May 17, 2010

Rav Eliyahu against the Asra Kadisha

Rav Shmuel Eliyahu came down heavy duty against R' Shmidel and the Asra Kadisha and their protests...

"In my opinion it is a mitzva to move these graves. So it is brought in the gemara, so in the Shulchan Aruch, so did Rav Shimon bar Yochai..the gemara says Rashbi moved bones that were a disturbance to the public. When an old man protested, Rashbi set his eyes upon him and turned him to a pile of bones."

"Shmidel is known as a troublemaker, he is not a rav, and many great rabbonim said it is a mitzva to remove the bones -so paskened the rav of the city, so paskened Rav Roza who is an expert on these matters, so paskened the Chief Rabbis, and so paskened the Religious Council of the Rabbinate. Who is this Shmidel? Why does anybody have to listen to him? Whoever follows him is a fool... For what do we need the chilul hashem caused between religious and non-religious? This is superfluous, it is not halacha but foolishness."

"Don't say the rabbonim signed. I know how it works, the person comes to the rabbonim and tells them all sorts of stories that never happened. So the signatures of rabbis doesnt impress me. If the great Rav ELyashiv would come and tell us this is the halacha after he saw what the reality is, we would bow our heads and submit to him, but I dont believe Rav Elyashiv said not to move the graves because it can't be - there is the halacha, and Rav Elyashiv is a man of halacha, not politics. Whatever they say in his name is a lie and deceitful."


  1. BAM! Now there's a smackdown!

  2. Reb David Shmidel is a very chashuve yid and a tzaddik.
    having met him personally, i was taken aback to know that it is the same person who has national acclaim for his work with Asra Kadisha.
    He is a very unassuming and modest man as well as a big Talmid chachom. he is the mara dishmaytsa in the area of kevarim.
    anyone who knows him personally would admit that he is obviusly working leshem shamayim, having dedicated his life to protecting kivrey yisrael.
    Perhaps Rav Eliyahu is right that there were poskim that matired moving these kvarim, but the idea of compromising on halacha for the sake of avoiding back lash from the non-religious strikes me as very strange. if Rav shmidel would have gone by that philosophy over the many years he is in the buisiness, then no kever in this country would be safe.

  3. Mr. Anonymous - that is not how I understood Rav Eliyahu's point. I dont think he meant compromise halacha to avoid dispute. but when the halacha, and many large rabbonim support that decision, that the graves can be moved because either they are non-Jewish or because even if Jewish they are a disturbanmce to the public along with HaKol Maalin LYerushalayim, so there is no room for adhering to an extreme, or strict, psak which will only cause friction.

    If that was the halacha, so be it. But when the halacha has been decided the other way, protesting because of a stricter interpretation (dont know if thats the right phrase but I will use it anyway) is detrimental

  4. First of all, the long list of Rabbanim that matir moving the bones is not something that Rav Eliyashiv should have taken into the equation. He is recognized by many as the posek hador and therefore the other way around is more appropriate. (Rav Eliyahu himself has to come on to tayrutzim to say that Rav Eliyashiv didn't say it, or was fed wrong information - the usual taynaas - because if that was what Rav Eliyashiv really believed it would be harder to go against that psak)
    It is no surprise that Rav Shmidel brought the shaylo to Rav Eliyashiv, being that is probably the place that he brings most of his big shaylos. Also being that Rav Shmidel has given his life's work to kivrey yisrael, it is natural that rav eliyashiv would rely on his version of the story. As much as one can try to say that Rav Shmidel is one sided and interested in politics, the same can be said about every other person , ruv, or politician involved. Rav Shmidel has the biggest chazaka of anybody on that list, in terms of caring leshaym shamayim about kivrey yisrael.
    Furthermore, from what I remember, Rav Eliyashiv's main issue was ma yomru hagoyim, and how can we demand that foreign governments give kavod to our kevarim, if we ourselves don't. To call such a position "foolishness" seems strange. Perhaps this issue of how foreign governments look at us, is more important an issue than how the secular look at the religious.

  5. Mr. Anonymous, I have a question. Everything you write about Rav Elyashiv is absolutely correct, and Rav Shmuel Eliyahu also said, according to the quotes Rafi linked to, that Rav Elyashiv is the gadol hador and if they had any reason to believe he really held like the psak they would all follow him.

    My question is since when did everyone begin following the psak of Rav Elyashiv? Granted he is the elder posek of the generation but so what? When Rav Shlomo Zalman was alive most people (maybe not, but it seemed that way) followed Rav Shlomo Zalman and Rav Elyashiv was mostly considered a machmir. The past number of years (8? 10? since Rav Shlomo Zalman died?) all of the sudden Rav Elyashiv is the final say - why? Why do most people not treat his psak like a machmir any longer but his psak becomes the automatic final word?

  6. Just wondering where all these protestors and saintly rabbonim were when the graves of (undisputed) Jews were dug up in Gaza during the disengagement...

  7. Dovid
    These things are very difficult to pin point - exactly when a gadol hador became so. However it may be pointed out that ever since he was much younger, he habitually was added on as a signer to letters of rav shach and the steipler so already then among the leaders there was a certain respect.
    Also, as far as I know it is true that reb shlomo zalman zt"l was the leading posek, however after he was niftar, rav eliyashiv was left in a category all by himself. His tremendous and though knoledge of every aspect of halacha is unparraleled and the leading rabbonim have noticed that.
    As far as being considered a machmir or maykil, first of all reb moshe zt"l was known as a maykil while many of his psokim are very machmir. So I don't know what is considered machmir or maykil. Secondly, what gives rav eliyashiv his status as posek hador is less due to the classic area of halacha that everyone knows, it is more for his ability to cut through the difficult issues and to give a clear psak in those areas where most talmidey chachomim are treading water.

    I'm not sure what your question is? Would you have suggested that they be left in gaza at the mercy of the arabs?
    Or do you want to suggest that the moving of kevarim should have been a reason to fight against the withdrawal?
    The issue there was not what to do with the kevarim it was whether to move out of gaza or not. Whatever you feel that the rabbonim should have said has nothing to do with their position on kevarim

  8. This case is fascinating on many levels. The need for an emergency room in case of attack is mitigated in the event of peace breaking out in the region. This is where the UTJ and Government should be directing their efforts. The dead do not want more unnecessary numbers added to their flock. Any preventative measures by the living to improve this equation would be approved of. The budgetary considerations are important as the State of Israel does not have a bottomless pit of money to allocate for such projects. There are many sites in the Holy Land where the dead have been buried that have been developed since 1948. Apparently 40 billion souls have ever lived on the Planet. As a percentage there must have been about 46 million people who have lived and died in the Holy Land in the last five thousand years. (There is a way for the Thirteenth Article of Faith to be explained.)

    * These comments first appeared on other international forums three weeks ago.


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