Jan 30, 2014

Is Chief Rabbi Yitzchak Yosef from Beis Hillel or Beis SHammai?

What do people expect of their rabbis?

Chief Rabbi Yitzchak Yosef was recently criticized in the media for a psak he gave regarding a woman who was hoping for a get, divorce papers, from her husband who was a 'vegetable' and could not give it. After analyzing the case, Rav Yosef paskened that the get could not be given. They took this psak out of his sefer, and criticized him for it as unnecessarily stringent and accused him of following in the footsteps of Beis Shammai instead of Beis Hillel..

At a rabbinic conference, Rav Yosef responded accusing them of taking one psak of his and ignoring all the rest. He also said that at the committee for appointing dayanim, he was requested to appoint dayanim who are lenient and use the "koach d'heteira" - like Beis Hillel rather than dayanim like Beis Shammai.

Rav Yosef criticized his attackers asking "do they expect to bring me pork and me to allow it? Using the power of leniency like Beis Hillel, should I allow pork? They don't understand, they don't know what is koach dheteira and what is halacha! using koach dheteira can only be within the framework of halacha, we have a Shulchan Aruch and poskim".
source: Kooker

Rav Yosef is right. I have no idea if he leans to the more stringent psak in his decisions or to more lenient. It does not matter to me. People and newspapers should not dictate to a rav how to pasken. The rav must pasken as he sees fit after analyzing the cases before him and coming to a decision.  No rav will always pasken leniently, or stringently. Every rav has some mix of lenient decisions and stringent decisions. And not every case can be easily solved with a valid leniencies. Some cases are more complex, some don't have the flexibility or the leniencies that are relevant. Really, to demand that a rav pasken a specific way, according to your expectations, rather than to be true to his halachic analysis, is chutzpah.

If one does not like the trend of a certain rav in his halachic analysis, that person can find a different rav to consult with. But to demand that the rav pasken differently just because you want him to? That's chutzpah.

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  1. Rav Yitzhak Yosef, like his father zt"l rules as leniently as possible. His guiding principle is to follow shulchan aruch without adding Chumras which he sees as driving people away from Judaism.

    He spoke recently at my son's Yeshiva and emphasized that they have to learn Halacha so that they can avoid unnecessary Chumrot.

    To criticize him for being to stringent about anything shows that the media have no clue who he is or what he stands for.

  2. Beis Hillel knew how to be machmir too. Let us not forget that in their view (which is accepted lehalachah), tsaras ervah is peturah from yibum, and hence may NOT marry the yavam and she is in fact an ervah to him. The children of such a union are mamzerim. Even though acc. to Beis Shammai, she would be doing a mitzvah, and the children were kosher! And the gemara says that Beis Shammai would tell Beis Hillel if a proposed shidduch involved someone who was a mamzer leshittasam.


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