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February 1, 2015 / 12 Shevat, 5775
 
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Posts Tagged ‘Rav Ovadia Yosef’

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?

Ten of Thousands at Funeral of Son of Rav Ovadia Yosef

Sunday, April 14th, 2013

Tens of thousands of people participated Friday afternoon in the funeral procession of Rabbi Yaakov Yosef, the eldest son of Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, former Chief Rabbi of Israel and of the most influential rabbis in Israel.

Yaakov Yosef died Friday afternoon at the age of 66, succumbing to a long struggle with cancer, after being hospitalized at Hadassah University Medical Center in Jerusalem. He was buried in Jerusalem before the start of Shabbat.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu mourned the loss of Yosef, calling him “a great teacher and adjudicator of Jewish law who followed in the path of his father.

The Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel, Rabbi Yona Metzger, eulogized Yosef, saying his passing is “a great loss to the people of Israel, to the land of Israel, and to the world of halacha.”

Yosef, the rabbi of the Haredi Givat Moshe neighborhood in Jerusalem and of the Hazon Yaakov Yeshiva, was one of the most influential right-wing rabbis

New Netanyahu Coalition Govt All Cobbled and Ready, Maybe

Monday, March 18th, 2013

On Monday evening, the Knesset will host the swearing in ceremony for Israel’s 33rd government, and Benjamin Netanyahu’s third term—second consecutive—as prime minister (his first term ran from June 1996 to July 1999).

Immediately after the ceremony, Netanyahu will convene a brief cabinet meeting, with a toast. Then the bunch (22 ministers and 8 deputies) will travel to the presidential residence, for the traditional group picture.

The Knesset session will open with the selection of the Speaker of the House. It will likely be Likud MK Yuli Edelstein, who will replace the former Speaker, Reuven Rivlin, who wanted very much to continue in his post but, unfortunately, had committed the ultimate sin of criticizing the Prime Minister’s anti-democratic tendencies, not the kind of slight which Netanyahu’s wife Sara easily forgives.

As usual, Netanyahu never shared with Rivlin his plan to depose him. In fact, as far back as a year ago, he assured the popular Speaker—who is also closely associated with the Settlement movement—that he’d have his support for the post of President when Shimon Peres completes his 7-year term, 2014.

Yuli Edelstein’s life’s story is fascinating: Born in the Soviet Union to Jewish parents who converted to Christianity (his father is a Russian Orthodox priest), Edelstein discovered his Jewish connection through his grandparents. He studied Hebrew back when that was considered a subversive act, for which, in 1984, he was sent to Siberia (the charges were drug related, but everybody knew it was the Hebrew thing). He made aliyah with his wife, Tanya, served in the army, and entered politics, ending up in the Knesset in 1996. He has switched between several parties, until finally landing in the Likud, and has held several ministerial portfolios. And if he doesn’t catch Sara’s ire, he could become as memorable a Speaker as Rubie Rivlin.

But the biggest losers, without a doubt, are the Haredi parties, Shas and United Torah Judaism. They were almost literally kicked out by Yair Lapid, who stated openly that, should he be seen in the government group picture with the Haredim, his voters would abandon him. Surprisingly, Naftali Bennett, his newly found brother from a different father (Yair’s father, the late MK Tommy Lapid, was a true hater of the religion), supported the dubious position that, in order to truly help the Haredi public, government had to first be cleared of Haredi partners.

Shas, a party that depends completely on patronage for its very existence, is seething with anger over Bennett’s “betrayal.” It’s hard, however, to take seriously the victimized self-pity of Shas, whose spiritual father Rav Ovadia Yosef dubbed the Jewish Home party a “Goy Home.” Altogether, it appears that, perhaps counter intuitively, the National Religious leaders as well as the rank and file, have been harboring heaps of resentment against the Haredim. The Haredi slights of several decades, including their occupation of the Ministry of Religious Services and the Chief rabbinate, doling out jobs to Haredi officials who reigned over a population that looks nothing like them—those slighted chickens have been coming back to roost.

Take for instance Rabbi Hayim Drukman, who responded to both the Haredi pols and to Netanyahu, who accused the Lapid-Bennett axis of “boycotting” the Haredi parties. Rabbi Drukman Argued that “the Haredi public are the biggest boycotters, boycotting for years the Torah of the national religious public.”

“Any Haredi apparatchik who gets elected to the Knesset, immediately becomes a rabbi, while the real rabbis of the national religious public are noted in the Haredi press by their first names (without the title ‘Rabbi’). Is this not boycotting?” Rabbi Druckman wrote in the Saturday shul paper “Olam Katan.”

Inside Shas, the short knives have already been drawn and they’re aimed at MK Aryeh Deri, the former convict who came back from the cold to lead Shas into a glorious stalemate (11 seats before, 11 after).

“We were very disappointed in Deri,” a senior Shas pol told Ma’ariv. “He did not bring the votes he promised Rav Ovadia, there was no significant change in seats, and, in fact, Deri is responsible for our failure.”

In United Torah Judaism they also seem to regret their alliance with Shas, it’s highly likely that, in a few months, they’ll opt to enter the government without Shas.

Rav Ovadia Yosef: Lapid a Scoundrel who Hates the Yeshivas

Sunday, February 10th, 2013

After his attack on the Jewish Home, which he dubbed “Goyish Home,” Shas’s spiritual leader is going after Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid. In his Saturday night’s weekly sermon, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef lashed at the evil man Lapid.

In his weekly sermon, Rav Ovadia told the story of “a king who had one beloved minister he loved very much. He was a regular visitor at the king’s chamber, they conversed about security and the coalition and the opposition, the spoke about everything, and the minister would give him advice: ‘Don’t go with Lapid, he’s a scoundrel, he is, hates the yeshivas.’ He would advise him, give him advice.”

Rav Ovadia’s Sermon is part of Shas’s continued attempts to separate the Jewish Home party from Yair Lapid’s party. As you may recall, last Thursday Shas representatives apologized for their attack against Naftali Bennett and his “Goyish Home.” Shas is looking for ways to separate Bennett from Lapid.

The natural path to a Likud-led coalition that would deal effectively with many painful and pressing issues: severe budget cuts, equal burden legislation, and some deal with the Palestinians, goes through a pact with Yesh Atid and Jewish Home. The two blocks comprise 62 seats, and both Lapid and Bennett appear amenable to Netanyahu’s positions on all three topics.

In fact, if Shas is invited to join the coalition, it is sure to torpedo at least two out of three initiatives: budget cuts and equal burden, which would involve sending their own constituency to military service.

Except Netanyahu is not excited about achieving great success in partnership with Lapid or Bennett, either one of whom can overshadow him come next elections. He much prefers a do nothing government, with his two true rivals withering either in minor government posts or outside the coalition altogether.

In that sense, Rav Ovadia is not altogether wrong in his Saturday night tale about the loyal Shas adviser and King Bibi.

The only course open at the moment for Bennett and Lapid is to stick together and stick to their guns in talks with Netanyahu (Jewish Home is scheduled to meet with the Likud-Beitenu team this week).

Rav Ovadia: Women who Wear Talit Are Transgressors

Sunday, February 3rd, 2013

The spiritual leader of the Shas movement, Rav Ovadia Yosef, on Saturday night attacked the women of the Reform movement who pray at the Kotel.

In his weekly post-Shabbat class, Rav Yosef said that women who wrap themselves in a talit transgress Jewish law: “There are those Reform, they come to the Western Wall clad in a talit. They’re not performing a mitzvah, they’re transgressing, because of ['A woman must not wear men’s clothing, nor a man wear women’s clothing, for the Lord your God detests anyone who does this' (Deut. 22:5)].”

Rav Yosef explained further that “Women are absolved of saying the Shma Israel – they needn’t make the blessing, much more so to wear a talit and make a blessing over it. A woman must not wear men’s clothing – if she puts them on, she transgresses. Women, even righteous ones, do not put it on.”

A 2001 Knesset law says that “no religious ceremony shall be held in the women’s section near the Western Wall that includes taking out a Torah scroll and reading from it, blowing the shofar, or wearing tallitot or tefillin. Violators shall be imprisoned for seven years.” But the law, as well as the 2004 Supreme Court decision that permitted women to pray as they wish at the Robinson Arch, next to the Kotel, did not refer to the actual wearing of talit as being contrary to Jewish law.

Rav Moshe Feinstein would side with Rav Ovadia’s opinion, based on his answer to the halachic inquiry (Igros Moshe – OC 4:49): “Can a woman wear a Talit? Answer: No. The Shulchan Aruch rules that it is Yuhara – religious arrogance (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 17:2). And if it is a Talit of men, there is a problem of Lo Tilbash – the prohibition of cross-dressing.” (source: ravaviner.com).

The Talmud (in Eruvin 96a) says that Michal, daughter of King Shaul and wife of King David, put on Tefillin. However, the Yerushalmi Talmud (B’rachot 2:3) says that the Sages objected to her practice.

As to the stories about Rashi’s daughters putting on teffilin, Ari Z. Zivotofsky, writing in the OU’s Jewish Action, suggests there is no evidence that Rashi’s daughters wore teffilin. Other sources say they may have, indeed, put on teffilin, but privately.

Rabbi Lior ‘Saddened’ by Rav Ovadia’s Attack on Jewish Home

Monday, January 21st, 2013

Senior rabbis of Religious Zionism, led by Rabbi Dov Lior, Rabbi Haim Druckman and Rabbi Chaim Steiner, on Monday signed a statement in which they respond to the hostile criticism made by Rav Ovadia Yosef, the most respected posek (rabbinic jurists) of our time and the spiritual leader of the Shas party, Srugim reported.

On Saturday night, Rav Ovadia attacked the Jewish Home party saying it was not the home of Jews but of goyim, and that religious Jews must not vote for this party.

The attack by Rav Ovadia followed a Srugim expose which stirred political and religious circles with the revelation that Ayelet Shaked, number 5 on the Jewish Home list, supports civil marriages for Jews who are unweddable according to the standards of Israel’s chief rabbinate.

In their Communiqué, the Religious Zionist rabbis avoid direct criticism of Rav Ovadia Yosef, stating only that they heard “regretfully the comments made in error about a large community of Israeli supporters of Jewish Home.”

The Rabbis noted that the supporters of the Jewish Home are “loyal to the Torah and the commandments and many have martyred themselves for the sake of Torah and for settling the Land of Israel.”

The rabbis further write that they “recognize and appreciate Jewish scholars who support Jewish Home.” They also state that Jewish Home has carved on its banner its dedication on behalf of the Torah of Israel in all areas of public life.

In addition to Rabbis Lior, Druckman and Steiner, the document was also signed by Rabbi Isser Klonsky, Rabbi Gideon Perl, Rabbi David Chai HaCohen, Rabbi Eliakim Levanon, Rabbi Michael Hershkowitz and Rabbi Shimon Cohen.

Netanyahu Wants Shas In, But without Deri

Monday, January 14th, 2013

Over the weekend, Shas leader Aryeh Deri, one of the architects of the “stinking maneuver” that back in 1990 attempted to take down a right-wing government in favor of one led by Shimon Peres, stared straight at the Channel 2 camera and invited Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to “pick up the phone and let’s negotiate right now a coalition government” together.

As it turns out, according to Walla, Netanyahu has been talking to Shas, but with Interior Minister Eli Yishai instead, behind Deri’s back.

When Aryeh Deri, having served his prison term for corruption charges, was imposed by Rav Ovadia Yosef on the two leaders of Shas, Yishai and Housing Minister Ariel Atias, common wisdom suggested that, sooner rather than later, Deri would emerge as the real party leader, the official water carrier for “Maran,” Rav Ovadia.

But, using the ancient tactic of divide and conquer, when Rav Ovadia had his minor stroke over the weekend, Netanyahu chose to send him his wishes for a speedy recovery not through Atias or Deri, but rather through Yishai.

Walla reports that Netanyahu and Yishai have been discussing “the day after” the January 22 elections, assuring him that the Interior portfolio will stay his, despite the fact that Avigdor Liberman, his co-leader at Likud-Beitenu, wants that ministry for his own faction.

And neither Netanyahu nor Yishai appear to include Aryeh Deri in their plans for the future.

Meanwhile, the Maverick Rabbi Amnon Yitzhak, has been suggesting that Rav Ovadia Yosef is not fully in charge at Shas. Obviously, Rav Ovadia’s condition has seriously deteriorated recently—Rabbi Yizhak has suggested, according to Walla, that he lost the hearing in one ear.

With two former Shas supporters, Rabbi Amnon Yizhak and Rabbi Haim Amsalem, running independent lists and splitting the Sephardi vote, Shas may end up without the goods needed to usher it into the next government.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/netanyahu-wants-shas-in-but-without-deri/2013/01/14/

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