311_Amar and Metzger at Joseph's Tomb.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi Yona Metzger spoke out sharply on Wednesday night against
the trend of rabbis’ letters addressing various social or political causes,
declaring that such letters led to disparagement of religious leaders.
an address to members of Netzach U’Magen, a religiously- oriented organization
that commemorates fallen Israeli soldiers, Metzger slammed the “mode” of letters
that the Israeli public had recently witnessed.
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“It started in the North,
when they decided whom to sell [homes] to, and then came the counter-letters,”
he said of Safed Chief Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu’s directive against letting
“non-Jews” own or rent real estate, which gained broad rabbinic support, and the
ensuing modified version, penned by Rabbi Haim Druckman, warning against
“And then about whether the district court was right
or not in convicting former president Moshe Katsav,” he continued, referring to
the recent letter that leading national religious rabbis wrote in support of
Katsav, a convicted rapist.
“On every letter you have in favor of
something, you have a counter-letter,” he stated.
“Yesterday, I was
presented with a new letter by rabbis who support the social workers’ strike.
Who doesn’t support the social workers? As head of a panel of rabbinic judges at
the High Rabbinic Court, I know what holy work they do. Of course, everyone
wants them to make a decent living,” he said.
“But these letters,” he
continued, “cause contempt for the rabbinic establishment. Next thing you know,
there will be a rabbis’ letter against the rise in gas prices, or one in favor
of returning [ousted Egyptian president] Hosni Mubarak to power.”