Don’t like Israel’s haredi-controlled Chief Rabbinate and say or do anything about that, even something completely non-violent and legal? If you do, you’re a rodef (pursuer), a person who under halakha (Orthodox Jewish law) can be murdered by any Jew to stop the rodef from completing his mission.
Above: Rabbi Shlomo Aviner
Rabbis Who “Harass” Israel’s Chief Rabbinate Are Rodefs, Leading Right-Wing Rabbi Says
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
Don’t like Israel’s haredi-controlled Chief Rabbinate and say or do anything about that, even something completely non-violent and legal?
If you do, you’re a rodef (pursuer), a person who under halakha (Orthodox Jewish law) can be murdered by any Jew to stop the rodef from completing his mission.
That is the ruling of Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, a leading right-wing Zionist Orthodox rabbi – although Aviner is trying to claim he didn't really mean it, the Jerusalem Post reported.
Writing in the Olam Katan (Small World) weekly Torah brochure (parsha sheet) distributed in synagogues throughout Israel, Aviner wrote that critics of the Chief Rabbinate (in this specific case, liberal Zionist Orthodox and Modern Orthodox rabbis who have launched their own conversion courts) have the status of “din rodef [a person judged by halakha to be a pursuer who can be killed in cold blood].”
“Din rodef” is normally applied only in the heat of the moment as one person is chasing after another to kill him. In a case like that, a bystander is permitted to kill the pursuer (unless there is another way of stopping him, like calling police or simply subduing him).
But the concept of rodef has been expanded in rabbinic discourse to include politicians supporting bills or other political acts – like peace treaties with Arab governments and the Palestinians – that rabbis believe endanger the people of Israel, and to include other people whose actions endanger Orthodox rabbinic control over key life-cycle issues in Israel, like marriage, divorce and conversion. In the months before Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated by a right-wing Zionist Orthodox assassin with a haredi background, leading right-wing rabbis ruled Rabin had the status of “din rodef,” and those rulings are widely believed to have played a causative role in Rabin’s murder.
In an ask the rabbi column in Olam Katan, Aviner was asked, “How should one relate to a rabbi who harasses the chief rabbinate?”
“Very severely,” Aviner responded. “[Former Zionist Orthodox Ashkenazi Chief] Rabbi Avraham [Kahana] Shapira said that such a person has ‘din rodef’ against the Jewish people.”
Aviner told the Jerusalem Post he did not mean to imply that rabbis who “harass” or go agains the chief rabbinate should be killed.
“Anyone who makes that interpretation should either be put on trial for incitement to murder or evaluated psychiatrically as mentally ill and institutionalized,” Aviner reportedly said.
When pressed by the Post, Aviner further explained his response in Olam Katan.
“Just like there is one prime minister and one military chief of staff, so too there can only be one chief rabbinate,” Aviner said. He reportedly only partially explained what he meant by “harassing the chief rabbinate” and refused to say what the practical implications are of ruling that people who do “harass” the chief rabbinate have the status of “din rodef.”
[Hat Tip: Karel Teifer.]