Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Great Controversy in Israeli Batei Din - The Langer Case By Benzion Rotblat

Rav Goren later faced severe criticism in light of his ruling. Rav Elyashiv, who had ruled in the original case, left the Rabbinate Beit Din system after Rav Goren’s decision, as he felt that his ruling violated Halachic norms. A group of top tier Rabbanim including Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, Rav Yechezkel Abramsky, Rav Yaakov Kanievsky, Rav Eliezer Menachem Man Shach and Rav Chaim Shmuelevitz condemned the decision as consisting of “lies and deception” and that the Psak “endangers the survival of the nation.” [7] The Lubavitcher Rebbe also called for Rabbi Goren’s resignation. [8]


  1. The method of the psak, I have read through the first half, is that Judge a) can reinterepret halacha differently from previous Batei din. and b) a Judge must look at what is in front of him. R Goren brought statements of witnesses who were not accepted by the previous BD and wieghed them against the statements of those who were relied on. One was Chava's brother, who was in yeshiva for 5 years. One was her mother. One was the Husband, who made many elementary errors in his knowledge of Judaism.
    Today, anyone with that standard of judaism would not be accepted as a convert by anybody, and certainly not by Dayan Sherman or R Nachum Eisenstein.

  2. Some of the claims against R ' Goren are actually ridiculous, if looked at logically:

    1) As mentioned in the Deah v dibbur article, prior to the Brother and sister case, there was a conversion which was carried out by R Goren of a lady who was previously a reform convert. The same Hareidi leaders slammed this conversion too, omitting the fact that at the time, R Goren was Chief Rabbi of tel Aviv, and R Ovadiah Yosef was Av beit Din, and he permitted the conversion. This leads to the next point:

    2) A claim was raised that it is forbidden to end the contract of a serving Rav, and hecne the opposition to R Goren standing in the election. This is valid in a community, but the post of a chief Rabbi is run along different lines. in any case, on the Ashkenazi side, Lubavitch were backing the great Gaon Rav Zevin ztl, as was Rav Dr Warhaftig of Mafdal. So why was there no attack on Rav Zevin or Lubavitcher rebbe? On the Sephardi side, Dayan Elyashiv ztl was backing and recommending Rav Yosef ztl (to run against Rav Nissim ztl). So the chareidi atatck against Rav Goren standing was case of the Hareidi pot calling the Kettle black! But also, the Helen Zeidman conversoin case was overseen by both R Goren and R Yosef. The opposition regarding Goren was also the support regarding Rav Ovadiah! ridiculous.

    3) A lot has been made of R Goren making the election campaign that the mamzerim can be freed. Well, he already had started working on this in 1968, and had written or proposed a solution before the election, while he was still either in the IDf or tel Aviv rabbanut. Why is this more "corrupt" than for example saying that there is a solution shemitta before an election?


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