No one knows whether the Sephardic Chief Rabbi, R. Shlomo Amar, will succeed in neutralizing the Sherman ruling. In the interim, the lives of close to one hundred thousand people are in turmoil. The converts don’t know if they are Jewish. Their spouses don’t know if they are married. Their children don’t know if they are Jewish. The latter’s children (and their prospective spouses) don’t know if they are Jewish and/or getting married. So much for Haredi awareness of the fact that, on forty eight separate occasions, the Torah commands that one love the convert and forbids one to hurt him or her. (Uri Urbach has an important take on the larger context of the issue, here.)
In the interim, Tzohar has published a statement supporting Rav Druckman and excoriating the Sherman Psak in the strongest terms. Signed by 80 Religious Zionist Rabbis (including this writer), it is a strong response and a big Kiddush HaShem. In a parallel report, YNet highlighted R. Aharon Lichtenstein's impassioned words at last week's conference. As reported (accurately, I was there) by YNet:
"כמה שנאה, כמה טינה, כמה עוינות יש בפסק הדין האיום והנורא הזה", אמר הרב ליכטנשטיין, "במערך הגיור ישנם דיינים יראי שמים ותלמידי חכמים אשר השקיעו את מרצם וחייהם למען התורה. אי אפשר לדחוק אותם ולזרוק אותם לרחוב". לדבריו, "בנקודה הזאת צריכים להיות תקיפים. אסור להשלים עם הסגנון הזה ועם הגישה... היכן שמענו או ראינו כי כל הסומך על מיעוט הפוסקים, בניגוד לדעה הרווחת, אפיקורס במזיד יקרא? אוי לאוזניים שכך שומעות ואוי לבית דין מגמתי שכזה אשר כך התבטא". "כמה שנאה, כמה טינה, כמה עוינות יש בפסק הדין האיום והנורא הזה", אמר הרב ליכטנשטיין, "במערך הגיור ישנם דיינים יראי שמים ותלמידי חכמים אשר השקיעו את מרצם וחייהם למען התורה. אי אפשר לדחוק אותם ולזרוק אותם לרחוב". לדבריו, "בנקודה הזאת צריכים להיות תקיפים. אסור להשלים עם הסגנון הזה ועם הגישה... היכן שמענו או ראינו כי כל הסומך על מיעוט הפוסקים, בניגוד לדעה הרווחת, אפיקורס במזיד יקרא? אוי לאוזניים שכך שומעות ואוי לבית דין מגמתי שכזה אשר כך התבטא".
On the other side of the issue, the Post report included an interesting fact:
However, Sherman received backing from the haredi rabbinic establishment. For instance, Rabbi Avraham Dov Levine, who heads an independent rabbinical court based in Jerusalem that specializes in determining Jewish genealogical trees (yihus) in the haredi community for couples before marriage, claimed in an interview this week on Radio Kol Hai that the vast majority of converts converted by Druckman's authority did not adhere to Halacha after the conversion. Therefore, this was proof the conversions were not valid.
I was not aware of R. Levine's existence until last week. It was then that a colleague called my attention to a decision issued by R. Levine, when he served as chief marriage registrar of the Jerusalem rabbinate (פסקי בתי הדין הרבניים, תיק תקכ"א שעל ידי בית דין מס' 126, תש"ס).
A girl came to the Rabbinate to register to marry. Her mother had been married to a young man who was killed in the Yom Kippur War, when his tank took a direct hit. No physical remains were found, though shreds of clothing were identified as belonging to him. Based upon this and the military reports, the Army Rabbinate declared him to have died and issued a certificate that the young widow was free to remarry. After some time she did so, and the young lady in question was the child of the second marriage. Twenty-Seven years later, she came before Rabbi Levine to receive the required documentation that would allow her to marry.
R. Levine reexamined the Army Rabbinate's decision and disqualified it. He argued that the latter had not elicited sufficient evidence of the soldier's death. Hence, the wife was a safeq Eshet Ish and her daughter a safeq mamzeret. He informed the stunned girl that she was unable to marry. The only out that he offered was that if she were to represent the case to a 'God fearing Bet Din'
(בית דין ירא שמים), she might find relief and be able to marry.
Now, anyone who knows anything about Halakha knows that one NEVER reopens the case of an Aguna, who was freed by a recognized Bet Din, certainly not a quarter of a century later.
One never creates the circumstance to create mamzerim.
Why did he do this? He did this because he is part of what, to my shame as a proud Litvak, religious commentators are terming the 'Litaliban.' He cares not for anything but the supererogatory demands of his tiny coterie. Otherwise, how does this charlatan dare to term the military Rabbinate's Bet Din as not being 'God fearing'? Was he ever in a tank? Did he ever suffer the heat of battle? Does he know the circumstances of what type of remains one might expect to find in a burning tank? [By contrast, as described by R. Benny Lau, Rav Ovadia Yosef sat with military experts to determine the realities of battle, locked himself in a room with the outstanding cases of missing soldiers, and found solid halakhic reasons to release over 1,000 agunot! Evidently, the spiritual heir of R. Isaac Elhanan Spector, the Rov of Kovna who was famous for helping agunot, was born in Baghdad. The Lithuanians have, it would appear, dropped the ball.]
So, the inclusion of R. Levine in this story indicates that conversion is but the tip of the iceberg. This cabal is out to totally destroy the non-Hareidi rabbinate, and it does not care how many lives it destroys in the process.
תורה תורה חיגרי שק