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Mar 20, 2013

MoF Lapid won't participate in selling Israel's chametz

Finance Minister Yair Lapid has already touched a raw nerve, and he has only been in office a couple of days.

The State-owned chametz is always sold on erev pesach by the Chief Rabbis of Israel in the presence of the Minister of Finance. The MoF does not have to be there, technically, but traditionally he has always been present. When the schedule was set and the MoF was sent his invitation to the event, he politely turned it down and said his deputy minister would attend instead. (On Radio Kol Hai today somebody said that Avraham Hirschson had not been present at the sale of chametz when he was MoF, and he finished his term in prison. I doubt the two items are connected, and I dont know if he was there or not. An article I read said the MoF has always been present until now)

The Rabbanut bristkled at the rejection and got upset. They used his words from the coalition negotiations about not wanting to be photographed next to ministers form Shas and said that Lapid's refusal to participate in the event are a result of not wanting to be photographed with haredim. Lapid';s response was that he has no time as he is busy with preparing the budget. It also turns out the the deputy won't be participating either, and the Minister of Education Rav Shai Piron will be the one participating in the sale of chametz.

Lapid does not need to be there, either halachically or legally, but it would be good of the new MKs and ministers to make the extra effort to respect the traditions of the government. He probably finds time to continue going to the gym for a workout, despite the budget that needs to be prepared, and he probably finds time for plenty of other things as well. I am pretty sure if he wanted to he would be able to find time for the estimated hour it takes to sell the chametz and the budget preparation would not be affected. How much work is he doing on the budget on erev pesach anyway?

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  1. Didn't he learn how to budget his time when he was in college? Oh, wait....

  2. After the haredim have been so *nice* to him, I can't blame Lapid for avoiding them.


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