Senior figures in the Israeli government or in the judicial system cannot join a minyan, according to Cholon’s Chief Rabbi Rav Avraham Yosef, who is also a representative on the Chief Rabbinate Council and son of Shas spiritual leader Rav Ovadia Yosef.
“It is forbidden to allow them to participate or to integrate them in any shul liturgy,” Yosef said. “We must ignore their existence, as if they were just air.”
During the program on halachic issues he presents each morning on ultraradio station Kol Chai, Rav Yosef addressed the question of who is worthy of serving as a chazzan on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Whoever sends his children to learn in secular schools, he said, or brings his companions before courts which do not rule in accordance with the Torah, cannot take this role.
He also detailed what the judges in such courts should face: “The judge himself, even if he knows how to pray very well, even if he knows how to do everything excellently – from the moment he was appointed judge he made himself unworthy of joining a minyan,” the rabbi said. “Even if he promises that all his rulings will be in keeping with the Shulchan Aruch, he has still lifted his hand against the Toras Moshe and is not worthy of joining anything holy.”
Later, in response to a question from a visitor to the Moreshet website, Rav Yosef clarified that his ruling includes anyone working in the State Prosecutor’s Office or police investigation branch.
“Recently… some religious judges have been appointed with yarmulkes on their heads which makes it seem as if the court is ruling according to our holy Torah,” he said, adding that this was a gross distortion.
“According to our holy Torah, a single judge can never be appointed, and according to our holy Torah it is forbidden to sit in a court appointed by the State of Israel,” he continued. “The State of Israel rules and judges according to the laws of the nations… A man who fears God will keep away from a person like this – and not include him in any holy act or in any prayer.”