Feb 15, 2018

Rav Herschel Schachter on Har Habais, Techeiles and Kezayis

The Jewish Press has an interesting interview with Rav Heschel Shachter.

There are 3 points in the interview that are interesting to me (people interested in the female rabbi issue might be interested in that one as well).

1. Har Habayit:
There is a growing movement in Israel of frum Jews ascending Har Habyit after going to the mikveh. What’s your opinion on this movement?The Rabbanut said you’re not allowed to go on the Har Habayit. Now, the majority of the Jews in Eretz Yisrael are not shomrei mitzvos and are not really interested in what the Rabbanut says. In fact, they want to do away with the Rabbanut because it gives them problems – a kohen can’t marry a grushah, he can’t marry a mamzeres, hcan’t intermarry, etc. In Bnei Brak and Meah Shearim, they also couldn’t care less what the Rabbanut says. So you’re left only with the Modern Orthodox, the Dati Leumi, and now they too are ignoring the Rabbanut by going on the Har Habayit.
So the government will do away with the whole Rabbanut. What do you need it for? In Bnei Brak they don’t hold from them, in Meah Shearim they don’t hold from them, the overwhelming majority are secular, and the Dati Leumi are also not listening.
How do you go on the Har Habayis? We’re going to be responsible for the demise of the Rabbanut. It will be a disaster. As bad as the situation is now, it’s going to be worse if there’s no Rabbanut.
Haven’t you said in the past that one may, in theory, walk on certain parts of Har Habayis?Yes, but if the Rabbanut said you shouldn’t go, you have to listen to what they say. If they say a kula and you want to be machmirgesunterheit. But to be meikel against them I think is not right.
That is an interesting point he makes, and I don't dispute it (not that he needs me to agree or support his position). I would however suggest that if that logic works it raises an important question. If nobody is interested in the Rabbanut and nobody listens to the Rabbanut except for the Dati Leumi, and therefore they are obligated to follow the Rabbanut's decisions so the Rabbanut will not become completely pointless, why should we have a Rabbanut? According to Rav Schechter it is important to follow them in order to justify their existence, but really if the only people listening to the Rabbanut are one small sector of Israeli society, do we need a State body for this? Can we really justify the expense of the Rabbanut, let alone the need for the Rabbanut, if it is only just for the Dati Leumi community?

Another, more minor, question might be that not everyone going up to Har Habayit is Dati Leumi. There is an increasing number of Haredim ascending. So, do only Dati Leumi ascenders need to follow the Rabbanut's dictates on this and not ascend while Haredi ascenders can ascend, or do Haredi ascenders also need to stop? Furthermore, if Haredi ascenders don't listen to the Rabbanut anyway regarding anything else, why should/would they listen to the Rabbanut about this?
This is a minor question because the Haredi ascenders are a minority.   

2. kezayis of matza
Not long after Purim comes Pesach. Many people obsess over how much matzah they are supposed to eat at the Seder. Your definition of a kezayis, though, is rather smaller than what’s currently popular.I don’t know what’s popular. My father-in-law spent about two years by Rav Shimon Shkop rewriting the Shaarei Yosher. Rav Shkop asked the mashgiach from the Mir Yeshiva, Rav Yeruchom Levovitz, for a bachurwho had a nice style of Hebrew, so he sent my father-in-law. He was there about two years, so he ate the Seder by Rav Shimon Shkop. He said five boys ate a kezayis from one matza. That’s a pretty small kezayis.
Didn’t you once say a kezayis is the size of the palm of one’s hand?Rav Chaim Volozhiner says that.
So why do people think a kezayis is much larger than that?Exaggeration. They like to exaggerate about everything – l’hachmir and l’hakeil. Everybody exaggerates.
no comment necessary

3. techeiles
You are known as being in favor of wearing techeles nowadays. Why?It says in the Chumash that we should wear techeles.
But people claim we don’t know what authentic techeles is anymore.Okay, but there’s a very strong possibility that the [techeles produced by Ptil Tekhelet in Israel] may be the correct techeles, so if there is a possibility, safek d’Orasia l’chumra.

it is as simple as that

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  1. Seems Rav Schachter speaks with lots of 'common sense' which is disappearing from the world by the second. Everything he said is right! Doesn't matter if most are secular or whatever; it is the Jewish nation in the holy E. Y., and there needs to be at least a Rabbanut of some sorts to keep it Jewish, even if it's, at this time, not to everyone's liking. The nation needs to wake up before it's too late - it is H's Country and the more we descend into the pits, the worse the punishments. The Torah warns us but we never learn.

  2. Seems, those in control don't like my comment. So, here it goes again: Rav Schachter is absolutely right on everything written here. Just because many are secular or on different levels religious-wise, it doesn't matter; there needs to be an institutional rabbinate in the Land of Israel; it's not the galut, even though they brought in the galut to EY, r'l. The more we go spiralling downwards, the more trouble will come from Above. Don't we ever learn?

  3. Does Rav Schachter also advise his Talmidim to Eat Kashrut of the Rabbanut, or does he advise various Badatzim?

  4. It should be pointed out that, following a fine tradition in halakhic decision making, R' Schachter is *very* careful about stepping on other people's toes. Living in Manhattan, he doesn't even pasken for Brooklyn. So kla v'chomer he doesn't want to go up against the Rabbinate.

    He gave a whole shiur on the topic at an OU convention in Israel well over ten years ago. (It was on Shabbat and so not recorded.) His main points were that it's certainly muttar to go up, it's a mitzvah to do so, and political circumstances are that we have to go up to strenghthen the Jewish hold on it. And at the very end, he made the same point about not going against the Rabbinate. After the shiur, some people pointed out that the Rabbinate is not exactly a Dati Leumi institution any more, but I don't recall that he changed his view.

    I'd already signed up for a visit to the Har HaBayit. So after Shabbat I asked R' Rakeffet. He said that he can't decide, but if R' Nachum Rabinovich says it's muttar, then it certainly is. So I went, and have been back many times.

    1. interesting. I didnt know that about him. thanks

  5. This murex is not techelet...see the responce from rav asher weiss. This is another case of those that cant wait.
    They base themselves on the shells which are known to be for argaman.
    They (rabbi T) also made up a big lie from the greek ploynus? That the argaman and techelet are from the same fish!!!


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