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October 10, 2015 / 27 Tishri, 5776
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Rabbi Yosef’

Chief Rabbinate Bows to Pressure to Extend Rabbi Riskin’s Term

Sunday, June 28th, 2015

The attempt by the Chief Rabbinate to oust Rabbi Shlomo Riskin as Chief Rabbi or Efrat is doomed, and the rabbis will extend his term after meeting on Monday, the Hareidi Kikar Shabbat website reported.

If the rabbis could have their way, they would vote against Riskin, but they fear a media and public backlash, according to the report.

The issue arose several weeks ago when it was reported that rabbis in the Chief Rabbinate do not like Rabbi Riskin’s views on conversion and his liberal attitude towards women.

He has reached the age of 75 and needs permission from the Rabbinate to continue serving.

An argument broke out in the Rabbinate between the majority of rabbis and the legal department, which said that a rabbi’s medical condition is the only grounds they can use to refuse to extend his term.

After the attempt to oust Rabbi Riskin was exposed, Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) Naftali Bennett said:

I do not accept the attempt to demote a public servant because of his opinions and then say it is because of his age. Rabbi Risking helped established Efrat, and he has merits that do not allow his being used as a political target.

He is allowed to have a different opinion, and shutting the door to other opinions is prohibited.

The attitude of the Chief Rabbinate can be discerned from a recording of comments by Chief Sephardi Rabbi Yitzchak Yosef, who was quoted earlier this month by Kikar Shabbat as saying:

We say in daily prayers every morning, ‘God has not made me a woman,’ not like someone from Efrat who comes up with all kinds of new ideas makes news and wages wars.

The phrase “”make news and wage battles” is a reference to another prayer in the morning prayers, in which  it is recited that God “brings about new developments and is the Master of wars.”

A senior official in the Chief Rabbinate told Kikar Shabbat:

We estimate that his term will be extended. The rabbis in the council have an interest that Rabbi Riskin will commit himself to be subject to the Chief Rabbinate. There is a strong doubt that he will agreed to do so, but the rabbis will try.”

Legally, they cannot vote to oust Rabbis Riskin without medical proof that he is not fit for office.

Rabbi Riskin’s views on conversion and women do not fit in with the Hareidi Orthodox model.

The Chief Rabbinate, still a bastion of Hareidi power, has lost the trust of Israelis who once respected it, especially when Hareidi Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau was in office. The charismatic rabbi never let his opinions get in the way of reaching out to all Israelis with understanding, something that is totally lacking in the Chief Rabbinate today.

Their refusal to accept any other opinion in the Orthodox world only makes them more vulnerable to a collapse of their authority under the weight of pressure from the Reform community.


Below is a video of Rabbi Riskin’s explanation on this week’s Torah reading of Balak:

Shas Spiritual Leader Says ‘HaTikvah’ Is ‘Stupid’ [video]

Monday, February 23rd, 2015

The spiritual leader of the Shas Sephardi Haredi party told party supporters Sunday night that the “HaTikvah” national anthem is “stupid,” reported the Walla! website, which also provided an audio of the rabbi’s remarks.

Rabbi Shlomo Cohen’s aides defended the observation he made when describing a meeting with Shas’ founder and late spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef in 1955.

Rabbi Yitzchak Nissim had been appointed Chief Sephardic Rabbi at the time, and Rabbi Cohen said people stood up and started singing HaTikvah at the end of the inaugural ceremony.

Rabbi Cohen told listeners at Netivot that he said at the time, “What a bunch of nuts! Is this the Prime Minister?” He said he did not stand and asked Rabbi Yosef why he stood. Rabbi Yosef replied, “I was saying “Aleinu,” the prayer recited while standing at the end of morning, afternoon and evening prayers.

Rabbi Cohen explained that the Rabbi Yosef “didn’t want this ridiculous song to influence him.”

That shows the difference between Rav Ovadia – who had the good sense not to insult the majority of Israelis, religious as well as secular – and Rabbi Cohen, who does not have the sense to shut up.

Rabbi Shimon Baadnie, a member of the Shas Council of Sages, tried to explain that Rabbi Cohen really did not intend to say that HaTikvah is stupid but that it simply “is sung in a stupid way.”

However, there was no explanation to justify or rationalize Rabbi Cohen’s vicious attack on the national religious community. The good rabbi compared the “knitted kippa” Jewish community with the influence of Amalek, Israel’s eternal enemy.

Shas is stinging from the desertion the influential Sephardi Rabbi Yoram Abergil, who has announced he is supporting the Yachad party led by former Shas leader Eli Yishai.

Here are the words from HaTikvah that Jews all over the world sing and with which Rabbi Baadnie has a problem:

As long as the Jewish spirit is yearning deep in the heart,

With eyes turned toward the East, looking toward Zion,

Then our hope – the two-thousand-year-old hope – will not be lost:

To be a free people in our land,

The land of Zion and Jerusalem

Rabbi Baadnie said, “People say words and don’t understand what they mean.’Free in our land.’? Where is our freedom when we have sorrow from Arabs. The People of Israel are not free because Arabs, Americans and Europeans drive us crazy.”

It would have been more impressive if Rabbi Cohen had said something like, “We are not free because the Third Temple has not been built” but how could he think of such a thing with politics on his brain?

Nevertheless, the rabbi is  right to a certain extent, but being “right” often is being stupid, even more so than the song may seem to Rabbi Cohen.

That is exactly what Shmira Imber, daughter of HaTikvah composer Naftali Herz Imber, told Walla! in response to Rabbi Cohen’s remarks:

“It is stupid to say that,” she said.

Below is a Barbara Streisand’s rendition of HaTikvah, stupid or not.

Shas Politicians Fight It Out to Destroy the Party

Thursday, December 11th, 2014

Shas Haredi Sephardi party leader and ex-con Aryeh Deri has demanded that former party chairman Eli Yishai deposit a resignation letter just in case he decides to work against the party, the Haredi Kikar Shabbat website reported Thursday morning.

Yishai met with a rabbi from the “Council of Torah Sages” and was presented with Deri’s letter of conditions for unity between him and Deri.

Yishai saw the condition for the letter and refused, setting the groundwork for Deri and Yishai to call off their “unity peace talks” that were scheduled this morning.

“Why does Deri think that Yishai has to submit this kind of letter,” an aide to Yishai told Kikar Shabbat. “Yishai doesn’t believe Deri and is sure he will use the letter to chase him out of the party. Deri tells the media he will be number two [on the party election list], but the public knows that Deri is making conditions he cannot accept and wants to make Yishai leave the party in a move that will appear, in principle as if he does not want unity.”

A spokesman for Deri did not deny the report of conditions.

A poll published on Wednesday shows that Yishai as Shas party chairman would attract enough voters to elect nine Knesset Members, two more than with Deri as leader.

The Shas party lost its founder and spiritual leader, former Chief Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, last year. Ever since, Deri and Yishai have been at each other’s throats, the way politicians act out of “good for the country.”

The Deri-Yishai feud could split up the party into two factions.

That could leave Netanyahu, or Herzog-Livni, playing Deri and Yishai off each other to bait them into a coalition.

Livni, Bennett Back Bill to Pretend Jews Need Only One Chief Rabbi

Monday, November 11th, 2013

Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and Jewish Home chairman and Minister for Religious Affairs Naftali Bennett unveiled the outline Monday morning of their new bill to eliminate the system of a two-headed Chief Rabbinate and replace it with “one rabbi for one people.”

Modern Israel always has had two chief rabbis, one for the Ashkenazi community and one for the Sephardi community. Each community has vastly different traditions and different rulings on Jewish laws. Within each community there are several sub-cultures. There are “Yechi” Ashkenazi Jews. There are many different Chassidic sects, and there are “Litvak,” Misnagim,” Lubavitch-Chabad, Ger, Neturei Karta, Vishnitz and a host of others.

In Israel, there is no lack of different synagogues representing the origin of their worshippers’ families. There are Iraqi, Iranian (Parsi), Egyptian and Yemenite synagogues, to mention a few.

Livni, who is secular, and Bennett, who is modern Orthodox, each believe that one chief rabbi is enough for everyone,

Their bill would clear the way for a single chief rabbi in 10 years, when the next election will take place. Three months ago, Haredi Rabbi David Lau defeated national religious Rabbi David Stav to head the Ashkenazi rabbinate. Rabbi Yitzchak Yosef was elected Chief Sephardi Rabbi.

Both of the new chief rabbis are sons of two of the most popular men ever to serve as chief rabbi – Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau and the late Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, who was highly controversial among those outside of Sephardi circles. Each man is a legend, and the thought of a single chief rabbi would have been unthinkable under their charismatic leadership.

Livni and Bennett insist they are not retrying to blur the lines of tradition. A single rabbi undoubtedly would save money, but finance is not part of their agenda.

“There is one prime minister, one president, one supreme court and one IDF Chief of Staff,” Livni said. The time has come that there should be one rabbi for one people, The time has some that Israel has one chief rabbi to unite all segments of Israeli society, [The time has come for] a rabbinate that will serve all religious sectors instead of a county that retains the separation of communities. It is possible to respect tradition in the house without separating religious authority,” she said.

Bennett chimed in, “This [bill] is an important step that symbolizes unity. The appointment of one rabbi is one of those subjects that raises the question, ‘Why wasn’t it done sooner?’ Today, when an Ashkenazi and Sephardi marry, there not two rabbis. Today, there is one army, and there are no separate positions for Ashkenazim or Sephardim.”

The idea sound so nice. All of the People of Israel will unite together, holding hands, dancing the hora and embracing each other with whole-hearted acceptance as a person and not as a “Sephardi” or “Ashkenazi.” Peace and love all wrapped up in a stewing pot of melted Jews.

Judaism has survived and blossomed since the 12 Tribes of Yaakov (Jacob) because of their unity as Jews and differences of character, personality and customs.

“One rabbi for one people” would discourage diversity. Obviously, a single chief rabbi would be an expert in different customs and would not issue a ruling that would violate a community’s customs. Sephardim would not be told to give up “kitniyot” for Passover and Ashkenazim would not start rising before dawn to recite Selichot prayers during the entire Hebrew month of Elul before Rosh HaShanah.

Regardless of whatever merits there may be to the bill, and despite probable enthusiasm from Israel’s leading secular media, the bill will have tough going.

Overcoming centuries of tradition in one Knesset session is a bit too much for Livni, the darling of dwindling leftist-center secular Israelis who did not vote for Yair Lapid and a villain to national religious Jews, including Bennett except for the one-rabbi bill. Bennett is riding a wave of secular support for his Jewish Home party, the inheritor of the old Mafdal crowd.

If the bill gets to the Knesset floor, it will provide lots of colorful copy for journalists. Shas will go berserk, and the United Torah Judaism party of Haredi Ashkenazi Jews will be able to sue Bennett for Livni for causing them a collective heart attack, God forbid.

Hamas Criticized Abbas for Condolences to Rav Yosef’s Family

Tuesday, October 8th, 2013

The Hamas terrorist organization has scolded Palestinian Authority  chairman Mahmoud Abbas for sending condolences to the family of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef.

Abbas sent his message of sorrow via 12 visiting Knesset Members who met with him in Ramallah. Abbas told them he has previously met with members of the revered rabbi’s family. One of Rabbi Yosef’s daughters, Adina Bar-Shalom, is a peace activist who was in a  group that met with Abbas last year.

Several years ago, the Palestinian Authority assisted  in the quick return of Rabbi Yosef’s Mercedes Benz, which had been stolen from his home.

New Sephardi Chief Rabbi Says ‘Learn Torah or Enlist in IDF’

Sunday, August 18th, 2013

Rabbi Yitzchak Yosef, newly elected Chief Sephardi Rabbi of Israel, said in a recent Torah lesson that he often threatened students in his yeshiva that they must enlist in the IDF if they did not learn Torah.

Delivering a “shiur” (Torah lesson} in Kfar Chabad, Rabbi Yosef said that youth who are not able to learn Torah or who are not committed to so should go into the army. He added that the army service should be in places where there is “fear of God” and that the would-be yeshiva students should not simply do guard duty.

He explained that Haredi soldiers have a duty to “strengthen” others; and cited one student who telephoned the rabbi to say that he delivered a shiur every day.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/new-sephardi-chief-rabbi-says-learn-torah-or-enlist-in-idf/2013/08/18/

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