Religious Affairs Minister: We need a <i>Bi'ur hametz</i> on the court

"Stick to what you understand, and don't interfere with halacha [Jewish law]," Religious Affairs Minister and Shas MK Yitzhak Cohen said Thursday.: Cohen was referring to a ruling passed earlier Thursday by a Jerusalem court, allowing local stores and restaurants to publicly sell hametz (leavened bread traditionally prohibited on the festival) on Passover. Cohen added that he would turn to the government's attorney general, Menahem Mazuz, with a plea to overturn the decision. "The court is responsible for dealing with issues it understands, and not with halacha. The ruling puts a gun to the head of the Jewish nation ... we need to do a bi'ur hametz" (a ritual whereby bread is burned to rid the home of leaven before Passover) on the court," he said. Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi of Israel Yonah Metzger also responded to the ruling, saying that "the prohibition of bal yeraeh u'val yimatzeh (a prohibition on seeing and owning leavened bread on Passover) isn't open to legal interpretation. The ruling challenges teachings of the Torah. Unfortunately, the court has 'passed over' Jewish law." NU-NRP chairman MK Zevulum Orlev, labeled the ruling unrealistic and called it a low blow to the Jewish identity of the State of Israel. Judge Tamar Bar-Asher Tsaban, who passed the ruling, did so based on the public nature of the eateries, which she claimed excluded them from the scope of the restriction. MK Moshe Gafni [UTJ] said that the judge's rationalization runs counter to the spirit of the law. Selling hametz on the Jewish Passover is prohibited by state law and stores caught by inspectors during the holiday are subject to fines.