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Israel - Charedi Rabbi Elyashiv Slams Approval of Conversion Bill

Published on: January 25, 2011 11:19 AM
By:  Haaretz
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Israel - Leading Haredi Rabbi Yosef Elyashiv published a letter on Tuesday criticizing his counterpart Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef’s approval of conversions officiated by the Israel Defense Forces, calling all those converted by the state gentiles.

“Everyone knows that there gentiles do not intend to take upon themselves a thing from the essence of the religion, neither the Sabbath, kashrut nor family purity laws. And everyone knows…. That the gentiles do not intend to embrace Judaism,” Elyashiv wrote in a letter signed by 17 ultra-Orthodox rabbis.

“We turn to everyone who can stop this terrible desecration, and to close the divider that has been breached,” the letter wrote.

The letter did not mention Rabb Ovadia’s name, but the letter was concluded with a statement directed at him saying “may the blessed lord place wisdom in the hearts of the misguided.”

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Yosef, a former chief military rabbi himself, said following his ruling that his decision was informed by his own knowledge and experience with the military rabbinate.

Under current practice, Israel recognizes only conversions performed by Orthodox rabbis inside Israel, but people converted by non-Orthodox rabbis outside the country are automatically eligible for Israeli citizenship like other Jews. The legislation would give Israel’s chief rabbinate the legal power to decide whether any conversion is legitimate.

The group most likely to suffer would be immigrants who converted to Judaism abroad and could now be denied Israeli citizenship.


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1

 Jan 25, 2011 at 11:44 AM DavidMoshe Says:

Maybe the opposing sides and various rabbis should actually meet and discuss this, instead of having their embarrassing and juvenile arguments on rival posters printed up by their askanim. And maybe the askanim could find honest work, instead of following rabbis around and stirring up trouble.

2

 Jan 25, 2011 at 11:49 AM MIESQ Says:

This is quite perplexing. The Gedolei HaDor who signed are people of genuine caring and Ahavat Yisrael who are careful with their words. But then again, so is Chacham Ovadiah?
Please G-D let there be peace in the tents of Torah and these titans of Torah arrive at common ground.

3

 Jan 25, 2011 at 12:03 PM reb yona Says:

"The group most likely to suffer would be immigrants"

typical Ha'aretz bias reporting. they could've put this in a more positive manner by stating that "the group most likely to benefit would be klal yisroel.
besides the point that i don't get the problem here at all. if the whole issue it to give them israeli citizenship, let them pass a law that whoever serves in the army will be granted citizenship. why the need to mess with this whole geiros issue?

4

 Jan 25, 2011 at 12:13 PM AlbertEinstein Says:

Of course, it's the usual printed Macha'ah (which anyone can print these days), with all the Rabbonim's printed names but not a single signature.

And, in fact, since it is pretty easy to photoshop a signature, how can one validate any of these macha'os?

5

 Jan 25, 2011 at 12:13 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #1  
DavidMoshe Says:

Maybe the opposing sides and various rabbis should actually meet and discuss this, instead of having their embarrassing and juvenile arguments on rival posters printed up by their askanim. And maybe the askanim could find honest work, instead of following rabbis around and stirring up trouble.

Well said.

6

 Jan 25, 2011 at 12:16 PM Bigboy Says:

Reply to #1  
DavidMoshe Says:

Maybe the opposing sides and various rabbis should actually meet and discuss this, instead of having their embarrassing and juvenile arguments on rival posters printed up by their askanim. And maybe the askanim could find honest work, instead of following rabbis around and stirring up trouble.

Its a shame you're not a askan! (or maybe you are but not in Israel)

7

 Jan 25, 2011 at 12:23 PM raykaufm Says:

Reply to #3  
reb yona Says:

"The group most likely to suffer would be immigrants"

typical Ha'aretz bias reporting. they could've put this in a more positive manner by stating that "the group most likely to benefit would be klal yisroel.
besides the point that i don't get the problem here at all. if the whole issue it to give them israeli citizenship, let them pass a law that whoever serves in the army will be granted citizenship. why the need to mess with this whole geiros issue?

Because granting citizenship to non-Jewish immigrants would compromise Israel's status as a Jewish State.

8

 Jan 25, 2011 at 12:46 PM skvererebbe Says:

rab. ovadya over 90 verses rab. ovadya in the past who clearly held the same posit. in this matter as the ones mentioned on the poster ! so i see the poster only as a frendly reminder for r. ovadya ( or to the askanim around him....)

9

 Jan 25, 2011 at 12:49 PM JamesDean Says:

This is hard for me to understand. There was a deal made that all issues related to Geirus would fall under the jurisdiction of R' Shlomo Amar. What happened to that?

10

 Jan 25, 2011 at 12:53 PM G-Bro Says:

Reply to #1  
DavidMoshe Says:

Maybe the opposing sides and various rabbis should actually meet and discuss this, instead of having their embarrassing and juvenile arguments on rival posters printed up by their askanim. And maybe the askanim could find honest work, instead of following rabbis around and stirring up trouble.

#1-you are completely right. I am getting sick and tired of the Askanim stirring things up-lets have a forum where the gedolim get together and discuss so that we have an idea of what's going on. We don't need miscommunication. Similarly, do you really think the gedolim support child abusers? Of course not! But when the Askanim manipulate the truth and distort info and then get gedolim to support them. It needs to stop.

11

 Jan 25, 2011 at 12:54 PM Anonymous Says:

Many of the names listed are Sephardic rabbanim. I am very skeptical that they all signed against Rav Ovadya.

12

 Jan 25, 2011 at 01:56 PM shari Says:

where are the chassidish gedolim- Ger, Belz...

13

 Jan 25, 2011 at 02:48 PM reb yona Says:

Reply to #12  
shari Says:

where are the chassidish gedolim- Ger, Belz...

you don't know where they are? why don't you buy the Kol Haolam Kilu or any other photo magazine where you'll see them on vacation or feering Tish etc. But when it comes to halacha they leave it up to talmidei chachumim to pasken

14

 Jan 25, 2011 at 02:50 PM reb yona Says:

Reply to #7  
raykaufm Says:

Because granting citizenship to non-Jewish immigrants would compromise Israel's status as a Jewish State.

for what good reason do we need it to be a "jewish state"? and what exactly will change if it becomes a "non-jewish state"?

15

 Jan 25, 2011 at 05:13 PM cowfy Says:

these goim are here.they live here they work here.they go into the army here.they don't go into shules to doven of course because they aren't jewish so no body expects them to observe shabbos or put on tfillin.whos kidding who and who will marry to them or there offspring? if this didnt give the rabbis overtime work to fiqure out yachasim it would be a laughing matter.

16

 Jan 25, 2011 at 05:32 PM HaNavon Says:

This is so immature....
Something tells me that anyone involved in such pashkevalin are not actually Gedolim. Can you imagine Hillel HaZakein doing this?!

17

 Jan 25, 2011 at 05:40 PM charliehall Says:

Reply to #9  
JamesDean Says:

This is hard for me to understand. There was a deal made that all issues related to Geirus would fall under the jurisdiction of R' Shlomo Amar. What happened to that?

In fact basically all halachic issues today get decided by Rav Amar, because Rav Metzger, the Ashkenazic Chief Rabbi, is not of sufficient stature to disagree. Yet it was Rav Elyashiv who pushed for Rav Metzger to get the post even though he was neither a posek nor a dayan.

18

 Jan 25, 2011 at 06:26 PM the reason is Says:

Reply to #11  
Anonymous Says:

Many of the names listed are Sephardic rabbanim. I am very skeptical that they all signed against Rav Ovadya.

Those sephardi rabbis are not so sefardi. They all vote for the ashkenaz party aguda and tell there talmidim to do so as well. They all respect rav ovadia but feel and want to obey the ashkenaz rabbanim. The reason for that is simply because they these rabbanim(r ades r hillel)all learned in panavitch under rav shach Z"L. Now you understand that these rabbis side with the litvocs and that's the reason why there name appears on that paper.

19

 Jan 26, 2011 at 06:07 AM jackr Says:

Reply to #3  
reb yona Says:

"The group most likely to suffer would be immigrants"

typical Ha'aretz bias reporting. they could've put this in a more positive manner by stating that "the group most likely to benefit would be klal yisroel.
besides the point that i don't get the problem here at all. if the whole issue it to give them israeli citizenship, let them pass a law that whoever serves in the army will be granted citizenship. why the need to mess with this whole geiros issue?

Because these men and women now live in Israel, served their country honorably and see themselves as Jews. They will meet up with your children and grandchildren and will want to build a Bayis Neeman B"Yisrael. Most of them are sincere in their desire to be Jewish and it is up to the Halachic process to decide how to define these immigrants who are in Israel to stay.

20

 Jan 26, 2011 at 10:51 AM FredE Says:

Reply to #7  
raykaufm Says:

Because granting citizenship to non-Jewish immigrants would compromise Israel's status as a Jewish State.

Why? Arent their plenty of non-Jewish citizens of the state? Arabs for example...

21

 Jan 28, 2011 at 06:32 AM Yerachmiel Says:

Reply to #17  
charliehall Says:

In fact basically all halachic issues today get decided by Rav Amar, because Rav Metzger, the Ashkenazic Chief Rabbi, is not of sufficient stature to disagree. Yet it was Rav Elyashiv who pushed for Rav Metzger to get the post even though he was neither a posek nor a dayan.

I agree with you Charlie. The election of Yonah Metzger as chief rabbi was a disgrace to a position that was held by true luminaries in the past. It was engineered by R. Elyashiv to control the rabbinat roshit while also reducing its stature. It was politics of the ugliest sort.

Most non-Jews in the army do not seek conversion. Of those that enter a long study program about 2/3 do not go through with conversion either because they have come to see this is not something they want to undertake or because the program sends the message that they are not going to persuade a beit din. Rabbi Yosef and Rabbi Amar may very well know what they are talking about when they say the rabbanut in the IDF is taking the necessary steps to assure that converts are sincere.

22

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