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Caracas, Venezuela - Venezuelan Chief Rabbi Says 'Time To Be Silent' Over Chávez Death

Published on: March 6, 2013 02:49 PM
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Rabbi Brener is the chief Rabbi and is affiliated with the Unión Israelita de Caracas an Orthodox Jewish org.Rabbi Brener is the chief Rabbi and is affiliated with the Unión Israelita de Caracas an Orthodox Jewish org.

Caracas, Venezuela - In an interview with The Tablet ( http://bit.ly/XqJR6J) just hours after the news of Hugo Chávez’s death, a Venezuelan rabbi familiar with Chávez said that now is the “time to be silent” when remembering the deceased leader.

“One should respect the dead,” said Rabbi Pynchas Brener. “And, after a few days, we should evaluate the meaning of Chávez to the Jewish community.”

Rabbi Brener is the chief Rabbi and is affiliated with the Unión Israelita de Caracas an Orthodox Jewish org., and is extraordinarily familiar with Chávez’s rule, during which over 50 percent of Venezuela’s Jews fled the country.

When asked to comment on the deluge of commentary immediately following the announcement, Rabii Brener replied, “Do you know the Torah?”

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Brener alluded to the story of Aaron, recalling the phrase, “And Aaron was silent…”

“When death occurs,” continued Rabbi Brener, “maybe we should express condolence, especially his parents who are both living. For parents to lose a child is a terrible thing. Right now is a time to be silent and let time go by and then maybe think about the meaning of Chávez to the Jewish community.”


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Read Comments (22)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Mar 06, 2013 at 03:12 PM victorg Says:

Prudent well conceived reply. Kidush Hashem

2

 Mar 06, 2013 at 03:29 PM Anonymous Says:

“maybe we should express condolence, especially his parents who are both living. For parents to lose a child is a terrible thing. Right now is a time to be silent and let time go by and then maybe think about the meaning of Chávez to the Jewish community.”

3

 Mar 06, 2013 at 03:30 PM yaakov doe Says:

The rabbi is right. Thoughtless comments may harm the Yiddin that live in Venezuela.

4

 Mar 06, 2013 at 03:37 PM Anonymous Says:

Finally a Torah lesson we can all enjoy. A very good lesson and a true rabbinic blessing. We must not attack the lost time of a dead person no matter what his role was in our future.

5

 Mar 06, 2013 at 03:39 PM AlbertEinstein Says:

What he really means is "siyag lachochemah shesika."

6

 Mar 06, 2013 at 03:50 PM Anonymous Says:

This Rabbi speaks like a talmid chacham.

7

 Mar 06, 2013 at 03:55 PM CampRunamok Says:

בנפול אויבך, אל תשמח

'Nuff said!

8

 Mar 06, 2013 at 05:37 PM Erlich Says:

Reply to #7  
CampRunamok Says:

בנפול אויבך, אל תשמח

'Nuff said!

Tanach also says: "Ba'Avod Resha'im Reena." Chavez was a Rasha, who instigated much anti-Semitism against Venezuela's Jews, as Haaretz newspaper reports. I am shocked that the rabbi can quote a Pasuk about Aharon being silent, which refers to the death of his children who were Tzadikim. The Pasuk does not refer to Chavez who was an outright Rasha. As Jews outside of Venezuela, why are we silent about this evil man, when prominent people in the U.S. are condemning him.

9

 Mar 06, 2013 at 04:33 PM Benny Says:

One more Rasha is gone
Thank you Hashem
We have few more to go

10

 Mar 06, 2013 at 04:37 PM Pipk11 Says:

Im not sure I agree with the Rabbi. If Hitler died and his parents where alive do we also stay quiet??? Aron children where bikroivai Akadesh -- they where close to Hashem. This behaima was terrible to a free society, the civilized world and the Jewish people.

11

 Mar 06, 2013 at 05:15 PM Melofsky Says:

The Rabbi's comments are in line with Halacha, that one must not dishonor or speak ill of the dead. However, on VIN news, in a prior story yesterday, there were scores of postings which gloated over Chavez's demise. Such despicable postings endanger the welfare of our brethren in Venezuela.

12

 Mar 06, 2013 at 05:50 PM Reb Yid Says:

Reply to #10  
Pipk11 Says:

Im not sure I agree with the Rabbi. If Hitler died and his parents where alive do we also stay quiet??? Aron children where bikroivai Akadesh -- they where close to Hashem. This behaima was terrible to a free society, the civilized world and the Jewish people.

Yes--if the Nazis were still in power and the sword of Damocles was still hanging over the Jews in that country, r"l.

13

 Mar 06, 2013 at 05:51 PM ShmuelG Says:

Of course the rabbi has to be silent: he realizes that the vile man is being replaced by his handpicked successor and things may or may not improve for Jews in that savage country with the vile man's welcome death. But we are fortunate to not need to be constrained by the same consideration and have no problems expressing our happiness that our enemy is dead.

14

 Mar 06, 2013 at 06:38 PM Crazykanoiy Says:

Bavod Rishoim Rina! Rejoice! Chavez is dead. This Rabbi is being politically correct. This has nothing to do with Aharon Hakohen. Chavez allied himself with Ahmadinejad. Chavez hated Jews. Chavez hated America. Chavez publicly embarrassed our sitting President. It is good to see him go. Enjoy the moment!

15

 Mar 06, 2013 at 07:00 PM qazxc Says:

Any expression of joy over Chavez's death anywhere could spell trouble back home.

I assume the Rabbi is better informed than we are and I hope we will all treat his advice as a request and take heed with our words.

True we live in a free country but we also live in a dangerous world and we are often held responsible for each others words and deeds.

Chochom ainav berosho.

16

 Mar 06, 2013 at 07:13 PM MaverickThinker Says:

This rabbi is the closest thing Klal Yisroel has to boots on the ground in Venezuala right now. While he is asking at least his community to be passive politically during these days, the least that us outsiders can do is not to make things difficult for him and hIs Jewish countryman.

17

 Mar 06, 2013 at 11:02 PM Canadian Says:

Reply to #8  
Erlich Says:

Tanach also says: "Ba'Avod Resha'im Reena." Chavez was a Rasha, who instigated much anti-Semitism against Venezuela's Jews, as Haaretz newspaper reports. I am shocked that the rabbi can quote a Pasuk about Aharon being silent, which refers to the death of his children who were Tzadikim. The Pasuk does not refer to Chavez who was an outright Rasha. As Jews outside of Venezuela, why are we silent about this evil man, when prominent people in the U.S. are condemning him.

Agree. The Rabbi may be right for a Jew living in Venezuela now it might be wise to remain quiet but to quote the reason as "vayidom Aharon" is wrong. Aharon HaKohen was responding to the tragedy of his sons passing without questioning Hashem. In this case where a Rasha has passed perhaps more appropriately "binfol oivecha al tismach".

18

 Mar 06, 2013 at 11:36 PM bigwheeel Says:

Reply to #10  
Pipk11 Says:

Im not sure I agree with the Rabbi. If Hitler died and his parents where alive do we also stay quiet??? Aron children where bikroivai Akadesh -- they where close to Hashem. This behaima was terrible to a free society, the civilized world and the Jewish people.

As much as some of us may dislike Hugo Chavez' politics, he can not be put in the same league as hitler yms"h.

19

 Mar 07, 2013 at 12:38 AM I_Am_Me Says:

Reply to #13  
ShmuelG Says:

Of course the rabbi has to be silent: he realizes that the vile man is being replaced by his handpicked successor and things may or may not improve for Jews in that savage country with the vile man's welcome death. But we are fortunate to not need to be constrained by the same consideration and have no problems expressing our happiness that our enemy is dead.

Being that its almost Pessch, you don't need to look to hard to realize that is NOT what Hashem wants. In fact, the question is why are we prohibited to say a full Hallel on Pesach? And the answer is because even though we are happy we were freed we are NOT allowed to be happy that Hashems other nation died. You may ask how is it the Egyptians died & yet they are still here. However, by asking that you already have your answer. Because Chavez was still Hashems child (as were whatever Egyptian died at yam sof, since not all were even there) so no we are NOT allowed to be happy over his death.

20

 Mar 07, 2013 at 12:05 PM ShmuelG Says:

Reply to #19  
I_Am_Me Says:

Being that its almost Pessch, you don't need to look to hard to realize that is NOT what Hashem wants. In fact, the question is why are we prohibited to say a full Hallel on Pesach? And the answer is because even though we are happy we were freed we are NOT allowed to be happy that Hashems other nation died. You may ask how is it the Egyptians died & yet they are still here. However, by asking that you already have your answer. Because Chavez was still Hashems child (as were whatever Egyptian died at yam sof, since not all were even there) so no we are NOT allowed to be happy over his death.

Nonsense. Many mitzrim were not directly guilty of persecuting the Jews, but the nation as a whole was. (Just like many of us are innocent of voting for Hussein, but America as a whole elected the rasha, to its own detriment). So many not directly guilty ones perished in kriyas Yom Suf, yet we still say Hallel, just skip two thillim. Not so with Chavez, yimach shmo. All of him was guilty of atrocities, and of hating Jews and America (if you noticed, those two go together: the world leaders who are pro-American, such as Berlusconi, Harper, Aznar, are also pro-Jews, the ones who are anti-American, for example Putin, Cretin (I know that's not how it's spelled), Zapatero, are also antisemitic, and same tendency for simple folks). So there is no reason to restrain our happiness. B'avoid r'shoyim rina!

21

 Mar 07, 2013 at 12:35 PM OPElly Says:

Reply to #19  
I_Am_Me Says:

Being that its almost Pessch, you don't need to look to hard to realize that is NOT what Hashem wants. In fact, the question is why are we prohibited to say a full Hallel on Pesach? And the answer is because even though we are happy we were freed we are NOT allowed to be happy that Hashems other nation died. You may ask how is it the Egyptians died & yet they are still here. However, by asking that you already have your answer. Because Chavez was still Hashems child (as were whatever Egyptian died at yam sof, since not all were even there) so no we are NOT allowed to be happy over his death.

While I agree with the sentiment behind the midrash you cite, the real reason we don't say full Hallel on Pesach--after the first day/two days of yom tov--is more pragmatic. It's because there's no change in the korbanot musaf. On Sukkot, when there is a different koban musaf each day, each day requires a full Hallel.

If the midrash were the real reason, it seems to me we wouldn't say full Hallel on the first day(s) of Pesach either.

22

 Mar 07, 2013 at 01:39 PM BlueWindow Says:

I think the fact that he remains silent about Chavez' death (and has nothing good to say about him) is telling enough.

I suppose, it is not only about his anti-semitic quirks, but also about his economic policy. Probably the jewish community in Venezuela suffered a lot from the price-fixing policies in commerce...

23

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