Oct 29, 2008

who is "their" rabbi?

Thank you for all the responses to my previous questions about voting "al pi" rabbonim. There were some good explanations in there...

My next question is why people ask who the rabbinic authorities are behind a candidate or behind a party? For example, why ask what rabbis CHEN or TOV consult with, or which rabbis support CHEN or TOV?

After all, what really do I care? If I am considerign voting for CHEN or TOV, and if I want rabbinic approval for doing so, it does not matter to me who the rav of the party is. It matters to me if my rav says it is ok or not. So I should go to my rav and say, I am considering voting CHEN or TOV and want to know if halchically it is ok. The rav will say yes or know based on his daas torah or whatever, and then I will have my rabbinic answer.

But why does it matter to anybody who somebody else's rav is?

Another example - if I want to vote gimmel, I have a dilemma. Rav Kornfeld (and others) says vote Gimmel, but Rav Goldstein says vote Shas (or whatever he might say). So which rabbi is more important?

So if one of the two rabbis is my rabbi, or I am closer with, I would likely follow his opinion over th eother's. But let's say neither are my rabbi - now which rabbi do I listen to? They are both big rabbis in the neighborhood, and if my own rabbi is not good enough and I have to know which rabbi supports a specific party, how do you deal with some rabbis supporting one party and others supporting other parties? If I am not just looking to my rabbi for an answer, but need to know who "their" rav is, how do I ever know how to vote?


  1. Rabbis are for checking bedika cloths and ruling Shulchan Aruch.

    they have no business, certianly no authority, to pasken who to vote for.


  2. What if you ask REK or RMG should you vote chen or tov, and he asks you who is their rabbi? Then you would need to know so you can supply the tov with the correct info so he can make his decision.

    I dont think that REK or RMG would blindly tell you vote gimmel. What if a sefardi guy who davens in sefardi shuls and kids goto sefardi schools asks him who to vote for. I would think the ans is shas.

    Moreover, when Rav shach started degel and broke away from agudah, he was very nervous that first year about gettign enough votes to get into the knesset. However when a chassidishe avreich asked him who to vote for, being that he is chassidishe and follows the chassidim, but knows RS needs his vote -- rav shach said thank you but you need to vote for the party that helps you, which in his case is agudah

    So again, I think you seriously misrepresent and underestimate the clarity of thought of the rabbonim. Like in piskei halacha, piskei hanhaga, and eitzos have specifics which might be different for individuals than for the klal

  3. Who you vote for can be your own decision, but I think you'd agree, that you want your leaders to have some spiritual guidance, some one to turn to for advice. This does not mean that the rabbi is pulling the puppet strings, but is there for advice on the sticky issues which can arise.

  4. 10:28 - I hear you. good answer.

    10:34 - yes, but let's say in the case of TOV, we all know who the individual rabbonim are. you saw the bios - you know the guy who davens by Aish Kodesh has the P Rebbe as his rav, the guy who davens at Beis Tefilla has Rav M as his rav, the guys who daven at Mevakshei and Bais Avraham have Rav Y as their rav, etc. In teh case of CHEN we know they turn to Rav David as their rav.

    So the question of do they have rabbonim they turn to for guidance is used as more of a way knocking them down and saying those rabbonim are not good enough, or not big enough to sway me.

  5. rafi in response to 1034 --

    Just knowing who their rov is, is not enough, in my opinion. You need to have the Rov backing them fully, and you need to have them out in the open proclaiming to be following their rov. Otherwise, they dont listen to rabbonim, they just do what they wnt, and if a rov agrees, great, and if not, well I dont have a rov i listen to all the time, just take eitza from. Also, each person has a different Rov. I think it would help their cause to have either one rov that they turn to, or a panel of 3 rabbonim that are the rabbinic board of tov. Otherwise the rabbinic advisors are just as random as the people on the list

  6. Here is a timeless and profound article by Moshe Feiglin on this topic. Thoroughly worth a read.

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. in response to feiglins article, the part i was able to read before i got turned off to his self richeous tone, and anti everyone else --

    Although Gd gave us a brain and the ability to distinguish between good and evil, some issues are bigger than we are and we need to know how the Torah defines right and wrong. Not every tom dick and harry has that ability. Would you decide a complex military move on your own? Or would you rely on competant authorities? If you wouldnt rely on them, i hope for the army's sake, youre not a soldier there.

    Would you blindly follow any medical advise when the experts in the field are available to consult?

    The gedolei yisroel are experts in their field(s). They are experts in Jew Law, in learning, in middos tovos, in hashkafa, and yes, in LIFE.

  9. "The gedolei yisroel are experts in their field(s). They are experts in Jew Law, in learning, in middos tovos, in hashkafa, and yes, in LIFE."

    Unfortunately, sometimes they think that they are experts in areas that they aren't. That is where the problems begin. Just ask R.N. Slifkin about some of the "gedolim" who wrote against him.

  10. Without rehashing the whole slifkin debate, the gedolim who came out against him feel that he is not qualified to dscuss these issues. If you choose to ignore their stance that they are experts, thats your business, the same way you can choose to ignore any expert Drs advice. But the fact that you disagree, doesnt take away from their expertise, does it?

  11. anon 5:13:

    Remember SAT analogies?

    Gedolim:Science = Homeopathists:Medicine

    I don't disagree with their expert opinion; rather, I contest the claim that they even have an expert opinion.

  12. Hey m.d., Wrong equation.
    Gedolim:Chareidi Society = Sociologists:Society

  13. Anonymous said...
    Rabbis are for checking bedika cloths and ruling Shulchan Aruch.

    they have no business, certianly no authority, to pasken who to vote for.

    Quite a disgraceful thing to say! A bit of kovod cahchomim would do you a lot of good. your comment does not deserve an answer however since you are most likely just an ignorant oleh I will explain.
    From what I've seen of our rabonim is that they are the first to be approached when one has problems of chinuch anf family issues and therefore they definately have a right and duty to tell pepole what to vote for if the other partys are going to have a adverse affect on their children or ruchnius.
    I for one would no way vote for a mayor who wants to place the ma"r in the middle of a charedi area.


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