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Posts Tagged ‘Rav Ovadia Yosef’

Rav Ovadia Yosef Hospitalized

Sunday, September 22nd, 2013

Former Israeli chief rabbi and spiritual leader of the Shas party, Rav Ovadia Yosef, was taken to Hadassah-Ein Kerem Medical Center Saturday night following a deterioration of his medical condition, Kikar Hashabbat reports.

He was fully conscious during the ride to the hospital.

Over Shabbat Chol Hamoed, Rav Ovadia was not feeling well and did not go down from his apartment to his study hall. He prayed in a small minyan in his home instead. He also required a supply of oxygen and care from his personal physician, Dr. Yochanan Strassman, who is the director of the Hadassah-Mt. Scopus Hospital Unit for Rehabilitation and Geriatrics, and former director general of the National Insurance Institute.

Dr. Strassman conducted a consultation after the end of Shabbat, and reached the decision to hospitalize.

Rav Ovadia Yosef in Too Much Pain to Give Sat. Night Talk

Sunday, August 25th, 2013

The Shas Pary spiritual leader and one of the greatest poskim of our generation Rav Ovadia Yosef was reportedly in too much pain to be able to give his regular Saturday night shiur in his Jerusalem synagogue this week. This shiur has served countless times as a much covered podium from which Rav Ovadia lashed out at Arabs and Jews, most emphatically at the Jewish Home party.

At the end of Shabbat last night the Rav’s personal doctor was rushed to his bedside and he decided that the feisty orator should stay in bed.

Rav Ovadia has been suffering from side effects of the surgery he underwent a month ago.

His son, the recently elected Sephardi Chief Rabbi Yizhak Yosef, took his place teaching the class last night.

The Ravs circle is calling on every Jew to pray for the health of Ovadia ben Gor’jia.

Naftali Bennett’s Blackest Day

Thursday, July 25th, 2013

It’s official: to be a chief rabbi in Israel you have to be Haredi. Mind you, the group in Israel that most openly and brazenly ignores the chief rabbinate (other than the Arabs) are the Haredim, who rely exclusively on their own religious court system and their own kosher supervision.

The only interest Haredim have in the chief rabbinate are the jobs.

So it turns out that the National Religious public, who actually abide by the chief rabbinate’s ruling and eat their hechsherim – is not good enough to run the thing. And secular Israelis, who barely tolerate the rabbinate and have zero interaction with Haredim – they, too, must obey Haredi rulers.

This complete defeat of the National Religious took place while Jewish Home was not only a senior member in the coalition government, but they had possession of the Ministry of Religious Services. How do you lose the vote—both votes, really—when it’s your office in charge of it?

This was an outright failure of Jewish Home and its chairman, Minister of Religious Services Naftali Bennett.

The Sephardi National Religious favorite, Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, was not my personal choice. But his loss, 49 votes to Rabbi Yosef’s 68, is a major disappointment to many on the right. I could live with it, there was a huge leftist campaign against Rabbi Eliyahu, I could understand his loss.

But for Rabbi David Stav, head of Tzohar, an organization whose mission is to make religious services more available and palatable to the public at large in Israel, for him to have lost by 55 to 68 votes, means there were 68 voters in the body that includes 150 mayors, city rabbis, rabbinic judges and a handful of women, that the Haredi establishment was able to secure.

Now, I have no doubt in the wisdom and scholarship of both winners. I also think they would work hard to open up the rabbinate to the needs of secular Israelis, who have been greatly alienated by the public image of corruption and bureaucracy associated with the rabbinate. I’m a huge fan of Rabbi Lau’s father, former Chief Rabbi Israel Lau, and I admire the scholarship (but not the shenanigans) of Rabbi Yosef’s father, Rav Ovadia Yosef.

So, I for one, could live nicely with these two choices, although many of my National Religious friends are grimacing tonight.

But as a test of the political skills of Naftali Bennett and his Knesset team – it’s a big, fat F. And at a time when we’re going to need them the most, as the dark clouds of a Palestinian state are starting to gather above our heads – this was not fun to watch. At this point my personal confidence in Minister Naftali Bennett’s ability to throw his political weight around, twist arms, issue quiet threats, intimidate and punish the enemy, all the stuff a political representative I send to the Knesset must do – not great.

Bennett was supposed to win this one. He had the power base. How did MK Aryeh Deri and his band of merry Haredim take his lunch money so skillfully?

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.

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.”

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?

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/new-chief-rabbi-appointment-pitting-bennett-against-lapid/2013/04/19/

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