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April 23, 2014 / 23 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Rabbi Israel Rosen’

2 Liberal Orthodox Rabbis Warring over Flipping Fuse on Stormy Shabbat

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

Two National Religious rabbis, each a member of different National Religious organizations, have been pushing two radically different views of Shabbat laws following the weekend’s “storm of the century.”

Coordinator of the Beit Midrash (study hall) of the Beit Hillel organization Rabbi Yoni Rosenzweig, who lives in Efrat, in the Judean hills, reported in a personal column in Maariv that at 3 AM, Shabbat, he had woken up to discover that the electricity in his apartment was out.

“I sat down in the middle of the dark living room and was thinking: today is Shabbat. Pushing up the fuse and turning on heat sources in the house is a Torah level prohibition, but, on the other hand, it’s frightfully cold outside, and tomorrow is bound to be cold as well, how will we survive Shabbat without heat?” Rabbi Rosenzweig wrote.

Acknowledging that tens of thousands of Jews in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria had opted to avoid touching their electric systems on that Shabbat, Rabbi Rosenzweig insisted that to him, that choice seemed unreasonable.

“I said to myself: there must be a halachic solution,” the rabbi continued. In the end, he combined two halachic concepts: one – hakol cholim etzel tzina—everyone is considered sick when it’s very cold (Mishna Brura, laws of Shabbat, No. 253 – although the discussion there is regarding asking a gentile to heat the food on Shabbat, Y.Y.); and two – doing the prohibited labor with a change (meaning not the way it is normally done) combined with the concept of Grama (an event caused by another, indirect event) based on the fact that the electricity was not being produced directly as a result of flipping the fuse switch.

In the end, Rabbi Rosenzweig reported, “I lifted the switch with a change, and the heat returned to the apartment. I contemplated for a while if the act was really permitted, but I had no problem falling asleep. I felt that the duty of a posek—halachic ruler is to try and be permissive when it’s needed. We have plenty of ‘chumrot’—severe interpretations of the law, but in an emergency we must know how to go easy.”

Rabbi Rosenzweig’s neighbor in the Gush Etzion region, Rabbi Israel Rosen, of the Tzomet Institute, which, among other things, finds creative halachic solutions to Shabbat issues, and is not known for its strict rulings, published a response in the website Srugim, calling his decision “A Delusional Ruling to Anyone who Understands the Laws of Shabbat.”

Rabbi Rosen laid out a well founded objection to the heter—permission Rabbi Rosenzweig had given himself, starting with the argument that it appeared the children in the house—who are the vulnerable entity in such rulings—appear to have been sleeping comfortably under their covers, which should have at least justified pushing off the decision until morning.

He also suggested that the “indirect” argument is delusional, because there was only one, predictable outcome to flipping the switch on, makes no difference where the actual production takes place.

What I liked most about rabbi Rosen’s well reasoned attack was the fact that, after all had been said, he did not suggest Rabbi Rosenzweig was not within his rights as a halachic Jew to act as he did. What upset him was the fact that he chose to brag about it.

“I was mostly shocked by the atmosphere and the style,” Rabbi Rosen wrote. “It’s evident that the reporting rabbi wishes to aggrandize himself in front of the readers with his great arm that bends halacha with virtuosity.”

“It’s cheapening halacha, using it like playdough,” argued Rabbi Rosen, but, again, his greatest complaint was not the rabbi’s choice, but his turning of a choice that should have remained private into braggadocio.

“If he had ruled this way for his neighbors, I would have kept quiet,” Rabbi Rosen concluded. “But the entire entry emphasizes his own and his family’s interests.”

Rabbinic Rebellion: NRP Rabbis Back Pick Nixed by AG

Thursday, July 18th, 2013

Dozens of National Religious rabbis on Wednesday signed a letter supporting the candidacy of Tsfat Chief Rabbi, Shmuel Eliyahu, to the post of chief Sephardi rabbi.

On Monday, Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein informed Rabbi Eliyahu that he would not be allowed to present his nomination, due to controversial remarks he had made in the past regarding Jewish-Arab relations. AG Weinstein said in a letter to Rabbi Eliyahu that his candidacy for chief rabbi would be “unsuitable.”

This does not mean that the AG is able to prevent Rabbi Eliyahu’s nomination, but the letter could be seen as a shot across the bow, signaling that, should the rabbi win the post, the AG would petition the High Court to annul the vote.

The statements in question, which have long been dubbed by Israel’s anti-religious media as “racist,” had to do, among other things, with whether or not Jews in Eretz Israel were permitted to sell or rent homes to gentiles. In a specific, individual, ruling—which was misquoted and taken completely out of context by the media—Rabbi Eliyahu prohibited the sale or rental of apartments to Arab students at the Tsfat college.

When interviewed this week by several outlets, it turned out that Rabbi Eliyahu’s opinion has either been modified following the attacks on him, or—which I suspect—has always remained grounded in normative halacha, which offers a righteous gentile living among Jews many protections, unless he is suspected of constituting a danger.

In other words, an Arab would not be prohibited to live in Tsfat because he is “impure” racially, but because he or she, as specific individuals, are behaving in a way that can be perceived as dangerous.

While I, personally, continue to believe Rabbi Eliyahu would be a terrible choice for chief rabbi, because of his inability so far to absorb the notion what an enormous effort is required in order for a faithful Jew to communicate in positive terms with secular Israelis and with a hostile media—I can’t help admiring the heartfelt support for the embattled rabbi from his peers.

The letter supporting Rabbi Eliyahu’s candidacy was signed, among others, by Rabbi Avichai Ronski, Rabbi Avraham Zuckerman, Rabbi Eitan Eizman, Religious Services Deputy Minister Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan, Rabbi Eliakim Levanon, Rabbi Eliezer Waldman, Rabbi Elisha Vishlitzky, Rabbi Amnon Sugarman, Rabbi Ben Zion Elgazi, Rabbi Benny Kalmanson, Rabbi Haim Druckman, Rabbi Yehoshua Shapira, Rabbi Haggai Lundin, Rabbi Israel Rosen, Rabbi Shabtai Sabato, and Rabbi Shlomo Aviner.

The letter called on Rabbi Eliyahu to continue in the tradition of service of his late, righteous father, Chief Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu, and announce his own candidacy. The rabbis described Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu as “a scholar and a renaissance man who devotes his life to to the people of Israel, through great sacrifices, with love and a bright countenance to every person, whomever they may be.”

Rabbi Yuval Cherlow, dean of Yeshivat Hesder Petah Tikva, said the AG’s disqualifying of Rabbi Eliyahu “crossed some serious red lines.”

Noting that he and Rabbi Eliyahu have had great disagreements on several issues, and despite the fact that the same rabbi had written “ugly, public things” about him, and even though Rabbi Cherlow absolutely disagrees with everything Rabbi Eliyahu had to say about the controversial issues on which he ruled, it was still a very grave error on the part of AG Weinstein to involve himself in the democratic process over what is distinctly a candidate’s views, rather than his conduct.

Had there been any accusation of corruption against the candidate, the AG would have been well within his rights, even his duties, to disqualify him. But “using the force of the law against views that are unpopular with the powers that be” is alarming, according to Rabbi Cherlow, who went on to call on AG Weinstein to rescind his statement regarding the candidacy.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/rabbinic-rebellion-nrp-rabbis-back-pick-nixed-by-ag/2013/07/18/

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