Letters to the Editor: Not the time

With regard to “Police question Lehava head following pressure from Vatican.”

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Not the time
With regard to “Police question Lehava head following pressure from Vatican” (August 12), there is no arguing with Bentzi Gopstein when he posits that Maimonides ruled that idolatry needs to be destroyed. But Maimonides also ruled, in his Mishneh Torah, that a quarrelsome wife should be struck with a whip (God forbid).
There’s a designated time for the observance of each and every commandment from the Torah – it would be futile to observe the Sabbath during the middle of the week. Maybe in another time or another place, but now is not time for destroying Christian sites or whipping one’s wife.
Gopstein’s disingenuous truths are out of place for our time.
Inflammatory language and encouraging zealots to burn churches and make life in Israel hard for Christians is not at all justified.
Perhaps Christianity in the Middle Ages was more idolatrous, but today, Christians in America are as monotheistic as Jews are.
I grew up among Christian friends and neighbors and believe that they, including Catholics, are no more idol worshipers than many Jews who go to pray at the graves of tzadikim (revered rabbis). The icons and images in many churches are symbols of faith, just as the etrog (citron) and lulav (four species) are for us.
I have personally objected to “In the name of Jesus Christ we pray,” which is commonly appended to many public prayers in America yet goes against separation of church and state. But again, Jesus being a kind of intermediary for devout Christians is no more idolatrous than Jews going to “great rabbis” and paying money for the their blessings, believing their own prayers are not sufficient.
RON BELZER Petah Tikva
Matter of service
Whether or not Israel needs a chief rabbinate is a good question (“Whither the Chief Rabbinate, wither religious Zionism?” Analysis, August 12). What is absolutely certain, though, is that we do not need this chief rabbinate – officially headed by two hereditary mediocrities who were gerrymandered into position as the preselected puppets of very dark, anti-Zionist haredi interests.
For too long now, the Chief Rabbinate and its army of flunkies and sinecures have done an extraordinary job of alienating Israelis from religion and tradition while doing absolutely nothing to enhance the quality of spiritual life in the Jewish state. It also goes without saying that topdown corruption and fiscal shenanigans are rife within its payroll of lifetime appointees, rendering everything for which it is responsible – from kashrut to conversion – highly suspect.
The very fact that the dark powers who control and staff the rabbinate do not themselves subscribe to it is the best proof of its core corruption.
If there must be a Chief Rabbinate, let it at least be one that represents the citizens it actually serves – meaning the citizens who actually serve.
J.J. GROSS Jerusalem

Maybe both?

With regard to “Renegade rabbis” (Editorial, August 12), the Babylonian Talmud (Eruvim 13b), in deciding whether Hillel’s or Shammai’s decision was to be accepted, stated: “These and these [i.e., both] are the words of the living God – but the Halacha is according to Hillel’s ruling.”
It is depressing to read that even before an independent network has been firmly established, contentious debate has already reared its revolting head in uproar. The acidtest of “peace” will reveal whose decisions are acceptable, for according to Rabbi Elazar in the name of Rabbi Chanina: “The disciples of the sages increase peace in the world” (Babylonian Talmud, Berachot 64a).
There was no disharmony between Hillel and Shammai.
With disharmony, both cannot be correct! LEONARD E. BOOK Ashkelon The writer is a rabbi.