Thursday, October 25, 2012
Rabbi Shlomo Aviner deserves cherem
According to recent statments made by Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, "A woman must not serve as a knesset member. It's immodest." He went on to also say that women's right to vote should be banned, but in this day that could be overlooked.
A zinger of a quote in which he tries to explain himself:
"It's not just about arriving at the voting station, placing the vote and going home. That's fine. The problem is that there are events in which women must know who to vote for, and these are public events which are immodest and bring men and women together."
Mind you, this Rabbi is masquerading as a leader of the religious Zionist community when in fact he has openly adopted some of the most backward and misogynistic positions of the most extreme Chareidi communities.
I would also remind readers (see posts here and here) that this is the same Rabbi who openly endorsed the blurring of the picture of a murdered female terror victim in a publication that is distributed to synagogues in Israel... because it is immodest.
The laughable part of his most recent statements is that he tries to justify them by referencing the teachings of Rav Abraham Isaac Kook, one of the forefathers of Religious Zionism.
My friend and fellow blogger Jameel pointed out some time ago that Rabbi Aviner ruled against reading one of Rav Kook's recently translated books for the simple reason that it had not been edited by Rav Kook's sons. Rabbi Aviner said, "You will misunderstand Rav Kook if you read an unedited version of it. Rav Kooks unedited works are like unripe fruit. It is like a rooftop without a guardrail, and one could fall..."
If a self-described leader has so little faith in those he perports to lead, he should admit his failure as a leader and step aside.
Let me say for the record that this so-called Rabbi does not represent any form of religious Zionism of which I would want to be a part. I would not eat any food for which he vouched for the kashrut (including in his home), and I would consider any religious ruling he made non-binding unless subject to the review and 'haskama' (concurrence) of a more learned Rabbi whose judgement has been tested and found to be sound.
In fact, for expressing such hateful and derisive/divisive statements which would be more at home in Iran than Israel, I would say he deserves Cherem; to be cut off from the Jewish community which he strives so mightily to tear assunder. I would also not want to pray in any synagogue which knowingly gave him so much as an aliyah to the Torah.
This man's ideas represent the speck of decay that has the potential to rot the entire bushel of fruit.
Posted by David Bogner on October 25, 2012 | Permalink
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Posted by: daw | Oct 25, 2012 4:17:56 PM
R' Aviner's words are less strong than those of R' Kook, who was an ardent opponent of women voting or serving as politicians.
That said, it is clear than neither the RZ world who frequently follow his way nor the Chareidi world from which he came adopted this policy, and I don't see a significant subcommunity that R' Aviner can claim to be leading in this matter. Nor do I understand how his concern for mixed events leads to an opposition to politics; the Chareidi world has figured out how to arrange separate events, and there's no reason R' Aviner could not push for the same if he feels it appropriate.
Posted by: Mike | Oct 25, 2012 4:32:51 PM
Kol HaKavod to you for speaking out. There is too much of this nonsense - announcements by rabbonim which are ill-considered, ill-founded, and damaging.
Posted by: Ellis | Oct 25, 2012 5:47:59 PM
Rav Oren Duvdevani has published a responsum rejecting R' Aviner's position on voting as well as general gender integration:
Posted by: Noah Roth | Oct 25, 2012 6:08:46 PM
It almost seems like he's competing with the Charedim somehow.
Posted by: Mark | Oct 25, 2012 8:10:56 PM
If you regard Rav Kook as being representative of religious zionism, then Rav Aviner is a religious zionist and you are not.
Posted by: moshe | Oct 25, 2012 9:19:23 PM
according to this article it is not a flat out ban - he aproves of Tzipi Hotovely running for Knesset
Posted by: kj | Oct 25, 2012 10:33:03 PM
The Rav Kook letter is found at Edah Journal volume 1 no. 2 and he opposes women's suffrage.
I saw the Times of Israel article first and my impression is that he was answering a question and not issuing a psak.
He doesn't need my defense and I don't agree with him, but he does have a solid halachic basis for his position. Cherem seems a little strong. It would be enough to respectfully disagree and I do.
BTW Rav Aviner writes beautifully about marriage and is one of the few to take up the topic. His sms Shu"t are quite good, well reasoned and sourced.
Posted by: lrg | Oct 25, 2012 11:04:36 PM
You are getting TOO HOT under the collar.
This is his opinion according to his reading of halacha, not so way out, just not trendy for the 21st Century.
Posted by: tzipschum | Oct 25, 2012 11:51:33 PM
I'm not sure how anyone can take this rabbi seriously, when most (or possibly all) of his own kids have fallen very far from the family tree.
Posted by: Bracha | Oct 26, 2012 7:13:07 AM
ie: even his own family doesn't take him seriously!
Posted by: Bracha | Oct 26, 2012 7:49:39 AM
David, about 30 years ago, Aviner interfered with the policy of the Beit El elementary school, which had a rabbi as minahel. the oldest girls class had spent many lessons preparing to be in a Bible contest, if I remember correctly. At the last minute, his daughter didn't want to participate, so Aviner declared participation forbidden.
Posted by: Batya | Oct 26, 2012 8:10:30 AM
this is the worst post i've ever read on this blog. i myself am not at all a haredi or chardal type but you have gone so overboard.
"The laughable part of his most recent statements is that he tries to justify them by referencing the teachings of Rav Abraham Isaac Kook, one of the forefathers of Religious Zionism."
as has been correctly noted above, you don't know rav kook's views on the subject
"If a self-described leader has so little faith in those he perports to lead, he should admit his failure as a leader and step aside."
he is a rav ha-ir, rosh yeshivah and popular destination for thousands (?) of she'elot from the wider community. his authority as a leader rests on more than being self-described
"Let me say for the record that this so-called Rabbi does not represent any form of religious Zionism of which I would want to be a part."
he is religious and a zionist and his hashkafah is probably closer to rav kook's than your own
"Mind you, this Rabbi is masquerading as a leader of the religious Zionist community when in fact he has openly adopted some of the most backward and misogynistic positions of the most extreme Chareidi communities."
if you have a problem with the rightward trend in religious zionism then write about it (it is an important subject). but don't pretend that r. aviner is some outsider who misleads his flock concerning what he represents.
"I would not eat any food for which he vouched for the kashrut . . ."
seriously? do you eat badatz food?
"This man's ideas represent the speck of decay that has the potential to rot the entire bushel of fruit."
yes, yes, i understand your rant is precisely because he comes from within. but it is still way overboard.
Posted by: abba's rantings | Oct 26, 2012 4:27:24 PM
"ie: even his own family doesn't take him seriously!"
1) are your own kids mirror images of yourself? if not, does that really say anything about you or how seriously they take you?
2) it's better not to play the game of judging someone by their kids, because otherwise i'm sure one could level the same charge at people that you hold in high regard.
3) please clarify what you mean that his whole family "doesn't take him seriously." are you referring to his daughter that appeared in the bat ha-rav documentary? there is nothing to indicate there that she doesn't take him seriously, even if she hasn't followed his path. what emerges is a complex and nuanced, and in many respects an extremely positive, relationship (in both directions). and if one has nothing else good to say about him, what about his anavut in that opening scene with the shoe? (and to return to point 1, rav bigman's daughter also appears in the film. he is at completely the other end of the dati leumi spectrum, but should we discredit him as well because his child "doesn't take him seriously"?)
Posted by: abba's rantings | Oct 26, 2012 4:55:15 PM
As far as i know, Rav Bigman doesn't set himself up as a posek and someone who gives advice on interpersonal relationships. Therefore, I don't really care what his kids are like. However, if someone's advising young people about how to live their lives, or advising people about family life, damn right I want to see how his own kids turned out!
Posted by: Bracha | Oct 27, 2012 11:09:25 PM
I would strongly caution you to not jump at whatever ynet prints as if it were fact. Did R' Aviner publish a pesaq? Did he agree publically with what was attributed to him?
Whatever the case is, it is unseemly to judge a person based on the yellow-journalistic screeds of ynet.
Posted by: ron | Oct 28, 2012 6:59:30 AM
well, thats pretty much why i left judaism. in judaism, women don't have inherent rights as human beings, men do, and we only have the rights men - the leaders of judaism - "allow" us to have alongside them. the only right judaism guarantees women is the right to not get killed. beyond that, we have to wait and see if the men in our community will let us have the same rights they have, and if they don't, then we are screwed.
Posted by: J. | Nov 23, 2012 10:48:10 AM