Monday, 27 January 2014

Who Decides Mee Hoo Y'hoodi?

Rabbi Yehuda L. Oppenheimer:
«The first Chief Rabbi of Eretz Yisrael in modern times, the sainted Rav Avraham Yitzchok Hakohen Kook zt"l, was an incredible scholar, saint and lover of Israel, one of the greatest Gedolim of recent times.  He was strongly opposed by the Chareidi world, who saw him as lending legitimacy to the Zionist movement, but nevertheless greatly respected by their leadership, particularly Rav Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld zt"l, Rav of the Eidah Chareidis.  He passed in 1935, which predated the War of Independence and establishment of Israel by 13 years. 

One of the most important roles of the Chief Rabbinate (Rabbanut) , had nothing at all to do with the Zionist movement, and is perhaps one of the main reasons that Rav Kook allowed himself to get involved in such a thankless office.   Under Turkish law, which was the law of the land before World War I and continued to a great extent through the Mandate period and until today, matters of personal status such as marriage and divorce are handled by each person's religious authority, rather than by the government.  Thus it is necessary for a Muslim to go the Waqf to register a marriage, for a Christian to go the Ecclesiastical Authority, and for a Jew to go to the Rabbanut.   There is no such thing as a secular marriage or divorce, it must be handled through the Religious Authority.  The religious authorities are quasi-governmental bodies that are overseen by the Ministry of Religions (plural) for each ethnic/religious group.»
Libi BaMizrach: Avi Weiss and The End Of The Chief Rabbinate

Shalom and Best Regards,

MISTAKES are always forgivable
If you have the courage to admit them.

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