Feb 16, 2011

Egypt, Tunis, Algeria, Yemen, Libya, And Now Shas

The coup is the latest trend sweeping through the Middle East. The dictators of two countries have already fallen, and more are threatened. So far, the revolutions are being waged in Iran, Algeria, Yemen, and now Libya is joining the fray.

Will the revolution be limited to countries and governments, or will societal groups also start trying to overthrow their leaders?

It seems there is a group trying to stage a coup against Rav Ovadiah Yosef, but Rav Shteinman is having none of it, for now.

While the Eida nd Rav Elyashiv's followers put together a big rall against the acceptance of the IDF conversions, a group of yeshivishe sefardim approached Rav Shteinman for advice, as they too feel the need to oppose the conversions, despite the fact that Rav Ovadiah Yosef, their rav, approved of the conversions.

After this group of yeshivishe sefardim got Rav Elyashiv's signature on a statement opposing the conversions, with a statement adding that whoever paskens to allow these conversions - his psakim are not valid psakim, they then went to rav Shteinman to get hiss approval to their protest.

Rav Shteinman refused to support them saying that if Rav Ovadiah is the cause for so many people to learn Torah, you cannot just dismiss him. If you bring an alternative to him, then I could sign.

Bechadrei reports that on hearing this, they decided to put away the letter and not publicize it.

Rav Sharbani then said that the leaders of Shas should realize that in the coming elections they will lose their constituents. If until today the avreichim voted Shas because th  rabbonim did not express their own opinions, fro today onward they no longer will elect a party that chooses to allow these conversions.

I find it shocking that these people who have been such strong supporters of Shas and Rav Ovadiah until now are willing to ignore his psak and say they must follow the psak of the ashkenazi rabbonim. It doesn't even make sense to me why they feel they need to follow Rav Elyashiv's psak against their own, even to the point of talking about no longer supporting him over this.


  1. Rafi, It isn't Shas supporters leading this. There has always been an element of 'Bnei Torah' Sefaradim who have affiliated themselves with Yahadut hatorah and not Shas and call themselves "Irgun Marbitsei Torah". They are usually allotted something like number 8 on the Yahadut hatorah list to the kneset. To the best of my knowledge, Rav Adas mentioned in the article is one of the leading rabanim of "Irgun Marbitsei Torah".

  2. I wasnt aware of this irgun. I thought the sefardi yeshiva guys in UTJ were individuals...

    If they are an irgun that is part of UTJ anyway, what is the threat against rav ovadiah and shas that they wont vote for them again - if they already dont?

  3. So far you really only have second string Sefardi Rabbanim opposing him. If you start seeing names like Rav Eliyahu(fat chance on any of them), Rav Tzedaka, Rav Kohen, Rav Baadani, Rav Pinchasi, or Rav Maya then there will be what to worry about, but until then, honestly I think not.

    Otherwise I think this is no different than when Rav Batzri turned up at the segregation march... Some Sephardim are simply going to play the other side in order to insure that their children are able to get into the "right" schools.

  4. Exactly Rafi, there is no threat.

  5. For a while now I have realized that the concept of "Daas Torah" is not believed by ANYONE.

    You would think people who really believe that the "Gedolim" on par with Moshe Rabainu, surely they would be equally accepting of a Kula as they would with a Chumra.

    Especially in a situation like this where the "Kula" (vis-a-vis conversion standards) is really a Chumra in the Mitzva of loving the Ger.

  6. there is an argument that, these non jews will marry jews, so lets at least make them jewish even if they dont keep anything

    there are so many jews eating non kosher, i suggest we make the pig kosher so at least non religious jews will be eating kosher

  7. It's more complicated than that. But because the public discussion gets reduced to "better make them Jewish" it makes the frum public aghast at the suggestion.

    And people get even more defensive about accepting geirim, when newspapers quote Gedolim as saying things like only Jewish orphans should be adopted less we incorporate cruel qualities from the non-Jews into our gene pool.

    Part of the rightward shift going on in recent generations includes a misplaced attempt to eliminate any chances of "eirav rav" among us by tightening the geirus regulations (and remember the main proponent of that was Leib Tropper).

  8. You can't shoot the arrow, then draw the bulls-eye. You can't change a halacha even if you have a really really really good reason to. I can't understand how one can allow a geirus of people who have not accepted Taryag Mitzos. The fact that they'll marry Jews, that they're in the army already, that they're living in Israel...might all be very good reasons. But the reasons in and of themselves do not change the metziyus. So I don't understand.

    But then, I also didn't understand how R' Ovadia could give his tacit approval to pullout of Gaza either.

    I respect his Torah learning and I honour him as a gadol b'Torah. But there things about him confuse me.


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