Buy School Clothing Square New . . SodaStream (Soda-Club) USA.

Mar 18, 2009

Rav Bar Hayyim responds to Rav Ovadiah Yosef on the kitniyot issue

I was sent the following response, in Hebrew, written by Rav Bar Hayyim of Machon Shilo to Rav Ovadiah Yosef. The response in a response to ROY's recent declaration that ashkenazim must remain with the issur of kitniyot...

הרב דוד חנוך יצחק בר-חיים

בית הועד שליד מכון שילה, רח' הרב ישראל נג'ארה 34, ירושלים, יושלם בנינה במהרה



בשם השם א-ל עולם



יום שלישי כ"א אדר תשס"ט

(‏17/03/2009)





תגובת הרב דוד בר-חיים, ראש מכון שילה, לדבריו של הרב עובדיה יוסף שאין להתיר לאשכנזים לצרוך קטניות בפסח:



"דבר יודע ומפורסם כי הרב עובדיה יוסף סבור שכאשר האשכנזים החלו עולים לארץ ישראל לפני כ-220 שנה, היו צריכים לקבל על עצמם את מנהגי הספרדים שהיוו את כל היישוב היהודי בארץ ישראל באותה תקופה. בעבר נהג הרב יוסף לתת פומבי לדעתו זו. מסיבות של תקינות פוליטית – כלומר כדי לא לפתוח במלחמת עולם עם הממסד הרבני האשכנזי – החליט הרב יוסף להפסיק להשמיע דעתו זו.

לעצם הענין: גם פוסקים אשכנזיים רבים התנגדו למנהג אי-אכילת קטניות. כך כתב רבינו יעקב בן הרא"ש בעל הטורים: "ויש אוסרין לאכול אורז וכל מיני קטניות בתבשיל לפי שמיני חטין מתערבין בהן. וחומרא יתירא היא זו ולא נהגו כן" (או"ח תנ"ג).

הרב יוסף, כידוע, דוגל בפסקיו של השלחן ערוך. על דברי הטור הנ"ל הביא מחבר השלחן ערוך הרב יוסף קארו את הדברים הבאים: "גם רבינו ירוחם כתב אותם שנהגו שלא לאכול אורז ומיני קטניות מבושל בפסח מנהג שטות הוא, זולתי אם הם עושים להחמיר על עצמם. ולא ידעתי למה"(או"ח תנ"ג).

ועל כך הוסיף הגאון האשכנזי היעב"ץ: "וכמה פוסקים חושבים אותה לשטות ומנהג טעות שאין צריך אפילו חרטה והתרה...." (שם).

ידוע גם שבעקבות מלחמת יום הכיפורים, הרב יוסף ישב על המדוכה של התרת עגונות רבות, גם במקרים לא פשוטים להיתר. כשהרב יוסף רוצה, הוא יודע להתיר. אם אינו נוהג כן במנהג שטות כמו קטניות, אין זה משום שאינו יכול, אלא שאיננו רוצה. חוסר הרצון הזה נובע לדעתי לא מסיבות הלכתיות אלא מסיבות השקפתיות-פוליטיות".

טל: 02 651 7822 פקס: 02 653 5417 נייד: 0544 667 557 דוא"ל: harav@machonshilo.org



In English.... he basically says that even many ashkenazy poskim through the generations have called the minhag of not eating kitniyot to be a minhag shtus, and have rejected it. He brings specific examples, such as the Tur and the Yaavetz among others.

Rav Bar Hayyim says that Rav Yosef is famous for working hard to find hetterim to be mattir agunos after the Yom Kippur War. Rav Ovadiah knows how to find hetterim. If he does not do so in this case, which is a minhag shtut, it is not because he cannot find a hetter, but because he does not want to. This lack of will [to find a hetter], is not for halachic reasons but for hashkafic-political reasons.

I would really like to see Rav Ovadiah Yosef respond to this, but he will probably just ignore it.

54 comments:

  1. Rav Bar-Hayyim taking Rav Ovadia Yosef to task for a "hashkafic-political" motivated decision? Talk about the kettle calling the pot black!

    If anyone wants to disagree with the above this forum, I would appreciate an explanation, in pure halachik terms (i.e., not in "hashkafic-political" terms), of RB-H's explanation of his objection to keeping kitniyot based on it being part of the "galut mentality."

    I also find it disingenuous that RB-H cites ROY's past when it comes to heterim, but not when it comes to making pronouncements which may offend others. When has ROY ever withheld himself for fear of offending someone?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Ynet interviewed Rav Bar-Hayim this morning and published an article at http://www.ynet.co.il/home/0,7340,L-4403,00.html.

    Yoni, you misread the issue. It's not merely "galut mentality".

    It's an issue of minhag hamakom, i.e., the minhagim of Eretz Yisrael. The ashkenazim did not respect the minhag hamakom when they came to Eretz Yisrael about 150-200 years ago and were mistaken in importing this minhag rather than adopting the overwhelming prevalent custom. Rav Rabinovitch of Maalei Adumin said/admitted this in an interview in the Jerusalem Post last year.

    For an explanation in pure halachic terms, you can email Rav Bar-Hayim at harav@machonshilo.org. There is also a source sheet on the Machon Shilo website that contains the references that he would most likely cite. See www.machonshilo.org.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I find the tone of Rav Bar-Hayyim's letter troubling, and his arguements unconvincing. He cites selectively only, and attributes Rav Ovadia Yosef's psak to politics without citing anything to support this arguement; he only says that Rav Ovadia can find heterim if he wants to, so if he has not found one, it's not because he can't, but because he won't. This sounds more like a conservitive rabbi's opinion than that of a true Rav.

    ReplyDelete
  4. HaRav David Bar-Hayim is an immense talmid hacham-his reaction to HaRav Ovadiah Yosef is not a teshuva but cuts to the bottom line-were the great Ashkenazi rabbis who are cited by him as having deemed the minhag to be mistaken also somehow deviant?

    Anybody who wants to decide for himself regarding HaRav Bar-hayim's positions should go to www.machonshilo.org

    ReplyDelete
  5. Garnel IronheartMarch 18, 2009 7:52 PM

    Unfortunately nowadays the great Ashkenazic authorites are irrelevant. It's only the latest chumrah of the week that matters, not a sound knowledge of poskim and history.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Shame be unto us that we deal with such frivolous and insignificant matters instead of discussing real issues, such as Qorban Pesah and what to do with the glittery building which stands in place of our holy Beyth ha-Miqdash.

    We should thank Rav Dawidh bar-Hayyim for ridding us of such triviality and turning our focus on the important matters.

    ReplyDelete
  7. The Chazon Ish, Rav Kook, the Brisker Rav, Rav Shlomo Zalman etc were all following a minhag shtuth!

    Only Rabqi Buhr Hayyim can show you the true way- all else are stuck in galuth mentality-victims to politics!

    am I understanding (and spelling it) right?

    ReplyDelete
  8. To say: "what, did the Chazon Ish, Reb Shelomo Zalman, and so on observe a minhag shtut" is a sure-fire way to shut down critical thinking about the issue.

    In fact, this line of argument tends to shut down critical thinking about any number of important issues and provides a smoke-screen blanket justification to cling to the galut with both fists clenched.

    One kelipah says: "We can bring the "geulah" without Torah. We can do it with the power of our own hands." This is the kelipah of the left side. The kelipah on the right as it manifests in frum society says something like: "I'm just gonna sit on my rear end and wait for Mashiach to come and the Bet Hamikdash to fall out of the sky. Halilah to do anything."

    ReplyDelete
  9. If RBH can be so agressive in respone to ROY, perhaps we can allow ourselves to respond in kind.

    I think RBH is obsessed with the kitniyot issue. The result is a childish attitude toward the gedolei haposkim.

    To compare ROY's work in being matir agunot to the case of kitniyot is simplistic to say the least. There is, as far as I know, no existing minhag to leave agunot cases unsolved.

    RBH should calm down and enjoy his rice.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Ohr Bahir,

    So if I understand your point correctly, keeping the minhag of kitniyot in EY is not only pointless, it's one of the things holding up the ultimate geula?

    I take issue with the fact that living in EY, but not eating kitniyot on Pesach, is akin to living in chutz la'aretz.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I didn't say that not eating kitniyot in EY somehow gives one the status of living in Chu'L.

    For sure, someone may refrain from eating kitniyot if he or she pleases. That's not the point. The point is, the frum "party line" has tended to elevate what can be called minhag avot to such a degree that the capacity for even positive change in klal Yisrael is paralyzed.

    The truth is, most frum people are quite satisfied with their Judaism and think there's nothing that needs to change. Or, there may be some vague conception of something missing in Judaism, something not 100% right, but they resign themselves to the notion that there's not much anyone can do about it. That's Mashiach's job, and until then, the ultimate priority or focus is to preserve the status quo.

    To a large degree, this consciousness (or lack thereof) is something which a Jew living in EY can fall prey to as well. How this obstructs the geulah-- well, that's quite a long discussion, but certainly no one is saying that such a person might as well be living in Memphis, Tennessee.

    The kitniyot issue per se is really not all that significant in and of itself. Yet, it brings up issues which are very important for klal Yisrael's health and vitality. It's like a fulcrum or focal point which illuminates deeper, critical issues which need tikun.

    ReplyDelete
  12. To say: "what, did the Chazon Ish, Reb Shelomo Zalman, and so on observe a minhag shtut" is a sure-fire way to shut down critical thinking about the issue.
    why should it be? you can (and are) thinking critically.
    I was just clarifying Ravbi Brq qaim's (spelling correct ) words as postulating that only Ravbi Brq qaim has clarity. all others were mindless sheep

    ReplyDelete
  13. HaRav Bar-Hayim is a great scholar, thinker and has the courage to differ with many others. Making the claim that previous generations of rabbis held to a certain practice and therefore we are powerless to change anything is another way of saying that minhagim can never change even if we have reason to believe that they do not make sense.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I loved the audio-shiurim which I just heard at www.machonshilo.org I had never heard Rav Bar-Hayim give a shiur before and I have to admit that I was very impressed. I had many doubts about what I had heard about his Torah but now I am absolutely convinced that the Rav is a great scholar.

    Pass me some kitniyot!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Rav David Bar-Hayim is an amazing rabbi and a rarity-a rabbi who does not fear stating the halachic truth as he sees it despite the fact that most others would disagree. His Torah is a breath of fresh air!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Rabbi Bar-Hayim has a lot to say and a lot to offer-where can I hear his shiurim? Does he speak in RBS?

    ReplyDelete
  17. Rumor has it that you can hear more of his shiurim at his website: www.machonshilo.org

    ReplyDelete
  18. that is a great resource! thanks for the link, Mike!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Rafi-you're absolutely right-www.machonshilo.org is a tremendous website.Kol Hakavod to HaRav David Bar-Hayim!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Shmuel EisenbachMarch 20, 2009 5:29 PM

    I'm eating kitniyot this Pesach-thanks to Rav Bar-Hayim!

    ReplyDelete
  21. I also wish that there were more rabbis like Rav Bar-Hayim-his intellectual honesty and halachic logic are impeccable.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Bridge of PeaceMarch 21, 2009 9:25 PM

    I have not looked into the teachings of Rav Bar-Hayim but it seems to me that it would be productive to arrange a debate with him and a rabbi who opposes kitniyot on Pesach for Ashkenazim.

    Perhaps Rafi can be of avail here?

    ReplyDelete
  23. If Rav Malinowitz does not share his opinions maybe he would agree to a debate.

    ReplyDelete
  24. A debate is a great idea-if Rav Malinowitz would agree-that would be great-the dynamics of a polite but vigorous debate would provide an opportunity for all to assess the issue as objectively as possible.

    ReplyDelete
  25. amazing how all of the sudden so many commenters have names...

    ReplyDelete
  26. So... which came first? kitniyos, or talmidship? [I love making up words].

    ;)

    I stand by my earlier characterization.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Correction-not kitniyos, qitniyoth

    ReplyDelete
  28. One thing the kitniyot issue has done is demonstrate that if we remain mired in the Ashkenazi-Sephardi, galut paradigm then how can we move forward to accomplish geulah-related matters? We have to overcome the "katnuni" stuff before we move on to bigger and better things.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Kitniyot is just one of many issues which Rav Bar-Hayim emphasizes. For example, the rav has revived the ancient nusach of eretz yisrael. Nusach Eretz Yisrael is a beautiful nusach going back to the early Rishonim. This nusach tefillah perhaps has the potential of reviving enthusiasm among some of the youth who desperately need it.

    ReplyDelete
  30. While there may be very good reasons to switch nuschaos, I doubt that anyone who works in either kiruv or helping kids at risk would agree that the text used in davening is a factor.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Mike, I would say that this is an experiment which has not yet been tried at least not in recent memory. Certain types of kids who are looking for a bit of shifting gears might find nusach eretz yisrael to be a refreshing change.Look at the nusach and you might sense what i mean.

    ReplyDelete
  32. this sounds kind of silly. the only way a nusach will get me to enjoy davening more, is if the nusach is shorter. a lot shorter.
    that being said, a kid who hardly davens (I am assuming that is what type of kid you are talking about) is not going to care about one nusach over another, other than in its length.

    ReplyDelete
  33. perhaps i should have mentioned that among other things nusach eretz yisrael is substantially shorter.( since it is based on the ancient nusach later interpolations are absent.)

    ReplyDelete
  34. I've used nusach eretz yisrael and there is an aesthetic beauty to it which makes it enhoyable to use.

    ReplyDelete
  35. so now the only problem is that even if someone switches to nusach EY to enjoy the shorter nusach, he is still left davening in shuls that daven the regular nusachim. so he does not really gain much as far as a shorter davening is concerned....

    ReplyDelete
  36. i have that experience every day-i end up concentrating more on each word. even if i wait for the chazan the very fact that my nusach of the shmoneh esre is shorter is enjoyable

    ReplyDelete
  37. Rafi-thanks for hosting this interesting topic. Were it not for you I wouldn't have knwon about this stuff.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Friends of the KLFMarch 22, 2009 3:06 PM

    I nominate Rafi for honorary membership in the Kitniyot Liberation front. I don't think this involves anything illegal so I'm hoping Rafi will accept this nomination.

    Can someone else please second this nomination?

    ReplyDelete
  39. I second the nomination

    ReplyDelete
  40. I am honored. what does this award/honor get me? a free bowl of rice on Pesach?

    ReplyDelete
  41. Friends of the K.L.F.March 22, 2009 7:05 PM

    You get to participate in the special underground k.l.f. seder reserved for those select few who have been deemed worthy-bowls of rice and other goodies will be plentiful.Be forewarned that you will find Jews of all colors there, but none with constipated tendencies.

    Thanks, Rafi for accepting this nomination.

    When should we have the vote?

    ReplyDelete
  42. who else has been nominated? If I am the only nominee, you might as well vote now...

    ReplyDelete
  43. Friends of the K.L.F.March 22, 2009 10:11 PM

    Since the Friends of the K.L.F. is committed to the highest standards of justice and fair play we hereby provide due notice that the elections for honorary member of the k.l.f. shall commence tomorrow at 8am. If no other nominees are forwarded by that time then the sole candidate shall be Rafi.

    Votes shall be cast either anonymously or non-anonymously via these posted comments.Penalties for violations of elections rules or for cheating shall be administered by the Kitniyot Praetorian Guard.

    ReplyDelete
  44. If Ashkenazim can eat kitniyot on Pesach in Israel, can Sefardim still eat it in France???

    ReplyDelete
  45. Friends of the K.L.F.March 23, 2009 8:01 AM

    I hereby cast my vote for Rafi for honorary member of the Kitniyot Liberation Front. (I hope he doesn't miss his family too much on the seder night)

    ReplyDelete
  46. I also vote for Rafi(Hope you'll give us a few hints as to how it went)

    ReplyDelete
  47. Lookds like Rafi is going to win.

    ReplyDelete
  48. Friends of the K.L.F.March 23, 2009 8:07 PM

    Mazal tov to Rafi on this clear victory!

    ReplyDelete
  49. I am honored by this unanimous vistory winning this award. I will cherish it forever, though I have no intention of eating kitniyot at pesach this year.

    ReplyDelete
  50. For all those who will fully abstain from kitniyot, I hope you'll be machmir enough to refrain from drinking coffee!!

    The Chacham Tzvi and the Yabetz said that coffee beans are definitely kitniyot....

    [Scroll down]




    ...but no one says that they are forbidden on Pesah as everyone knows that when the minhag of kitniyot was adopted in the land of ASHKENAZ hundreds of years ago, coffee was unknown and therefore not included under the purview of the minhag.

    ReplyDelete
  51. I promise to abstain from coffee. I don't drink it anyway...

    ReplyDelete
  52. Friends og the K.L.F.March 30, 2009 3:44 PM

    Rafi, this is going to be awkward-at the underground seder you'll be surrounded by diehard qitniyoth munchers-but we really feel you must in any case be made to feel at home. what arrangements can we make for you?

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...