Mar 25, 2010

The Deaf and dumb Cherem

Because of deaf people, haredim might be doing a dumb cherem.

One would think that the public "fashla" the askanim caused when they signed the gedolim on the letter of support for Elior Chen would have been enough to shake the system up enough. One who would think that would be wrong.

Egged is running, in a number of cities, none of which have a strong haredi population (Tel Aviv and Hertzliya for example), a screen on the bus over which bus information (coming bus stops, routes, etc) is displayed, with running ads that cover the cost. This is done for the benefit of the deaf, to make it easier for them to know where they are going, the next stops, etc. as they obviously can't hear announcements and have a hard time asking for details and all that.

The haredi askanim have decided that these screens are problematic. I am not sure why, but I guess they don't like the possibility of the advertising, and who knows what advertisement might be run on any particular day. They have been trying to pressure Egged to remove these video screens and scrap the program. So far unsuccessfully. For their next step in the campaign, instead of giving up and leaving it alone, especially since it hardly affects anyone in the haredi community, they are now considering threatening to boycott Egged over this.

Israel's Channel 2 News ran a report on this last night, so the threat of boycott is already in the official stages.

Not only are they threatening this stupid boycott, but they are doing this against the will of the rabbonim.

Kikar Shabbos reports that there was a meeting between the askonim and some rabbonim over the issue, discussing the possibilities and options. The main rav in the meeting was Rav Shteinman. The askanim were pushing the boycott. Rav Shteinman and the other rabbonim said it should not be done.

It seems the askanim have decided to not listen to the rabbonim, and have decided to go ahead with increasing the pressure on Egged by threatening a boycott.

Some people are even saying that many of the recent issues raised and pushed by the askanim, this one included, are effecting a process of the anti-religious Shinui party coming back to life.

Yair Lapid, a journalist and the son of the head of the original Shinui party Tommy Lapid, has been talking about some of these issues and has been talking about the possibility of running for politics and possibly starting a new party. He is polling very well, and if polls are to be believed, if he starts such a party it would see tremendous popularity very quickly.

And I don't blame them. The haredi community is built on listening to the rabbonim, as they have daas torah and know what they are doing. When the community is not listening to daas torah, and possibly even going against daas torah, but is listening to daas askanim and doing every stupid thing the askanim feel like doing, that is not what the haredi community is meant to be, and that is a violation of the charter of the haredi community.


  1. The askanim have a great advantage in that their names never appear anywhere, only the Rabbi they are using has his name appear on their pronouncements.

    I have a different, but related, question. Is there any mechanism within Rabbinics to remove posek authority from a Rav that has become senile or is suffering from any other illness that compromises the mind?


  2. Mark - not that I know of. However I have heard of some yeshivas that give semicha "on condition", and that is ok. They say the semicha is on condition that the musmach is frum and is not paskening against the tradition (I dont know the exact language - it was described to me, so please dont argue on specific points), and if they do the semicha would be automatically revoked.

    I dont know if such a stipulation is automatic or if it must be stipulated explicitly.

  3. Here's the Channel 2 coverage:

    החרדים נגד אגד

    שירות חדש ומשוכלל שמתעדכן בזמן אמת בתחבורה הציבורית המציג את התחנות הבאות ואת זמני ההגעה ליעדים גרם לחברי הממשלה החרדים לאיים על אגד בחרם. הסיבה – סכנת התועבה

    Joel Katz
    Religion and State in Israel


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