Monday, March 19, 2007

The Face of the Generation

The Appointment Committee for Dayyanim met today and appointed fifteen new judges. Thirteen were hand picked by Rav Elyashiv. There is no question that he is a Godol ba-Torah. He also has a stated agenda, which includes: a) Abolition of the Heter Mekhira for Shemitta b) Emasculation of legitimate halakhic measures to free women whose abusive husbands keep them in thrall (One of his chosen dayyanim recently threatened to cancel a get retroactively, for a woman who's remarried and had children with the second husband. That, actually, causes a nine hundred year old Herem of Rabbenu Tam kick in. Cf. מרדכי סוף גיטין סי' תנ"ה. But then, who was Rabbenu Tam? ) c) To stop conversionin its tracks.

The truth is, I never understood Rav Elyashiv. He (and his community) never accepted the Heter Mekhira anyway. They don't use the Rabbanut courts anyway. They don't recognize Rabbanut conversions, anyway. So, why doesn't he just leave us alone?

Who wins from this? a) The Haredim, who just placed thirteen more people in high paying jobs. b) Reform and Conservative Judaism, who will now find it easier to inveigh against the Torah. c) The radical Hilonim, for the same reason.

Who loses? a) Agunot b) Potential Converts c) The agriculture industry d) Religious Zionism e) Modern Orthodoxy.

What's to be done? בדחילו ורחימו, it's time to set up non-governmental courts for Gittin, Conversion and to facilitate the Heter Mekhira. Create facts on the ground with the Talmide Hakhamim in our own ranks. The Rabbinate is now a branch of the Eda ha-Haredit. That's not the institution that was founded eighty years ago.


Anonymous said...

Rav Elyashiv is an outstanding individual. Go to one of his nightly shiurim on Rechov Admoni across from the Reb Ahrelach (Maariv, 7:45, then shiur). The shiur is largely pashut pshat, but "stuff" comes up. You will see a 90+ year old man, sharp as a tack (though hard of hearing). You get the impression of kulo Torah. It is an experience.

At the same time, he is frail, and is quite inaccessible. I believe the information which is filtered to and from him is unreliable.

Josh M. said...

d) Religious Zionism e) Modern Orthodoxy.

What are the primary differences between these two ideologies? (I was thinking of asking the same question on your comment on Friday's post regarding the difference between Modern Orthodoxy and Mizrachi Orthodoxy).


Anonymous said...

I think JRW is absolutely correct. Hopefully, now, everyone – not only non-religious -- will now understand that there should be a complete separation between “Church and State”. We can form much better rabbinical courts which can handle any halakhic problem. We can have much better Kashrut supervision. Who needs the chief rabbinate?!

Jeffrey said...

I want to make twopoints clear.

1) Rav Elyashiv is a Godol ba-Torah for whom I have the deepest respect, awe and admiration. I hope, IY"H, to take you upon your suggestion to go to his shiur.

2) My comments were NOT in favor of separating Judaism from the State. A Jewish State, by definition,must base its criteria of marriageability on Halakhah. The rabbanut, on the other hand, has outlived its usefullness.

Anonymous said...

Is there really MO or Miz O anymore, except in name?

Liebowitz predicted the haredi takeover years ago

Ben Bayit said...

most charedim - except for the extreme edah charedit - go to the rabbanut for divorces - they have to by law. perhaps you're confusing the arrangements that take place regarding marriages whereby certain haredi groups in certain cities can register their own maariages with the blessing of the local religious authorities. but as far as divorce goes - everyone goes - as the song says - on the steps of the rabbanut.
RZ/MO has to face the fact that the charedim are well organized politically and have their agenda. If we waste our time trying to abolish mitzvot such as mechiyat amalek or waste too much breath and effort on marginal issues such as more feminism in the shul, then we will soon find ourselves marginalized. A 25% dropout rate from religion (with perhaps now a 10% "intermarriage approval rate amongst MO/RZ) won't help things at all. And mass kiruv rechokim will not be the answer to that - the charedim do that just as well - if not better.

Anonymous said...

Good to see that yet another KBY alum has earned his frock with the recent appointment list.

Kol HaKavod!!

Ben Bayit said...

I wanted to add that your language re: "the face of the generation" is out of place. let's be honest - at the same time that the batei din have loaded up on charedi judges, the supreme court now has more religious judges than ever before. elyakim rubenstein has the traditional elitist ashkenazi seat, edmund levi is a nationalist sefardi religious jew, dvora berliner a religious woman in a temporary appointment, and now sefi elon, the son of menachem elon, in a temporary appointment (OK so he may not be so religious, but that's RZ for you - he's still one of "ours"). 1/4 of the seats or more are now religious.
Aha......but you will say.........they don't represent us, they end up accomodating the post-zionist world-view of the court (even edmund levy does on many occassions), so it doesn't count? ans - 1) that's MO/RZ for you - they are just ending up doing what MO/RZ "trained" them to do and 2) chinuch - maybe the charedim do it better when it comes to representing sectoral interests.
RZ can't have its cake and eat it to. It is no political position to demand 25% of the seats on the high court of justice and ALSO demand over 50% of the seats on the rabbinical courts (frankly, the number of talmidei chachamim in our camp doesn't justify that amount, irrespective of politics). The charedim went against the court, they refused the appointment of Dayan Dichovsky to the HCJ, and they focused on the rabbinical courts. I say good on them - wise political move. We missed the boat and ended up with the religious judges we ended up with on the HCJ for better or worse.
So I'm sorry - there may be things in Israel that cause the face of the generation to have the face of a dog, the dayanim appointments isn't one of them.

Anonymous said...

"What are the primary differences between these two ideologies?"

one is a religious attitude and one is a nationalist attitude.

the 2 don't always overlap. for example, i would not include certain hardal elements within mo

-ari kinsberg

Rav Yaakov Beasley said...

Dr. Woolf

Did you see Rav Rosen's article in Shabbat beShabbato last Shabbat about the steps to set RZ batei din (about time)? Maybe we should consider the 'privatization of the religious sphere' so we can build the institutions that true RZ/MO can be proud of.