Thursday, April 11, 2013

Are You Allowed To Choose Who To Vote For?

Does a religious Jew have the right to make a personal choice regarding who to vote for?

The March 21 issue of HaModia featured interviews with a number of Anglo Charedi rabbis in Israel, entitled "Rabbanim Discuss the Rift in Israeli Society." Previously, I wrote about the comments of Rabbi Bloom regarding the alleged greater sacrifice made by people learning in kollel than by soldiers killed in the line of duty. The article is an eye-opener for people who look at figures such as Rav Zev Leff and Rav Yitzchak Berkovitz as being "moderates" rather than full-blooded charedim.

One of the rabbis interviewed is Rav Elimelech Kornfeld, a brilliant Torah scholar whom HaModia mistakenly describes as Rosh Kollel of Kollel Iyun HaDaf (it's actually his brother), but correctly describes as Rav of the Gra shul in Ramat Bet Shemesh. He says the following:
"Olim coming from the United State often have a preconceived notion that one's personal decision of who to vote for is his basic democratic right and that nobody has the right to dictate his vote. They are not always aware that here in Eretz Yisrael serious religious issues are on the line and the decision of who we vote for is made by the Rabbanim and Gedolim, who are most aware of the pressing religious needs."
Contrary to what you might expect, I'm not going to say that he is wrong. He is right - sort of.

In the absence of a formal system of rabbinic authority such as the Sanhedrin, rabbinic authority is what a person makes of it. If you are part of a community such as that of Rav Kornfeld, this means that you have selected him as your rabbinic authority. You might not agree with his attempts to remove Mishpachah magazine from the city, or his attempts to prevent the establishment of restaurants which have seating, or his opposition to Lemaan Achai, or his opposition to the TOV part; but if you are part of his community, you must respect his authority. This includes accepting his decision regarding the parameters of that authority. And if he believes that this means that you must accept his decision regarding whom to vote for - i.e. UTJ - then that is what you must do - or you are defying the very authority that you have accepted upon yourself.

On the other hand, every person makes a decision (or chooses to accept a decision made for him) regarding who he defines as being his Rabbanim and Gedolim in the first place. And some Rabbanim and Gedolim believe that people should not vote for UTJ. Some Rabbanim and Gedolim - even in Ramat Bet Shemesh - believe that even their own flock are entitled to make their own decisions regarding who to vote for, let alone people outside of their community. (Cue shock and horror!)

The problem comes when people believe that every religious Jew is obligated to accept a certain fictitious objective definition of who "the Rabbanim and Gedolim" actually are. (And when rabbis, for various reasons, tell people to vote for a party that they don't really think the people should vote for.)

65 comments:

  1. "...his attempts to prevent the establishment of restaurants which have seating..."

    Do you mean mixed seating, or any seating? Either version is plausible - maybe he opposes the restaurant concept.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Seating that lends itself to mixed seating.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Your sentence "If you are part of a community such as that of Rav Kornfeld, this means that you have selected him as your rabbinic authority." is unclear. What does it mean to be part of a community which perforce means one has selected him as a Rabbinic authority? To live on his street or in the immediate vicinity? Daven in the Gra shul sometimes or learn there? Even if I ask him an occasional sheilah in halakhah I may not accept him as my Rabbinic authority in regard to how to live my life? In fact accepting any Rav's authority in this regard is or should be a conscious decision, and then one chooses which Rav, and that Rav may tell you it's not my decision; it's your's.

    Incidentally regarding Lemaan Achai Rav Kornfeld does let them collect in his shul, their tzedakah boxes are allowed there, and I even saw him give something on a couple of occasions to a collector.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Is it an all or nothing proposition? Can't I accept R. Kornfeld's authority in, say, hilkhot Shabbat, but not hilkhot politica.

    After all, we in the dati leumi world have respect for the psakim of contemporary Charedi rabbis in some halakhic areas, but not in others. For example, I might reject outright the authority of the Mishne Halakhot with regard to the obligation to pay taxes or the status of women, but still refer to his responsa in the area of hilkhot muktze.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Daniel, I was certainly not referring to living on his street, or even occasionally davenning/ learning there. I am referring to a case where a person considers him to be "their Rav."

    ReplyDelete
  6. And Daniel, my information regarding Rav Kornfeld, the Gra and Lemaan Achai is quite different. Contact me offline if you want the gory details.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Is it an all or nothing proposition? Can't I accept R. Kornfeld's authority in, say, hilkhot Shabbat, but not hilkhot politica.

    Not if you consider him to be your rav.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Ah, but how did Rav Kornfield become the Rav of that area in the first place?
    I may not like the guy who won the last general election over here and is now prime minister (Actually I do like him but just for argument's sake...) but he's the prime minister. I have to accept his authority because I accept the authority of the system that put him in power.
    As another story going around Israel notes, this is the root problem. The public gets no say in who gets a position of power - a small oligarchy of sages with magical "daas Torah" does and tells the people who the Rav will be. Then the people are told they have to accept his authority because he's their Rav.

    ReplyDelete
  9. He's not the Rav of "an area." He's the Rav of a shul. People can choose whether or not they want to be part of that shul.

    ReplyDelete
  10. "or his opposition to the TOV part;

    R' Slifkin- can you please explain what this means.

    Thank You

    Libby Ba'Mizrach

    ReplyDelete
  11. Daniel - Rabbi Kornfeld has given me money (on Purim) for Lemaan Achai, though that one time was many years ago, long before the friction escalated with the abuse reporting issues

    ReplyDelete
  12. With all due respect to you, and well more often than not I agree with you, this post is nonsense. The fact that someone lives in a certain city does not mean he has accepted the official rabbi of that city as his rabbinic authority, such that he must mindlessly obey the Rabbi's dictates.

    More than that - the fact that one davens in a particular shul, does not make that shul's rabbi his rabbinic authority.

    More than that - the fact that one has a certain Rabbi, and even considers him as his Rabbi, does not mean he has subcontracted all of his thinking out to that Rabbi. It means only that he consults with him on things he feels he has less knowledge in. In no way does it mean he has somehow agreed to forfeit his decision making to that rabbi. I dont even know how you can say such a thing.

    I dont know if this post refelcts some sort of Stockhome Syndrome - Slifkin Syndrome? - but you seem to be buying into the false GEDOILIM concept peddled by your ideological opponents.

    ReplyDelete
  13. The fact that someone lives in a certain city does not mean he has accepted the official rabbi of that city as his rabbinic authority

    I never claimed otherwise.

    the fact that one has a certain Rabbi, and even considers him as his Rabbi, does not mean he has subcontracted all of his thinking out to that Rabbi

    If one disagrees with one's Rav regarding something as basic as the definition of having a Rav, then in what significant sense can that Rav be said to be the person's Rav?

    (Of course, many rabbis do not believe that their role is to make decisions for their flock regarding who to vote for.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Easy, here, the Rav is wrong, but you can still respect his opinion in other halachik rulings.

      Delete

  14. What are you hinting at in the last parenthesis?

    ReplyDelete

  15. Hinting? I thought that I was pretty explicit!

    In the recent election, a certain rabbi in the city signed a letter telling people to vote for a certain party - even though that rabbi did not believe that people should be told who to vote for, and certainly not to vote for that particular party.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I think one may give the haredim credit where credit is due.
    Some people will obey rabbinic authority only when it suits them, as the undertones of this post seem to imply.
    The Haredim on the other hand will heed their leaders whether they like it or not. Take internet for example, it is extremely inconvienient to keep on running to your nearest kosher internet cafe to surf yet i think the majority of charedim have accepted this upon themselves however hard it may be (the proof is in the pudding - we hardly ever have charedim commenting on this blogsite)
    The charedim do have this strength of character,forgoing their own will to a Rabbinic authority whom they believe are truly reflecting the will of God so lets for once give credit where it is due.

    ReplyDelete

  17. Sorry, I can't agree. I've seen way too many cases of charedim who talk about following the Gedolim, but who excel at creating reasons why it doesn't apply to them (or who simply manipulate the Gedolim into saying what they want them to say!)

    ReplyDelete
  18. Even in the US, I attended a meeting at a local MO shul where they had invited a Agudath Israel political representative to speak. He made it pretty clear it was everyone's duty to vote in US elections (federal, state, and local) to vote as daas torah directed. During Q&A I asked what happened if my right to vote for the candidate of my choosing conflicted with daas torah. He was very puzzled by the question, and eventually simply said that his understanding of Jewish responsibilities required us to follow daas torah.

    ReplyDelete

  19. I'm missing the link Rabbi, if one is allowed to choose which rabbinic authority to accept what was your problem in the previous post regarding the Rambam that forbids one to accept money for learning?
    Surely dont the Bnei Torah have a right to choose the Rema YD 246 and others whom allow receiving money for learning Torah instead of the authority of Rambam?

    ReplyDelete

  20. I never said that people are obligated to follow Rambam - in fact I explicitly said that his position was not normative. My objection was to people claiming to follow the Rambam, when in fact they don't!

    Incidentally, the Rema and others were not speaking about the modern kollel system.

    ReplyDelete
  21. "If one disagrees with one's Rav regarding something as basic as the definition of having a Rav, then in what significant sense can that Rav be said to be the person's Rav?"

    I already said - for matters in which the person thinks he has less knowledge than the rabbi. Thus, when it comes time to kasher certain keilim, and I feel I dont know enough the subject, I ask the rabbi. When it comes to a question of hashkafa, or anything else I feel I am competent to decide myself, I dont ask the rabbi. I dont need the rabbi to tell me for what things I need a rabbi.

    Honestly, this is a dovor poshut. Only in the post WWII new world, with ballei teshuvah and ignorance and confusion between chassidism and litvish and hungarians, and the state of Israel, could such a crazy catch 22 of a question even arise.

    ReplyDelete

  22. So you think that a person has more knowledge than his rabbi as to what it means to be a rabbi?

    (You seem to think that I am saying that you, DF, should think whatever your rabbi tells you to think. I'm not saying anything of the sort.)

    ReplyDelete
  23. There is no objective way of assigning 'gadlus' to anyone. The result is that one's 'gadol' is another's 'non-gadol', and there is no way of legitimately forcing your definition or understanding on anyone else.

    Even more, accepting someone as a religious authority figure has a very limited application among the more modern element in Orthodoxy. It means simply that one accepts his answer to a posed halachic question, and that one doesn't publically dispute his views on halachic or policy matters. It has little to do with what one believes or does in private. An adult is supposed to be able to think critically and make decisions for themselves in areas where they believe they have adequate knowledge.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Many people will vote the straight party ticket. I don't see how this differs; in both cases one accepts someone else's decision who to vote for. The critical question is always to whom do we grant that authority. This should serve as a reminder that once a Sanhedrin is reestablished, democracy as we know it will be at an end.

    I'd like to point out an interesting lexical fact: "totalitarian" and "holistic" used to be synonyms.

    If the redemption is preceded, as some say it will be, by a fundamental healing of flawed human nature, it will be one thing; what today we might think of as "holistic," which tends to have favorable connotations. If on the other hand – and both secular Zionism and the Chareidi movement in their own ways believe that it must – one must make structural and institutional changes in order to bring about a the fundamental healing of human nature then it seems to fly in the face of historical experience which has come to classify such attempts as "totalitarian."


    Jonah Goldberg makes an interesting point on this in his Liberal Fascism:

    "...what do we mean when we say something is 'totalitarian'? The word has certainly taken on an understandably sinister connotation in the last half century. Thanks to work by Hannah Arendt, Zbigniew Brzezinski, and others, it's become a catchall for brutal, soul-killing, Orwellian regimes. But that's not how the word was originally used or intended. Mussolini himself coined the term to describe a society where everybody belonged, where everyone was taken care of, where everything was inside the state and nothing was outside: where truly no child was left behind.

    Again, it is my argument that American liberalism is a totalitarian political religion, but not necessarily an Orwellian one. It is nice, not brutal. Nannying, not bullying. But it is definitely totalitarian – or 'holistic,' if you prefer – in that liberalism today sees no realm of human life that is beyond political significance, from what you eat to what you smoke to what you say. Sex is political. Food is political. Sports, entertainment, your inner motives and outer appearance, all have political salience for liberal fascists."

    ReplyDelete
  25. I don't agree at all. "Your rav" means you accept his halachic authority. It doesn't mean you accept his definition of what falls under halacha or his definition of what falls under his authority.

    Just my opinion anyways.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Thanks for making your position clear.
    You agree that we need not follow the Rambam. Understood.
    You agree Rema allows taking money for learning however in your view Rema is not talking about Kollel today. Understood.
    You write in many posts that being expert in one area of Torah does not make you expert in another. Understood.
    Who is more fluent in understanding Rema, Gedolim who have pored over Shulchan Oruch their whole lives or Rabbi Slifkin who has been more involved with animals........????

    ReplyDelete

  27. 1. In these things, ideology and worldview exert enormous, decisive influence.

    2. Who says that they have researched this particular issue?

    3. Who says that they claim to be following the Rishonim? In fact, they generally admit that they are not with regard to this issue, but claim that "es la'asos..."

    ReplyDelete
  28. By the way, Moish, if you are still reading - JS's comment confirms what I wrote to you above. Here's someone who apparently believes that Charedi gedolim have ultimate authority. Yet he's participating here on this blog, even though they would undoubtedly disapprove.

    ReplyDelete
  29. RNS, the question is not whether a man knows more than the rabbi as to what it means to be rabbi, the question is who knows better when the rabbi needs to be asked. And obviously, the answer to that is the individual. Again, this is poshut.

    Now, you can tell me that the very question of what a rabbi needs to be asked about is ITSELF a question that must be posed to a rabbi. But that has to assume a premise normal people dont share. Indeed, anyone who shares that premise would not ask the question to begin with, by definition.

    ReplyDelete

  30. Yehudah said...

    I don't agree at all. "Your rav" means you accept his halachic authority. It doesn't mean you accept his definition of what falls under halacha or his definition of what falls under his authority.

    Interestingly, the bylaws of my (MO) shul (a)give the Rabbi full authority over halachik decisions and (b) full authority to determine what constitutes a halachik decision. Officially, board cannot overrule any decision the Rabbi deems to be halachik, they can only fire the rabbi.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Natan, one of the articles linked to in this post to shows Rav Aaron Lichtenstein telling his students who to vote for. (I bet the roshei yeshiva of mizrachi yeshivos do as well.)

    Why is this different from a chareidi rosh yeshiva telling his students who to vote for?

    The issue appears not to be whether a rav can tell their students/followers who it's proper to vote for as much as whether you agree with his worldview and have accepted him as your rav in the first place.

    ReplyDelete
  32. I don't think it's unreasonable for someone to consider a Rabbi to be his posek for matters that are clearly Halacha and areas of the Rabbi's expertise, but to not accept the Rabbi's judgment on areas which are not, even if the Rabbi thinks he is an expert in them.

    Many Dati Leumi people are less yeshivish than their Rabbanim and therefore more open-minded or broad-minded with regard to the general world.

    For example, many DL Rabbanim, who spent most of their lives in yeshivas, will tend to speak regarding the practice of Law in terms of assur and mutar and they (with some notable exceptions, who prove the rule)will not really be able to think out of the box a little on issues such as women in Judaism etc. In practice, this doesn't mean that they can't use those Rabbanim to pasken Issur V'Heter shailas.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Natan, one of the articles linked to in this post to shows Rav Aaron Lichtenstein telling his students who to vote for. (I bet the roshei yeshiva of mizrachi yeshivos do as well.)

    Why is this different from a chareidi rosh yeshiva telling his students who to vote for?


    Who said that it's different?

    ReplyDelete
  34. Rav Lichtenstein does not "tell" students whom to vote for in the same sense that Haredi Rabbonim do.

    Rav Lichtenstein is letting students know what he thinks and then leaves it up to them to decide what to do with that information.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Rav Yaakov Ariel, in his "Halacha b'Yameinu" has a couple of excellent essays on Judasim and Democracy and on personal autonomy vs authority.

    ReplyDelete
  36. I know that Rabbi David Bar-Hayim told his talmidim which parties he saw as potential options. On the other hand I have never heard him or his followers claim that one must vote according to his dictates.

    ReplyDelete
  37. "Natan, one of the articles linked to in this post to shows Rav Aaron Lichtenstein telling his students who to vote for."

    Whoa, hold your horses! The article only cited RAL''s ENDORSEMENT of Bayit Yehudi. It was even captioned that way. The Yeshivah world news writer wrote that "he instructed" them to vote for Bayit Yehudi, but that was his own spin, reflecting his own yeshiva world milliue.

    What RAL did is nothing more than Rabbi Herman Neuberger used to do evevery election cycle - offer his opinion (since so many people asked him) on whom he thought was the best candidate. He never once framed it as "daas torah", or "you HAVE to vote for x." There's a yawning chasm between that and between the charedi persepctive, that people are robots who must mindlessly obey what they are told.

    ReplyDelete
  38. I'm with Dovid and DF. Anyone who knows RAL in the slightest should know that it is absurd to think that he would consider his own opinion as to whom it is in religious Jewry's best interest to vote for to be a halakhic directive binding on his students.

    Lawrence Kaplan

    ReplyDelete
  39. "Who said that it's different?"

    My point is that telling/instructing people who to vote for is not an exclusively chareidi phenomenon (though it probably is more prevalent in the that community).

    Barring extraordinary historical circumstances, I'm not crazy about it regardless of the source.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Yannai Segal,

    That is a very dangerous clause to put in a rabbi's contract!

    ReplyDelete
  41. > Moish said...

    > Take internet for example, it is extremely inconvienient to keep on running to your nearest kosher internet cafe to surf yet i think the majority of charedim have accepted this upon themselves however hard it may be (the proof is in the pudding - we hardly ever have charedim commenting on this blogsite)

    You hardly ever see Catholics commenting on this site, either. That’s not because there are no Catholics online. It’s because, just like most Chareidim, they have no interest in this site.

    > The charedim do have this strength of character,forgoing their own will to a Rabbinic authority whom they believe are truly reflecting the will of God

    That’s not strength of character. It’s being a child who needs Mommy to tell him what to do.

    ReplyDelete
  42. One goes to a doctor when he has an issue he doesn't know how to deal with and he doesn't go to him for questions outside the scope of the doctor's expertise.

    Rabbis are no different than a doctor, however much you might hold them in high esteem.

    ReplyDelete
  43. Granted, JS does seem to be a hot charedi and i agree you have found someone disagreeing with Rabbinic authority.(though we cannot disqualify all charedim because of one random fellow)
    However his question is actually quite smart, using your own methodology how can a zoologist claim to have more expertise than those who have studied shulchan oruch for decades?
    Your response "who said they studied the subject matter" was weak to say the least, you seem to be following your oppoments who twist the facts (like moreh nevuchim is a forgery) in order to get out of a tight spot.

    ReplyDelete
  44. I have a Rav who I go to for all halachic questions. But I can't imagine asking him who I should vote for.

    Then again, I would never ask him
    who my daughter should marry, business advice, or if a surgical procedure is advisable.

    Although similar in Chareidm in many respects, in others, we seem to occupy a different planet.

    ReplyDelete
  45. using your own methodology how can a zoologist claim to have more expertise than those who have studied shulchan oruch for decades?

    1) I've actually studied the topic of the Rishonim's view on taking money for Torah study in great detail (see my monograph). I highly doubt that the Gedolim have done the same. Note Rav Sternbuch's complete misunderstanding of Rambam's view.

    2) As I said earlier, the Gedolim largely agree that they are going against the normative, traditional approach. The idea was Eis La'asos - emergency rebuilding of Torah after the Holocaust. Of course, we've long since surpassed that point.

    ReplyDelete
  46. Why do people make it like the chaireidi leaders are the only "legitimate" ones who have poured over halacha for a dedicated amount of time? i also dont understand why people dont state it more that "chareidi gedolim" are only that, they are only the gedolim of the chareidi. are chasidish rebbes the leaders of the litvish yeshivish the same applies for the so called "gedolim". all i have to say is not my gedolim. gedolim are people who apply halacha that isnt always leaning automaticly toward the stringent. Gedolim are people who unite jews amoung different segmants. and above else gedolim are people who err and who were children also once and act as such. Not automatons from the womb to the beis medresh and so on. Oh and i apoligize for mistakes and so on this is from my phones. Its hard to type.

    ReplyDelete
  47. "The idea was Eis La'asos - emergency rebuilding of Torah after the Holocaust."

    Like so much else of the Charedi platform, this is a total fiction. "Eis La'sos" was invented after the fact as an ex post facto justification to offer to the Jewish world as to why we needed thousands of people in koillelim.

    R. Aaron Kotler is the man largely responsible, in the United States at least, for what we now call the "charedi" worldview (telling people to sit in kollel, and let everyone else take care of them.) This was his viewpoint on life in Europe, long before WWII. Ballebattim, to him, were put here on Earth chiefy to do the melacha of those sitting in learning. That is the only way that he knew. He was a Rosh Yeshivah in Europe, and when he came over to America, he simply resumed his business. Had absolutely nothing to do with "Eis La'asos." That is just as false, and as big a myth, as the claim that R.S.R Hirsch's vision of torah im derech eretz was a "horass shah." It's all nonsense.

    ReplyDelete
  48. "if you are part of his community, you must respect his authority. This includes accepting his decision regarding the parameters of that authority."

    It should be self-evident that this is a dangerous proposition.

    Perhaps the obligation to follow one's Rav is limited to when the person asks the Rav for guidance, not when the Rav takes the initiative to impose his will. In the latter case, the Rav should have to convince the person/community with his arguments.

    ReplyDelete
  49. It's really remarkable how open to ideas from the outside that the founders of the kollel revolution were. Consider this from Wikipedia:

    Permanent revolution is a term within Marxist theory, established in usage by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels by at least 1850 but which has since become most closely associated with Leon Trotsky. The use of the term by different theorists is not identical. Marx used it to describe the strategy of a revolutionary class to continue to pursue its class interests independently and without compromise, despite overtures for political alliances, and despite the political dominance of opposing sections of society.

    ReplyDelete
  50. So it's OK to pick a spiritual guide based in some measure on his likely political orientation, so that it becomes reasonable to vote as he recommends?

    ReplyDelete
  51. One the foundations of American democracy is "separation of church and state".

    The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states:

    "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

    We are talking about Israel here, not the U.S., but the issue of free choice in civil matters applies to both. In Israel the "separation of Synagogue" and state does not make as much sense as it does in the U.S. The entire reason for Israel's existence is to establish a homeland for the Jewish People in their ancient and historic homeland. We cannot separate the Jewish from the state, nor do we want to.

    Can someone who knows more Talmud that I do tell us what the ideal form of government is according to the Torah. The only forms of government that constituted the Jewish nation in the past - when we were a self-governing nation - was kingship and Sanhedrin. We don't seem to have a history of democracy, and it does not even seem to be a theoretical ideal, except perhaps among the members of the Sanhedrin.

    What about after Moshiach comes? Does the idea of government disappear altogether, not only for Israel, but for all the nations of the world?

    On a more practical level, we observe that most Israelis are not frum or strictly "orthodox," in the loose sense by which we may define orthodox. But if all the citizens of the secular nation of Israel (besides the Arabs) were do decide to become frum, would we still want to keep Israel as a democracy?

    ReplyDelete
  52. I'm sorry Rabbi, but this is absurd (aside from being without citation whatsoever). If I choose to join Rav Kornreich's shul and/or community, I do not become his "chassid" or his personal robot, and even if he thinks that I do - his view of his own authority doesn't change it. Are we all chassidim and our community Rav has to get treated as our "Rebbe" now? I think you are confusing different traditions because this is not mine.

    If Rabbi Kornreich gives advice to the kehilla about whom to vote for and I have strong personal convictions that his view is mistaken, I am free to vote for whomever I think appropriate and will assuage my personal conscience in doing so. Not to mention the fact that I never went to him and posed a shaila to him asking, "For whom shall I vote, Rav?" Needless to add that politics - almost exclusively politics, often rabbinic politics, and very rarely Jewish existential questions which I care about - are behind all the rabbinic proclamations about voting. And tell me as a po dunk baal habayit member of that community in RBS, if I lived there, what interest do I have in rabbinic politics?

    Now if you think otherwise, prove it with Jewish halachic sources, else you have nothing but your own conjecture and personal opinion.

    ReplyDelete
  53. Another question, rabbi: Why should every single person in a single shul all vote for the same candidate? Again, kindly bring sources to support your answer.

    ReplyDelete
  54. So it's OK to pick a spiritual guide based in some measure on his likely political orientation, so that it becomes reasonable to vote as he recommends?

    When one chooses a spiritual guide, one usually does so based on resonating with his worldview.

    ReplyDelete
  55. Student V - perhaps not merely by joining his shul, but if you consider him to be your "Rav," then that would mean following his view on what the definition of "Rav" is.

    ReplyDelete
  56. Why should every single person in a single shul all vote for the same candidate?

    Because they have chosen to follow a Rav who believes that they should follow his view on who to vote for.

    ReplyDelete
  57. Regarding Torah forms of gov't: The Torah itself is shockingly silent on the topic. It limits the powers of a king, it defines the powers of a Sanhedrin, outlines a few laws regarding war and that's it.

    The rest is up to the Jewish People. Whatever is practical. You can see it best when Yehoshua dies without setting up a political structure.

    As for democracy, there are many examples in Jewish History, not only within the Batei Din of the Tannaim (with some juicy political upheavals), but also among the autonomous governing bodies throughout the ages. "Rov Minyan" vs "Rov Binyan" (majority of the population vs majority of the wealthy) are terms found throughout responsa.

    R' Wein likes to say that Israel politics are not too different from shul politics.

    PS: no way R' Aharon "told" people how to vote. Others in the DL world might, but R' AL and the other roshei yeshiva in Har Etzion do not believe that their authority should extend into politics.

    ReplyDelete
  58. Rabbi Slifkin: In your view, is there a practical difference between a misnagid that identifies someone as his Rav and a chossid that follows as Rebbe? (Other than the misnagid gets to choose his Rav.)

    ReplyDelete
  59. "Natan Slifkin said...

    Student V - perhaps not merely by joining his shul, but if you consider him to be your "Rav," then that would mean following his view on what the definition of "Rav" is.
    "

    Rabbi Slifkin: You are again confusing Rav with "Rebbe."
    And bring sources.

    After reading DF's comments I see that he and I are on the same page with this. It doesn't make any sense to a reasonable person that I have to ask my Rav's opinion in every single life matter or abide by his opinion even for matters I never asked his opinion about. No matter what he thinks about his authority. I request that you bring sources supporting your opinion if you assert otherwise.

    ReplyDelete
  60. Natan Slifkin said...
    " Because they have chosen to follow a Rav who believes that they should follow his view on who to vote for.
    "

    Rabbi - "Chosen to follow" a rav? What's that mean and from where do you conclude that? They made him their rav - big difference form what you are saying. Is it not chazal and poskim who define that process of making someone your rav, and what it means to be bound to a psak halacha? Why have you made no attempts in this post and subsequent comments to delve into what they say on the matter?

    ReplyDelete
  61. I'm sorry, but I can't understand your point here about 'if you''ve accepted his authority, you have to do everything he says, if he thinks it falls under that authority'. Unless you're trying to explain it from certain community members' perspectives, it goes without saying that you can accept a rabbi's halachik authority, without allowing him to dictate every action in your life.
    If they say it's halacha to do whatever they think you should do, just laugh.
    To say there is a halachik legitimacy for rabbis to control their adherents lives, in any case, only strengthens that control, hence I don't understand this comment.

    ReplyDelete
  62. You say other GEDOLIM say not to vote for GIMMEl, but most Charedim don't consider Rav Lichtenstein a gadol in their circles and may be not at all unfortunately

    ReplyDelete
  63. Well posted. What happens if the rabbi tells you to marry your mother?

    ReplyDelete
  64. Then he would no longer be your rabbi!

    ReplyDelete

Comments for this blog are moderated. Please see this post about the comments policy for details. ANONYMOUS COMMENTS WILL NOT BE POSTED - please use either your real name or a pseudonym.