Holon rabbi: Judges, senior officials can’t join minyan

Rabbi Avraham Yosef says people in senior positions should be disqualified.

The approach of the Tishrei holidays brings with it the questions of who is worthy of leading prayers for the holiest days of the Jewish year.
According to Rabbi Avraham Yosef, chief rabbi of Holon and a member of the Chief Rabbinate’s Council, judges and people with senior positions in secular authorities should be disqualified from that privilege, and not even be counted in forming a 10-man group for prayer.
“A prayer leader who treats his companions contrary to Halacha, and the extremity of this is if he sues his companion with whom he has a dispute in a [secular] court – such a person is disqualified from being a prayer leader,” Yosef said during a broadcast of a Monday halachic adjudication on haredi Radio Kol Hai.
“And it goes without saying that the judge himself – even if he excels in his prayers – from the moment he was appointed as judge, disqualified himself from joining a minyan, and needless to say from being a prayer leader,” the rabbi continued.
Avraham Yosef was an IDF rabbi for 13 years and is the son of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, Shas spiritual leader and senior haredi Sephardi adjudicator, who in June doomed those who turn to secular courts as standing to lose their place in the afterlife.
“Even if all his decisions are according to the Shulkhan Aruch,” Avraham Yosef continued to say of a judge, “he is still deemed as evil and one who raises his hand against the Mosaic Torah, who should not be joined to any matter of sanctity. People who are not observant, who publicly desecrate the Shabbat or hold senior positions in the authorities or the court system, should not be joined [to any matter of sanctity].... They must be ignored and treated as air.”
Rabbi Gilad Kariv, head of the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism, Israel’s Reform movement, slammed Yosef in a statement on Monday.
“Rabbi Avraham Yosef has reached new levels of maliciousness for his nerve to cast out from the community of Israel Jews who faithfully and dedicatedly deal with public needs, and new levels of hypocrisy for receiving a salary from the same state that dispatches judges, members of the State Attorney’s Office and policemen to their tasks,” Kariv said. “This is an additional test for Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman, who can have Yosef face disciplinary charges. Will this be yet another case in which Israel’s judges are abandoned to the intolerable tirade of rabbis?” He also called on the country’s public officials to “avoid any communication with Yosef until he retracts his scandalous statements.”
Kariv’s movement and its Israel Religious Action Center also sent Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Neeman a letter to that effect.