Chacham Ovadiah Says He Opposes Sefer Toras Hamelech

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rav-ovadiah-yosefChacham Ovadiah Yosef, head of Shas’ Moetzet Chachmei Hatorah, said yesterday that he is opposed to the Sefer Toras Hamelech, at least partially because it is considered hisgarus ba’umos (antagonizing the nations).

“We should give considerable attention to the nations of the world and not assist in a writing that could be interpreted as racist,” Rav Ovadiah said. “The Torah respects everyone since everyone was created b’tzelem Elokim (in G-d’s image).”

Rav Yosef also added that “the petition against renting apartments to Arabs was also unnecessary.”

Sefer Toras Hamelech features a theoretical halachic discussion of killing a non-Jew during wartime.

Rabbi Dov Lior, chief rabbi of Kiryat Arba, was arrested and questioned earlier this week over his haskamah for the sefer. The arrest came after police had issued an arrest warrant for him when he did not report for questioning on the matter.

Rabbi Lior later told his talmidim that he did not cooperate with police since he had not broken any laws nor did he incite to violence or racial hatred. The sefer is one of theoretical halachic deductions, he said, and the real issue is one of free speech for rabbonim, equivalent to that for academics.

“I expressed an opinion on a specific issue,” he said. “People on the street told me that I’m suspected of inciting racial hatred and violence. I say that stating something like this about any rov in Israel is baseless libel. The rabbonim have never incited, not to violence and not to racial hatred.”

Rav Ovadiah Yosef’s son, Rav Yaakov Yosef, also gave a haskamah for Toras Hamelech. An arrest warrant was also issued for him, and he has also stated he will not cooperate with the police. It was reported yesterday that police have now set their sights on Rav Yaakov Yosef and are likely to arrest him in the next day or two.

Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv was also quoted by various sources as objecting to Toras Hamelech.

“There are people who do not understand that the Jewish people do not live only in Israel,” Rav Elyashiv was quoted as having said. “Such writings can bring danger to the lives of Jews abroad. We are playing with fire here and are endangering other Jews.”

{Yair Alpert-Matzav.com Israel}

6 COMMENTS

  1. As can be seen from Chacham Yosef,, fathers and sons do not always agree halachicly or hashgaficly with each others (as has been seen in many instances of gedolim and their sons).

    Interesting the quote from Rav Elyashuv shli”ta, ““Such writings can bring danger to the lives of Jews abroad” – but not to the lives of JEWS in ERETZ YISROEL.

  2. has this been verified by any one of note?
    “There are people who do not understand that the Jewish people do not live only in Israel,” Rav Elyashiv was quoted as having said. “Such writings can bring danger to the lives of Jews abroad. We are playing with fire here and are endangering other Jews.”

  3. There is a reason that when issuing a p;sak, a Posek insists on knowing all the smallest details about a shailah. A lot depends on context. If this book had been written in 1850, or even in 1950, it could have been passed off as an exercise in theory.

    In today’s atmosphere of conflict between groups of Jews and between Jews and Arabs in the Territories, there is definitely a question both of l’maaseh and of hashkafah. Simply publishing such a book in today’s atmosphere makes a statement itself. Printing a book is in a whole different category from saying a shiur in private. Given the present-day context, the book is inflammatory. If the rabbis in question had limited themselves to teaching their opinions in their own yeshivas to their own students, one could make a case for free speech. Openly publishing and advertising such a book right now is like throwing sparks on straw. The risk of a blaze is too great.

  4. “Interesting the quote from Rav Elyashuv shli”ta, ““Such writings can bring danger to the lives of Jews abroad” – but not to the lives of JEWS in ERETZ YISROEL.”
    Rabbi Elyashiv didn’t have to mention the Jews of Israel because their lives are constantly, incessantly, under attack and at risk from the local arab enemies within and without. It goes without saying that Israel is one dangerous place to be a Jew. Is that lashon Hara upon the land? I don’t think so.

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