Sunday, November 3, 2013

Rav Sternbuch: Bishul akum based on Jewish status on Israeli i.d. card

Rav Sternbuch (Teshuvos v'Hanhagos 5:252): Question: You write that you eat in a restaurant with a hechsher of the local rabbinut - but only for pareve items which have no problem of prohibited food mixed in. Your claim that you have verified that in your location they are careful not to have bishul akum. You say that you take teruma and maaser yourself and you don't eat foods that require careful examination for worms and other things. Answer: I am surprised by what you write. Don't you know that the rabbinut relies entirely on the Israeli identity card to determine if a person is a Jew regarding bishul akum? This is problematic since there are hundreds of thousands of Israeli's who came from Russia and the Israeli government considers them Jewish based on an invalid conversion since it is know that they were not committed to keep the mitzvos when they converted. Or they are given a Jewish status simply because it was claimed that someone in the family was Jewish. It is sufficient for the Israel government that someone claims that a grandmother lit Shabbos candles or they are taught to lie and simply claim that they are Jews. Others have forged certificates that they obtained in Russia. In addition there are immigrants from all over Europe who received the right to immigrant according to the Law of Return based on questionable status as Jews or converts. Then there are 150,000 Ethiopians that the Chief Rabbi declared to be Jewish without conversion when in fact we regard them as non-Jew or at least possible non-Jews.  Nevertheless all of these problematic cases have Israeli identity cards saying that they are Jews. In addition they rely on poskim that say that Shabbos violators do not have a problem of bishul akum, while major achronim state that they do in fact have a problem of bishul akum....There are other problem such as the view of the Chazon Ish that food produced in the factory of a non-Jews or someone who is not observant is prohibited because of bishul akum. The Shulchan Aruch and Gra rule that even if a Jew lights the fire, but if a non-Jew puts the pots on the fire – it is prohibited because of bishul akum. In particular in our case where the restaurant it owned by Shabbos violators who have the status of non-Jews and thus it is like the house of a non-Jew and therefore it is not sufficient that the mashgiach lights the fire.... We see clearly that there are many halachic concerns. In addition there is the view of the Taz mentioned in the Darchei Moshe that it is prohibited to eat even permitted food from a problematic Jew because he might feed you something which is prohibited... Thus we should avoid eating in such restaurants. A person who avoids sin even in private is called someone who sanctifies G-d's name. This is explicit in the Rambam (Hilchos De'os 5:10), All those who avoid sin or do a mitzva – not because that is the way of the world and not because of fear or awe or desire for honor – but for the sake of G‑d as Yosef avoided being with his master's wife – this is kiddush HaShem. Consequently from now on you should avoid eating in that type of restaurant or similar situations. In particular because when people see you eating there they will assume that there is nothing wrong to eat there and thus you will lead others astray.


  1. "Then there are 150,000 Ethiopians that the Chief Rabbi declared to be Jewish without conversion when in fact we regard them as non-Jew or at least possible non-Jews."
    If one does not accept the psak of the Rabbanut, then it makes sense not to eat in places certified by them only. If one does accept the Rabbanut, then it does not make sense to ask for a psak from the Eda. Can you imagine a Chabad meshichist asking Satmar if it is OK to say "Yechi", or a Satmar/NK follower to ask Hesder yeshiva if it is a mitzva to serve in the army?

    1. Eddie your conclusion makes no sense What does "accept the Rabbanut mean?". Rav Sternbuch is explaining why blindly accepting the Rabbanut has significant halachic problems and he details what they are regarding bishul akum.

    2. Even the Rabbis of Rabbanut do not rely on Rabbanut Stam because there are various difficulties and problems.

    3. If you think this is a questionable question, wait for the coming year when we got the SHMITTAH issues staring us in the face. It is known fact that the YOSEF family relies on the heter mechira and government issues will be numerous.

    4. @DT: What does "accept the Rabbanut mean?"
      I mean accept the Chief Rabbinate's decisions, eg on the Jewishness of the Ethiopian Jews (or Danites).
      R' Shternbuch gives the strictest interpretation possible - so why does my conclusion not make sense? If one takes the strictest approach, then relying on the rabbanut hechsher is not a logical step.

    5. Eddie if someone accepts the authority of the rabbanut without concern to the details then it really isn't relevant to discuss the issues. It is similar to someone saying that they don't have to keep Shabbos because the are a Reform Jew. However for those who are concerned with the halachic issues to say that they don't have to think about the issues because they accept the rabbanut is nonsense.

    6. As a Satmarer, I'd be the last one to support the Rabbanut, but in all honesty and integrity, I think I understand what Eddie is saying.

      The issue doesn't begin with what we may eat. If we don't agree with the Rabbanut, then the issues are (far greater and more weighty than food. That's not to minimize Chas V'Shalom the Importance of kashrus, but I suppose if one wishes he could choose to abstain from any food that his Rabbi doesn't authorize. Mi Yehudi, is the heaviest issue around and no one can avoid it's consequenses.) rooted in earlier disputes. So why are we getting up in arms about the food issue, when the dispute is something else.

      To answer Eddie, I say that although you are correct that the dispute ale Lishitoso, still Rabbi Sternbuch's words aren't redundant, because it is necessary for rabbi Sternbuch to let everyone know this very that the reliability of the Kashrus certification of the Rabbanut isn't an independent issue but that it is in many cases Lishitoseihem hinging or their ruling on other issues, and whoever doesn't accept the Rabbanut in those issues can also not rely on their Hechsher. It seems that Rabbi Sternbuch understood from the Shoel that he didn't realize this. I understand the this is what Daas Torah means to say as well.

    7. I am not saying R' Shternbuch's words are wrong or redundant, but there are other shittot around, eg Bishul Akum not applying to things like salads etc, but only somethign a King wouldeat; or that enough Gedolim considered the Ethiopians to be halacchic Jews. If someone marries an Ethiopian, knowing that R' Kook, and R Yosef considered them Jewish, then other Eidot can be machmir as they like, it doesn't affect the Jewishness of the marriage.
      Have you considered the following radical idea: the return to eretz Yisroel, the majority of jews now living there, and the military control of the Land, implies we are in a new era. The Government has somelegitimacy, even if it is secular - just as Kings did even if they were not quite frum. The rabanut may have power to overrule even "frummer" Batei din, since according to the Ran, they are the courts of the de facto melech. I ma sure that could be dismissed as Tzioni propaganda, but whether you like it or not, we are in a different era in history from 100 years ago.

    8. Eddie you are right - this is Tzioni propaganda. Just as your excuse that one has no problems simply blindy accepted whatever the Rabbinut says and therefore there is no need to be concerned with the halachic issues, you are now saying that we are now in a different era of history. Not sure what heter that provides for avoiding dealing with halachic issues. After 120 years I don't think the excuse "I was simply following orders" (i.e., blindly accepting the psakim of the Rabbinut) will count for much.

      In sum, Eddie I really don't know why you are bringing up this "authority defense" of hiding behind allegiance to the Rabbinut. I have no doubt that if I tried it from the chareidi point of view that you would be the first to ridicule it. More important this blog has always been concerned with underlying halachic issues - e.g., conversion, sexual abuse, education - why are you proclaiming now that the issues can be ignored by following rabbinic authority "Daas Torah"? Haven't noticed you ever using such an excuse before.

    9. I m not saying blindly accept anything. there are a number of halachic issues raised, and I cannot answer all of them. Thus, for the question of Ethiopians, I argued that there are substantial authorities to rely on. Is that the same as relying on Daas Torah? There seems to be some role reversal here - I am relying , for example on R 'Yosef and R' kook, who were major authorities,
      and you are perhaps implying that their views were flawed.

      Regarding the Tzioni issue - propaganda and politics aside, it is one perspective. Of course, the opposite perspective sees it as shmad, as an illegitimate regime and invalid halacha. What actually reminded me of this perspective, was a previous post whereby R Fisher concurred with R' Elchanan that Rabinic law cannot be proven directly from a source in Torah, hence the mechanism of acceptance was brought, to legitimise it.
      So this is an example of how changes do occur in Torah halacha over time and circumstances. On one hand , things have changed rapidly since the destruction of the Temple and the exile, therefore why cannot things change as this historical process is apparently being reversed.
      One example - the majority of Jews are now living in Israel, or if you don't quite accept, it will be the case within 10 years. This changes many facts in halacha.
      Regarding kashrut, it is always a good thing to communicate with the rabbanut if there are any doubts. But the argument that - a cook may be ethiopian, and some sectors do not consider them Jews, hence Bishul Akum - will not be accepted, since the rabbanut have determined them to be Jewish.

      One final point - it seems I am not alone in my Tzioni propaganda. R' Elyashiv explicitly said that the rabbanut is root of the Sanhedrin. He may have said it 60 years ago, but it is quite a radical statement, especially for the Posek Hador to make.

    10. Eddie, I don't want to open up this debate regarding Zionism in the sense of presenting pros and cons. If I would, you might guess that my arguments would mostly articulate the feelings of the Satmar Rav Z"L. I will speak in a philosophic sense to try to understand what causes different people to take these differing positions, because cognitively no group has greater capacity to understand, than any other, so there must be some underlying approach to things in general, which would cause someone to choose to connect with one idea more than with another. There is another possibility. That a person is comfortable to buy into the ideas which are held by those in his comfort zone. I will address only the first possibility for now.

      You might wonder why, seemingly coincidentally, in more cases than not, the people who buy into the Satmarer Shita dress more traditionally and speak our language of tradition. (You might say that Hebrew is the language of our tradition, but I mean tradition in the sense of not coming up with new understandings of our tradition, but rather, just blindly following what our fathers and grandfathers have done.) They also are less innovative in Halacha, and have more Yiras Hakovod for the words of the earlier Chachmei Yisroel and will go further lengths to support their words, than those who are Zionists, or open to any modern Jewish ideas. Take a look at how I responded to the recent post
      'Rashi claims that gossiper was given a meal if he was believed?!'
      I was pained by this heading because I felt it wasn't respectful enough to Rashi(Even though the Ramban already said ואין במה שפירש בתרגום הזה טעם או ריח, seeing these words of the Ramban makes me stand by in awe and fear of these 2 Malachei Hashares in combat)

      The general feeling among this group is one of Hachno'ah to the Torah and to the Divrei Hanvi'im. The Nevi'im are talking about something bigger than me. When we read the Passage in Yeshaya describing Moshiach 'הנה ישכיל וגו we see a picture of the Moshiach being greater than the greatest person we can imagine. When we see passages like ושב ד' את שבותך and the words of Rashi Hakodosh there and the passages of Milchemes Gog Umagog ( זכרי' י"ד, ו-ט) etc..... we expect a divine revelation more than we can imagine. We are full of געגועים waiting in awe and hope with bated breath for התגלות כבוד שמים and for us to be taken under Hashem's wing.

      Come along some folks(It doesn't even matter who they are but especially as some of them were/are Baryonim) operating בדרך הטבע create a government which happens to be located in Eretz yiroel (rather than Uganda) and tell me that this is what my people, my forefathers have been waiting for. What can I say? It's as though some people are so מיואש in our bitter Golus that they can't believe that our people have anything supernatural to hope for anymore, so they maintain that this is our Geula or part of it.

      So the Halachic arguments for and against Zionism are certainly not the root of the dispute.

      Maybe I didn't articulate myself clearly and maybe some of the things I wrote here are superfluous or inaccurate, and certainly I was very מקצר but I want you to understand basically where i'm coming from.

    11. @Katche-Lab, your comments above are typical superficial Satmar propaganda but never really address any substantial issues. The arguments are not about your straw-man Zionism, the arguments center on whether the Jews should return to Eretz Yisrael before MOSHIACH.

      Chazal apparently answered yes to this question in a number of places where they stated that the Jews will return to Eretz Yisrael before MOSHIACH arrives. These statements, along with many other proofs, completely refute the arguments of the Satmar Rav.

      Please explain how you understand the Gemara in Megilla 17b that states the Jews must return to Eretz Yisrael before MOSHIACH arrives:

      וכיון שנבנית ירושלים בא דוד שנאמר(הושע ג, ה) אחר ישובו בני ישראל ובקשו את ה' אלהיהם ואת דוד מלכם

    12. Your challange from the Gemara in Megilla is an excellent question. I can answer you if I want.
      The Ramba'm says, however, that Moshiach will be the one to be מקבץ נדחי ישראל I'm sure you can answer me if you want.
      The Satmar Rav was a Gadol B'Torah, not a superficial thinker.
      I have no doubt that the root of his dispute is in Hashkafa not in the ability to read a Gemara or a Ramba'm.
      You are obviously more comfortable to say that the dispute is over the ability to understand P'shat, rather to put yourself on the left of the Hashkafa dispute.

    13. @EmesLeYaacov,
      If you look at any of the Satmar Rav's Sefarim, be it Shu't or his Drush Sefarim, it looks very much like he knew how to learn. So how do YOU explain his 'oversight' of the Chaza'ls that you seem to know so well. Do you think he just happened to miss out on those sources and no one ever showed him or if they did he just couldn't admit that his entire Shita was an oversight, and he fought with all his might and cried about what he saw as a Chilul Hashem just because of this mistake which began as an 'oversight' Please explain this to me, if you don't agree that there is a basic Hashkafa difference.

    14. @Katche-lab, I never denied that the Satmar Rav was a talmid chacham, but I believe it can be demonstrated that his opinions conflict with numerous mainstream Torah sources greater than him.

      Earlier you mentioned "they can't believe that our people have anything supernatural to hope for anymore". This is the erroneous Satmar argument that a valid conquest of Eretz Yisrael may only occur by miracles.

      A greater talmid chacham than the Satmar Rav, ie the Chasam Sofer, taught that the SHITAH of the GOYIM is that the Jews can only conquer Eretz Yisrael through supernatural means, otherwise the Jews are thieves (according to the GOYIM). In fact Hashem desired a conquest of Eretz Yisrael through natural means through war.

      What say you to this Chasam Sofer?

    15. @EmesLeYaacov
      A most wonderful Chasam Sofer - needs not my Haskomo

      I fail to see your point. I fail to see the connection. Do you think he is talking about the redemption from our Golus for which we hope and pray that it happen B'mheiroh B'yomeinu?

      We Daven
      גלה כבוד מלכותך...והופע והנשא... וקרב פזורנו
      We have not yet had גלה
      nor והופע
      nor והנשא עלינו נעיני כל חי which means that his supreme glory over us will be clear to all.
      I'm waiting for Kvod Shomayim and Kvod Yisroel to be restored.
      ויאמר כל אשר נשמה באפו ד' אלוקי ישראל מלך ומלכותו בכל משלה

      You are trying to draw me into bringing proofs back and forth, and I don't wish to do that. All of this information is available for those who want to know.

    16. @ Katche-lab - I actually agree with a lot of what you say, and I enjoy reading your posts, and learn from them.
      I also agree with you approach, i.e. understanding a mentality that goes along with an ideology.
      Regarding "who is a zionist" is perhaps a larger discussion. If we look at the Dati Leumi world, there is a spectrum from Haredi-DatiLeumi" to modern and then to borderline. In the Haredi sector, they often mimic - or to be mroe respectful, reflect, a similar vie to hassidim, most closely CHabad/Breslov. Rav Kook himself was half habad/half Litvish.
      So the question is about Modern thought. Because I studied mostly sciences, my thought is more scientific. In science you have to test things many ways, and then check if your results are reliable or biased.
      Applying this approach to Talmud Torah, especially Rabbinic sources, can most often rattle the more traditional folk here, as has occurred on many occasions. But, I agree, no point in debating the Zionist vs.non or anti Zionist issues. for that you can talk to Emes L'Yaakov.
      And by the way, in this particular issue, I am not disqualifying the stricter approach.
      to build on your introduction - i would add that there are several spectra , a spectrum for each set of ideas or contrasts.
      So for example, regarding a discussion of Land of Israel being traded to Arabs for peace agreements, you may find that those opposed and those for are not teh same as Tzioni and non Tzioni. Since there are both types in each camp.
      Same goes with secular education.
      Kabbalah/mysticism, is certainly well established, but is not as widely taught in some kehillot as in others. I meet people in Brisk who think rationally - but are opposed to Unviersity studies. then there are YU professors who are hassidish and mystics.
      And this does not even begin to discuss Sephardim, who have a different approach to these issues, and do not separate themselves from less religious communities or relatives for example.
      the issue of Ethiopians is only possible if we see the historical changes, the kibbutz galuyot. The Ethiopians are not "Yehudim" i.e from the tribe of Yehuda, but more likely from Dan. If there is a return of other tribes, things will be even more complicated, because they may not have the same oral tradition!
      most haredim do accept to some extent that we have an end of the galus or a kibbutz galuyos.
      But yes, i fully understand what you are saying, and i think it is very nice.
      kol tuv.

    17. @EmesLeYaacov
      I don't understand your thinking with this. Why would the Satmar Rav argue so fiercely against those greater than him? Especially the Chasam Sofer who is regarded in Satmar with the highest regard. Don't you think the Satmer Rav believed he's not arguing with them, but that he Shtims with them? So why do you assert otherwise.

      You accuse me of straw man arguments. I think the opposite is true. You know very well that these sources that you bring don't really disprove the Satmar Rav.

    18. Eddie, we have established a measure of mutual respect.

      I would like to address several of your points, but I'm afraid that my Sabbatical is coming to an end and as I suddenly appeared from nowhere etc. But I will will address one of your points just בקיצור נמרץ.

      You referred to applying scientific method to Limud Hatorah. Understood. But there is one very big difference. The basic foundation of science is exactly the opposite of the basic foundation of Torah and therefore the approach must follow accordingly. A plain example comes first and the explanation. See('יו'ד סי' רס'ג ס'ב ובביאר הגר'א ס'ק ד). it is Meduyak in the Gemara like that opinion and see the Bach who totally rejects the strict opinion of Safek Nefashos Lehakel because the sources indicate otherwise. He relied on the sources against the common sense which dictated that there should be no difference if they shared the same mother or the same father and against the risk of loss of life - Safek Nefashos! In retrospect we understand that hemophilia which would be the cause for the child to bleed do death R'L is a sex linked trait, but that science wasn't yet discovered at the time.

      In science we work our way up from the bottom. We see what is in front of us and we gather as much of that type of information as we can, and then we try to understand and to deduce the cause or to be more philosophical, the סיבה, which is something out of our view. We can then continue to build amazing Mada.

      Torah, L'havdil, is the exact opposite. Torah is B'Kabalah Min Hashomayim and as we learn Torah, we try to understand through the Torah the world that we live in. This is the Purpose of the first Mishna in Avos. We don't have of the knowledge before us - on the contrary we have nothing before us. We work our way down from the very top.

      After we understand this very important distinction, we then can formulate an appropriate approach to Limud Hatorah. I think what follows from this discussion is the following approach. Use your Chochma, talent, intuition and any resources available to you, as tools to study and to understand the divine word - The Torah Hakdosha. But be sure that what you are studying is in fact The Torah as it was passed from generation to generation by Tzadikim who were reliable and faithful to give over an unadulterated version.

    19. Katche-lab, yes some valid points made here. It seems to me that the Torah we have now is not the same as it was in the days of Moshe or Yehoshua etc. Before I hear cries of Reform! let me explain what I mean. The method of ruling, and making judgements is not the same. There were then Neviim, Shoftim and Kohanim with the Hoshen Mishpat. But even then they had to use logic in certain cases,e.g. the famous dispute between Moshe and Aharon, when Moshe realised Aharon was correct.
      What I mean by scientific, is the opposite in another way, apart from what you mentioned. In science, it is tempting to rely in say Einstein and Newton , and people still have not proven Einstein to be wrong. but in principle it is possible. So a matter is decided on its correctness to a rational mind, not by who says the matter. And this sentence I found in Ramchal's Daat uTevunot, so I think it is especially pertinent. This particular view is the complete opposite to what is taught in Yeshivot - even those where they use Ramchal's sefer. The Yeshiva view is that if the Rav says something , even if it appears worn, you must accept it left-right etc.
      Now it is true that in some areas, we do not know our left hand from the right. But someone who has this view on everything is a tipesh - and is exempt from keeping mitzvos anyway.
      And there are counter examples,where logic is used in halacha, eg Rambam on astrology.
      So in the end there is a balance between sechel and emunah or mesora.
      And even in the so-called MO, the scale is tipped in favour of the mesora than the sechel.

    20. correction - I said Daat uTevunot, but the Sefer of Ramchal I was referring to is Derech Tevunot - Ways of Reasoning - ie his mofteach to learning Talmud.

    21. Eddie, I would prefer to be able to send you this comment without posting it in public. But I don't know where and how, so here it is.

      I don't cry Reform, when it isn't due. You understood what I said about about the use of scientific method in Limud Hatorah and I understand what you're saying about it, and I agree with you to a large extent. (By the way, I believe that in an honest argument after all has been clarified, the point of disagreement, if still existent, is a fine point - not a course one. This deserves a discussion of it's own) I feel that a downfall of the yeshiva education is this very point. There is a fear of allowing the students to think. The Roshei Hayeshiva openly scorn a Talmud who has the audacity to say he argues with the Rosh Hayeshiva's Pshat. I believe that a good Talmud will learn well and at times be a formidable opponent in Pshat even when arguing with big Roshei Hayeshiva. I think that it is the duty of a good teacher to see and to encourage the strengths of his students. By saying this, I am clearly agreeing with you that not everything the Rebbe says, even in Torah, is part of his Kabbalah Ish M'pi Ish Ad Moshe, and within the accepting of the same Kabbalah, there can be different interpretations, none of which go against the given Kabbalah.

      But I want to make 2 distinctions.

      First, a practical one. Let me refer to your mention of Einstein and Newton. If a laymen, after hearing some of their teachings, would argue against a deep complicated point of theirs, while it isn't a sin, he is a fool. He has no real respect for the subject and certainly not for it's scholars. The reason an Achron may not go against a Rishon etc. and the explanation to understand what are the boundaries and guidelines of this premise, is that you can't argue with someone unless you were יורד עד סוף דעתו. When a person today with intellectual integrity reads a Rashbo or even a Chavas Daas, he knows that although he understands what's being said, he has not been יורד עד סוף דעתו. The underlying understanding of many Hakdomos, precede what is being said here, which the speaker takes as given and doesn't put forth in his discussion, and an honest reader can recognize this. He therefore can't argue, because he can tell that he doesn't understand the depth of the discussion. It is not just a formality when Reb Akiva Eiger says וצ"ע or וצע"ג. So while a matter is decided on its correctness to a rational mind, not by who says the matter, 'a rational mind' is a relative term. The mind must be as rational as the mind he is going against, or in a case of a statement without a Machlokes, the mind must be capable to grasp fully the rationale of the subject at hand. This would certainly limit a scholar from weighing in on a discussion which took place in an era of clearer, loftier and more diligent and committed Torah minds which includes all of the Gedolim of the past generations. If my understanding of the idea of 'אם הראשונים כמלאכים וכו needs to be clarified to you please let me know because so far I have taken it as a given because to me it is unequivocally true. I see that you hold the same in your statement about the era of Gedolim being over. So while I disagree with the current day Yeshiva approach, I think it is simply an idea which has it's place but is misused to create closed mindedness, but that a Talmud should know his place and that of his peers and his Rabbis in the correct measure would be the correct message to promote true Chochmas Hatorah.


    22. The second distinction is specifically directed to the issue of Zionism (and other new ideas that share particular qualities of innovation) The Jewish Hashkofo which has been with our people prior to Zionism, may likely fall under the category of Torah which has been given over as our tradition and we were Mekabel Ish M'pi Ish. The flavor of the Gemara of the Sholosh Shvuos in it's first reading and the feeling of our people ever since the exile אחכה לו בכל יום שיבא - has always been that Hashem will redeem us(in it's traditional pre-Zionism Understanding). I don't wish to bring the many many countless sources which indicate that this hes been the Hashkofo, because each source might not be an absolute proof, if we were to(erroniously) consider ourselves in the league of being Mefaresh these sources on our own. Really there is nobody qualified to make such an innovation. This is not only true today, but also since the start of the Zionist idea. We are talking about Yesodos Hadas - one of the י"ג עקרים. We have no choice but to leave the interpretation as we understood it prior to Zionism. Therefore, to make such an innovation against this previous Yiddishe Hashkofo in something as major as Bias Hamoshiach והמסתעף, is bordering on K'fira, that is to say maybe a lack of the believing in this עיקר by it's true understanding, which amounts to K'fira since this is of the Ikrei Hadass. I am not calling all Zionists Kofrim for making an error בשוגג, but I am saying that the Shita of this error might be considered Kfira. The next question is, now that there is a Zionist state, regardless of the question of whether it was the right thing to do or not, how are we to view the present situation. After all such a tremendous Jewish population is now in Eretz Yisroel. Has Kibbutz Goluyos happened? So then I say למאי נ"מ? If you are intending to be Mechadesh new Hanhogos for us on the basis of this assumption, you must be sure that you're not being too innovative. In other words if it requires an assumption that we are in the midst of the Geula, we can't go that route. I agree that there are several spectra. The question, for instance, of Land of Israel being traded to Arabs for peace agreements should be dealt with on practical (or Halachic) terms, but the idea of Zionism being part of our Geula may not be a factor.

    23. Katch-lab, two very interesting posts. The first I am in major agreement with - but with some minor tweaks. For example, even in science there was the idea of Doros harishonim - so Yitzhak Neuton compared himself as a midget to Aristotle, but said he is a midget on the shoulders of giants, i.e. gedolim in science.
      Now, Rambam says something in his perush to the Mishneh, that although we follow a majority, sometimes a single viewpoint can be so clear and rational, that the majority will be persuaded by it. The only issue or difference in the analogy is whether someone from this era can disagree with a previous generation. And to make the discussion more "exciting", but also risky - can someone disagree or argue with an idea of Chazal? Well, at least in metzius, or science, Chatam Sofer could do this, as could Rambam. But you are right - a layman with no special knowledge of science cannot really disagree with Einstein , eg if he doesnt grasp the concept of curved space.

      Regarding the discussion on Zionism - I am not sure if it is worth getting into another debate on this. I don't quit see how the 3 oaths, which are not halachic, ever got to the level of the 13 ikkarim - the Rambam does not include these oaths as ikkarim. Kuzari actually admitted that it is our weakness for not having made aliyah. And most authorities do not consider the oaths to be binding anymore, if they eve were.
      Now the point I raise, is that the oaths were not adhered to by the Hashmonaim, or R ' Akiva/ bar Kochba. And was Kochba's failure due to the oaths or due to his arrogance? So there are many counterarguments
      And as for innovations, the whole Hassidic revolution was one big innovation. As were various earlier phases, such as the Yeshiva, the shulchan aruch, writing the Oral law, etc etc.

    24. A further point, where I may be in agreement with you - there was and still is a risk, that zionism, could create a Shabbetai zvi type movement. presumably some are claiming that it already has. Actually, SZ did create a mini kibbutz galuyot.
      When people are sinning or changing things round, and calling it a mitzvah, this is SZ kind of behaviour. An example, which i admit - there was a guy called Yosef Burg, who was a tzioni Rav and minister int eh government. The americans were delivering a warplane, and it happened to take place on shabbes. burg, somehow justified this, although I am not sure how - but there was some official ceremony on a Friday night. I would agree that this is in itself a SZ type act. for the secualrs, it is just like someone driving to shul, but for a so-called Rav, I see this as a very dangerous capitulation. (just like NK who go to Palestinian protests on Shabbat - which is the other side of the SZ coin).
      A big distinction, IMHO, is for example, if someone sees fit to say hallel and say it with a brocho. You can disagree as to whether the event or miracle merits that level of remembrance - but it is not anti-Halchic to do so, and on the contrary, NOT recognising a miracle is a serious sin.
      The oaths also cannot trump a mitzva d'oraita. Nobody can make an oath that he will not keep shabbes. Now there is a mitzvah of self defence, and of defending agasint a rodef. so there is no basis to suggest that the army is illegal. The contrary is true, if there are threats that you do nto defend agasint, then it is a grave sin.

    25. As you say we find cases where later Gedolei Torah argued on earlier Gedolim. I just found this: Look at his סיכום. Although I didn't read carefully with a fine tooth comb, I think I agree with him and probably you will too. You made a minor tweak to my statement and so will I to yours. You left too much distance between the one who may not argue - the layman, and the one who may - who grasps the concept of curved space. I say that not only a layman, but up until the point of completely grasping curved space and all related concepts, he may not argue. I feel comfortable to say that in this discussion we can reach a point, if we have not already, where the gap between our views will be reduced to zero(or nearly zero). With Zionism, I think we can do almost as well. Whatever gap will be left, will not be provable by any source, because if it could, it would not be a gap. (Of course I'm basing this on the ideal situation, in which we both are completely without negios, and in search of only the truth - wishful thinking) Such a gap would be rooted, not in sources, not even in diverse backgrounds because that will also be dissolved in honest discourse, but in our intuitions which could be different. Einstein would rather that we both consider this undetermined arena as a Safek, than assert positions based upon intuition. To reach this point would, however, be a very tedious exercise and, expecting this, you already stated that you're not sure if it is worth getting into another debate on this. I take out the word 'another', because the first such debate has not yet taken place, and after that tweak, I feel the same as you - I'm not sure either.
      A pleasure to correspond with you.
      Kol Tuv.

    26. Since you mentioned Hallel, Reb Moshe Feinstein was asked this Shaaloh. His response was that if it had not been such a politically loaded question, it would deserve looking in to and writing a Tshuva, but as it is, he refrains from broaching the subject.

    27. Yes, i am in agreement very much with what you say - after a certain point it is very much one's derech, ideology, feelings, and negios that determine why one is close to one system or other.
      The case of RMF z'tl, is also very interesting. I would read into that, that he did not want to get embroiled in a serious machlokes, with one side or other. Although, he probably had more to fear from the anti- brigade.
      Kol tuv, may we have the merit of learning L'Amito, according to the truth of the Torah.

  2. "Blindly following the rabbanut" leads to halachik problems for which one fets censored on this sight and tzaddok is free to post anything he likes.

  3. Boy am I happy that I have nothing to do with Eida Chareidit. What a bunch of racist dividers of the jewish people.

    1. what an incredibly stupid statement. This has nothing to do with racisim - but facts and halacha. Rav Sternbuch is simply presenting the normative Orthodox view.

    2. Why did Chazal see fit to accept King Herodus', who was not halachically Jewish, rebuild of the Temple? If they had an isolationist view of the world, they would have poskened it is assur to set foot in the Temple or accept any of the Avodah there, since it was rebuilt and expanded by a secular, non Jewish political nationalist.


please use either your real name or a pseudonym.