Agudath Israel Blasts Lieberman Critics


chaim-dovid-zweibel-1The executive vice president of Agudath Israel of America expressed disappointment with Jewish activists who have attempted to use Judaism – and Senator Joseph Lieberman’s personal Jewish observance – to criticize the Connecticut lawmaker for his opposition to a Congressional health care bill that contains a “public option.”Some religious representatives of Jewish and other groups have accused Mr. Lieberman, because of his opposition to a particular version of the health care reform bill, of not properly expressing his religion’s ideals. One group, the Philadelphia-based Shalom Center, has gone so far as to call on the senator to “do teshuva” and “bring… the values of an ‘observant Jew’ to the public service of the American people.”

“One can argue the details of the health care bill in good faith,” said Rabbi Chaim Dovid Zwiebel. “But to claim that one or another position on those details is mandated by the Jewish faith is simplistic at best.”

“The rabbis of the Mishneh,” the Agudath Israel leader noted, “taught that Torah should not be ‘made into a shovel with which to dig’ – that people should not appropriate the mantle of Judaism to promote their own personal or political convictions. The Torah has much to say about caring for the sick. But turning it into a tool to promote a particular provision of a health care plan – or into a bat with which to pummel an outstanding public servant who happens to think that provision is objectionable – dishonors the Torah.”

It is ironic, Rabbi Zwiebel added, “that people who are usually disapproving of anything that smacks of mixing religious beliefs and politics here are so harshly criticizing an observant Jew for not hewing to their particular notion of ‘faith and religious tradition’ with regard to the health care debate.”

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  1. Yeah!! Go Rabbi Zweibel and stand up against leiberman who supports partial birth (when the baby is breathing on its own) .and said on national radio that he doesnt say shelo asani guy and shelo asani eisha bec his libralism comes before his Judaism. defending Leibermen is a chillul hatorah!! (and not mentchlich)

  2. “taught that Torah should not be ‘made into a shovel with which to dig’

    Although the Mussar doesn’t change, there is an inaccuracy of translation here. Kardom does not mean shovel, it means axe. Chazal specifically used this word in context to express that just like an axe is the wrong tool for digging, using Torah Shlo Lshem Shomayim is wrong.