I read some disturbing words allegedly by Chacham Ovadya in his weekly sermon. His sermons have been controversial, however, when he makes statements based on hearsay, statements of a serious nature which seem to allege that Rav Stav, one of the candidates for Chief Rabbi, is evil, then I look to try to understand.
Unfortunately, I have failed to understand, even in the context of a politically charged atmosphere influencing these words.
- If you really care, and you are worried about the future leadership of the State from a Rabbinic perspective, and you hear that a candidate is God forbid “Not God-fearing“, then find out for yourself. Before you go off demonising such a person further, why not invite Rav Stav over for an hour’s shmuess. See what you can discern with your own very learned brain.
- If the criteria for a Rabbi being unacceptable is that “even” the “seculars” like him, then I’m afraid this is nothing more than that incredible Chillul Hashem that those who were opposed to Rav Kook ז’ל are guilty of. Au contraire, if the not yet frum, like a proposed Chief Rabbi, and he is (which he is) a Yorei Shomayim who has respect for Mesora etc this is the biggest positive that one can imagine in our Rabbi-spited society, where websites (such as Scott Rosenberg’s horrid site) specialise in minutely extracting every single foible or worse committed by a frum person and highlighting them in bold to besmirch Yahadus as a primary aim.
A symptom of one of the things very wrong with our society is the speed with which we condemn without checking further; public comments that should be carefully considered by a Manhig of the status as Chacham Ovadya; and the dreaded power of Askanim—the political appartchiks—both Ashkenazi and Sefardi, who relish feeding exaggerated fodder to enrage Manhigim and mislead them. The latter are quite literally infracting “Lo Siten Michshol” …. don’t put a stumbling block before the blind.
All that aside, an authentic Manhig, will not allow themselves to be swayed by politically charged, second-hand, exaggerated information.
Invite him over for a cup of tea!
4 thoughts on “Chacham Ovadya, Efshar Livrurei!”
Unfortunately in making certain pronouncements Harav Ovadia Yosef is never very far from controversy, as history has shown.
Though brilliant and erudite in many areas of Torah, it would seem he lacks, shall we say, a certain tact when trying to address the public over matters that are not so tightly bound to the world of Torah and haskafah.
The true ‘gadlus’ of a manhig, a genuine Jewish leader, and this I suppose is not limited to the world of Torah, or indeed, to just the Jewish world, is a concern for those you are trying to reach, a certain empathy and understanding in order that the message and guidance you are attempting to implant should be readily acceptable and accepted.
As the cute aphorism goes: “We don’t care how much you know until we know how much you care.”
This is not something that can be learnt, it is probably inate. But at the very least before unleashing potentially hurtful advice one should first consider its ramifications, and only then if the benefits outweigh any harm, procede.