December 25: No excuses

So the question remains: Does the Chief Rabbinate’s constituency comprise all of Israel’s Jews or is it limited to those pulling the strings to get the chief rabbis elected?

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
No excuses
Regarding Rabbi Shlomo Riskin’s article on “The Chief Rabbinate: Who is its constituency?,” (December 18), I take exception to Rabbi Riskin’s bending- over-backward phraseology regarding Chief Rabbi David Lau. Admirably, the author seems to maintain a basic sense of respect for Rabbi Lau, while objecting to the latter’s rejection of any contact with the Conservative Movement in America.
However, how was Rabbi Lau’s “serious error” of rejecting Education Minister Naftali Bennett’s visit to the Solomon Schechter school in Manhattan “unwitting”? Why would the chief rabbi’s lack of knowledge of the Conservative Movement in America be “understandable”? Rabbi Riskin should not have to make excuses for Rabbi Lau, rather acknowledge that Rabbi Lau was making deliberate statements, based on the latter’s studied awareness of world Jewry, a knowledge that one would expect from Israel’s supreme rabbinic authorities.
So the question remains: Does the Chief Rabbinate’s constituency comprise all of Israel’s Jews or is it limited to those pulling the strings to get the chief rabbis elected?
Dangerous words
In response to The Jerusalem Post’s headline on December 23’s front page, “Ya’alon: Failure to put Duma attackers on trial could ‘set region on fire,’ what did Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon mean by using this set of words? Should our court system put someone on trial in order to placate the Palestinians? As I recall, within a few hours of the murders at Duma, the defense minister announced that the perpetrators were Jews. Perhaps he should have waited before making that statement.
The world is now expecting Jews to be put on trial.
In addition, his statement seems to be giving permission to our enemies to set fire to the region if these people are not put on trial.
I am sure that is not his intention.
Thirdly, is he warning the judges that there will be dire consequences if they decide not to put Jews on trial and bring them to justice? In my mind it was poor judgment on Ya’alon’s part in the extreme.
Make it easy
In regards to the December 23 story on mikvaot (“Woman removed by police from mikve for demanding to be alone highlights ongoing battle”), first, it would be interesting to know the source of the statement “the presence of such attendants, ideally, is a requirement of Jewish law so the attendant can ensure that the immersion was done correctly.”
Unfortunately many people use “Jewish law” (Halacha) to make unnecessary strictures.
Second, why not have the attendant merely question the woman immersing about some basic requirements and see if she seems to know what she’s doing and then let her immerse by herself if that’s what she wants to do.
Forcing the issue is just another way of “turning off” some otherwise religious women to Jewish law and can be a reason for them to merely drop the mikve requirement.
The doubtful stringencies should be removed. Let’s make Jewish observance easier not more difficult.
Not well-suited
In regards to your December 22 article titled “Deri likely to replace Shalom as interior minister,” I would like to make the following comment: Of all the men in the country, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu can’t find someone more suitable to be the next interior minister? He is considering Shas leader Arye Deri, who in the past was convicted of bribery, fraud and breach of trust and served time in prison. Come on, Netanyahu, you must be able to find someone more suitable for the job.