Jewish identity in the state of Israel, and if the chief rabbinate does not become the rabbinate of all of israel, including secular, traditional and religious, we’ll see the creation of two separate tribes who won’t share a common identity and culture.”

The election of the next chief rabbis will take place after the 19th Knesset is convened.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/national-religious-rabbis-support-outsider-for-chief-rabbi/2012/12/17/

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