Photo Credit: Jewish Press

“Write On,” Avi Ciment

Avi Ciment is spot on in his assessment that far too many people think that they can get away with breaking the law, both secular and religious (“G-d’s Timetable Isn’t Ours,” March 3). I’ll focus on the latter.


We learn from Purim that Hashem runs the world according to the principle of hester panim [“hiding His face”], and it’s our obligation to find His controlling hand amidst the apparent disfunction. But it’s not so easy because we do find wicked people who are thriving, while so many who are righteous struggle. And yes, we can point out that G-d settles all scores in the Olam HaEmes, but that concept is largely lost on the masses,

Many years ago I began giving a class in Perek Cheilek of Maseches Sanhedrin. I asked a fellow congregant if he’d like to attend. He asked me what the Gemara was about and I told him, “olam haba.” He answered, “I’m too busy with olam hazeh to worry about what comes after.” And such an attitude is not at all uncommon. I don’t profess to have a ready solution to the problem, but I applaud Mr. Ciment for broaching the subject, as I believe that Mashiach won’t come until we demonstrate to Hashem that we’re worthy of his arrival.

Dr. Yaakov Stern
Brooklyn, N.Y.


A Beardless And Hatless Rabbi

The caption underneath my photo that appears in the article on “The ‘Calling’ of a Rabbi” (March 10) reads “The author looking very rabbinic.” I feel obligated to concede that I would look much more rabbinic with a black hat and a beard that doesn’t even have to be black, not to mention payos. But what counts the most, of course, is what is beneath the hat, above the beard, and in between the payos, as applicable.

Rabbi Aaron Reichel, Esq.
Kew Gardens, N.Y.


Making the Israeli Supreme Court Democratic

Regarding “High Hopes for Change” (March 3):

There is no democracy in which the supreme court of the nation has more power than the one in Israel. That court can void laws passed by the legislature based only on their own philosophy. Since there is no constitution, their limit is only what they want the limit to be. In this case, the founding fathers of America had greater understanding than the founding fathers of Israel. In Israel, a move toward the American way is widely desired and was reflected in the last election, especially because of the rigidity of the legal system in dealing with the increase in Palestinian terrorism.

America is fortunate in that our constitution does set limits on each branch of the government. The checks and balances of our federal government prevent one branch of government from dominating the other branches. All the Netanyahu government wants is to move Israel’s judiciary into line with those of other democracies, like the United States, Canada, England and Germany. In these counties the courts may be powerful but do not operate as unchallenged rulers of the country.

Currently, the Israeli Supreme Court has unlimited power that they took for themselves, with the ability to perpetuate their liberal/leftist policies by naming their successors. This is something that Americans would not tolerate in our courts. Can you imagine our Supreme Court Justices picking their replacements with no presidential appointment or Senate approval needed? However, Netanyahu’s opponents have convinced their foreign allies that preserving such a system is essential to safeguarding democracy.

This is not so much an example of the lawful exercise of the right of the minority to dissent as it is an effort for elites, with the help of foreign allies, to overturn Netanyahu’s victory. Far from preserving Israel as a democratic state, they are asking Americans to help squelch Israeli democracy and preserve a true injustice in Israeli democracy.

If Netanyahu could appoint Supreme Court judges and have the parliament approve it, he would select people tough on terrorism and crime. This would save lives and reflect the last election results, in which terrorism and crime were issues that most people wanted improved, and gave him victory. This is the benefit of having a better democracy. As it is now, the Israeli Supreme Court can overrule the parliament and make military regulations illegal.

Charles Winfield
Princeton, N.J.


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