YCT “Rosh Yeshiva” Dov Linzer Encourages Giving Money To Rebuild Churches


dov linzerDov Linzer, the “rosh yeshiva” of the ultra-controversial Open Orthodox Yeshivat Chovevei Torah school, has called from frum Jews to give money to rebuild churches. Linzer recognizes that leading poskim have forbade doing so, but says that he disagrees,  explaining that, in his mind, Christianity does not have a din of avodah zarah. He actually calls this a “widely accepted ruling” despite the fact that poskim disagree.

The following is a full message issued by Linzer regarding this matter:


Given the recent horrific attack in Charleston and the terrible burnings of churches that has occurred in the last few days, I encourage all of you to show your support for those who have been attacked, and to act in a way of kiddush shem Shamayim to counteract these terrible hate crimes.

One way you can do this is by donating money to help in the rebuilding of these churches. While there are poskim who rule otherwise (see Melamed li’hoyil 188:2), a number of recent poskim have dealt with this issue on a halakhic basis and ruled that it is totally permissible and at times even obligatory. This is based on the widely accepted ruling that Christianity is not avoda zara for non-Jews. Thus, helping non-Jews in their permissible worship of God can in no way be considered מסייע לדבר עבירה, a form of aiding transgressive behavior. Some of these teshuvot have pointed out that church buildings are often repurposed as synagogues, and this again points to the non-halakhically problematic status of these buildings. Relatedly, Rav Moshe (YD 1:68) ruled that an architect can draw up the plans for the construction of a church, and that mi’ikar ha’din it is permitted to actually participate in the building of a church (and this is even without the argument that it is not avoda zara for them!).

There are some halakhic issues when giving to avoda zara directly implicates the giver in the avoda itself (see YD 149:4 and 143), but that is not relevant to this case.

I am attaching 3 contemporary teshuvot, all thanks to Marc Shapiro, who is the shoel of the teshuva of Rav Meshash, and who make the argument as outlined above.

I would like to quote in particular from the teshuva of the Mateh Levi, both the question and a section from the beginning and end of the answer:

ביום א’ של שבוע זה נאספו פה אנשים אשר לא בני בריתנו המה (קאטהאליקים) ובאסיפה זאת נגמר בדעתם לבנות להם בית תפילה בעירנו. ובאשר הם מתי מספר מעט מזעיר זאת העצה היעוצה להם לשאול מאת היהודים אשר פה נדבות אחדות לבנינם ובטח גם אלי יפנו בימים הבאים. לכן הנני בבקשתי שייטיב ידידי להודיעני אם מותר לתת נדבה לדבר זה כי קדוש ה’ הוא אחרי אשר הכהן הקאטהאלי מלא פיו שבח והודיה לנדבת לב בני ישראל לסמוך ידי אחיהם בדברים של קדושה. אמנם ללמוד אני צריך וכדבריו כן אעשה… דן בנרש

תשובה: ידעת גם ידעת ידידי נ”י כי רבים וכן שלמים מגדולי הקדמונים התירו והקילו בענינים האלה משום דרכי שלום ומשום איבה וע”י כך נעשו בין האחרונים שתי דרכים נפרדות שאף אותם הגדולים שכתבו להחמיר לא כתבו רק להלכה ולא למעשה… ואני כל ימי ראיתי שאין אמת אלא אחת ומה שאינו עולה יפה למעשה גם להלכה אינו. על כן אני אומר אין אני זז מן האמת לא משום דרכי שלום ולא משום איבה. אבל לאחר העיון נראה שהדין דין אמת וכל דרכי התורה לאמתה דרכי נועם וכל נתיבות הדין שלום…

ועל כל הדרכים האלה נגיע לתכלית הדבר ופשוט אצלנו שאין כאן שום איסור כלל וכיון שאיסורא ליכא ממילא הדין עם ידידי נ”י שמצוה נמי איכא היינו מצות קדוש שמו הגדול [וידוע כי שר הגדול בישראל אשר לא ישכח שמו במחנה העברים כש”ת מוה’ משה מנטפיורע ז”ל קדש ש”ש ע”י זה שבנה להם בית תפלה ברמסנט] על ידי עמו ישראל ויראו כל עמי הארץ שאנחנו יהודים נאמנים עתידים בכל שעה למסור את נפשנו באהבה בעד קידוש השם שהוא ד’ אחד ושמו אחד ולהשליך את כל יהבנו ואת כל כבודנו בעולם הזה בעבור אמונתנו הקדושה…וכלנו מודים שכל מי שאינו ישראל יכול להיות אחד מחסידי וגדולי עולם ובני עולם הבא…

Rabbi Dov Linzer
Rosh HaYeshiva
Yeshivat Chovevei Torah Rabbinical School

Linzer has been the rabbinic head of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah since its founding in 1999. He was named its dean, assuming ultimate responsibility of both the religious studies and the professional training, in October, 2007.

In 2003, Linzer wrote an article, “Towards a More Balanced Wedding Ceremony,” describing ways of creating a more “gender-balanced” wedding ceremony while keeping within the letter and the spirit of Jewish Law. His “innovative” suggestion was that of a halazhic two-ring ceremony, informally known as the “Linzer Two-Ring Ceremony.” A standard frum wedding has only the chosson giving a ring to the kallah. In contrast, Linzer’s model has the kallah giving a ring immediately after the chosson does so, in the presence of witnesses, and serving a substantive halachic function.

Linzer has been reported in the New York Jewish Week as having asserted that the sages of the Talmud were unconcerned with a person’s religious beliefs; that, in the article’s words, “it was Maimonides who introduced the concept that Jews must adhere to basic dogmas, and even he was not consistent in his demands for such adherence.”

He has also asked, as a “reasonable question,” whether we “should we be bending the halakhah to conform to our modern notions of egalitarianism.” It is, he decides, “a reasonable question to ask and a hard one to answer.”

Linzer, in an article about perceived inequities in the Gemara toward non-Jews, shows that although some opinions in Chazal can be read to give non-Jews more equitable standing in the limited area of the article’s discussion, “the halakha follows the interpretation that the Gemara gives to the statements of the Tana’im and Amora’im. Nevertheless, many committed Jews are often left feeling that even when halakhic solutions are being found, they run counter to the ethos of the system, and are to some degree disingenuous and lacking in integrity. ‘Should we be bending the halakha to conform to our modern notions of egalitarianism?’ is a reasonable question to ask and a hard one to answer. An honest answer requires finding within the Talmud those voices that articulate those same values that are driving us” (Milin Havivin journal, vol. 1, p. 36).

Another of Rabbi Linzer’s written statements warrant mention here. In the Jerusalem Report Magazine November 2004 edition, Rabbi Linzer in a signed article wrote, “As an Orthodox Jew, I have to struggle not just with G-d ‘s presence in the world, but with His commandments as well. Some of these do not seem to square with a good, just G-d. The command to destroy Amalek and the Canaanite nations, the death penalty for one who… [engages in toeiva], the inability of a woman to terminate a failed marriage—to pretend that these are not profound problems or that they are consistent with G-d’s goodness is, for me, not an option. I choose to take the path of Yisrael, to face these problems and to struggle with them…”

{Gavriel Sitrit-Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. I wouldn’t focus on their religious activities. But we should definitely start teaching our children and Bochurom, that all of mankind, adults and children, Yiddishe and Non-Yiddishe, are precious in the eyes of the Creator, Hashem Yisborach.

    Halevai, that our children should see, that we worry about the well-being of every person and we make an effort, not to exclude any person, from our Teffilohs. Especially when we Daven for Refuah Shleimo, we must never exclude Non-Yidden who are R”L not well.

    That will strengthen our empathy and concern for all Human Beings, for Yidden and for Non-Yidden, regardless of what kind of mother they were born to. That will be M’oirer Rachmei Shomayim.

    HKB”H will, Never-Again, instigate any Hatred or Pogroms or Holocausts against us.

  2. This open ended “orthodox” movement will descend in to total כפירה בהקב”ה there is a specific לאו in the torah של לא תחנם
    The reform religion didn’t descent in to כפירה בתורת משה in one fell swoop they started slowly just like the open ended “orthodox” are doing now.
    In one generation they will be where the conservative are now.

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  4. Let him start by asking Riskin for a donation….he’s a fan of “Rabbi J”…..
    al EILEH ani bochia,,,,,,,,,,,

  5. He’s right. What’s the difference between a Christian church and his? From his standpoint if you can support him you can support Christian churches.

  6. Rabbosai, it’s right before the three weeks. Let’s focus on achdus. We can leave the kano’us to the gedolim, who unlike us, are on a level where can criticize and mean it kulo l’shmo.

  7. Greed more than anything else drives a church yard to its better days. They are not our Jewish faith.

    I would them a quarter and that is all. That might be a mitzvah. Maybe I could helped to keep some roof over their head. That is all I could give to an Esav existence.

    In the mean time, why would an orthodox jew give a penny to the christian faith if it is just going to tell us that “Jexus is g(o)d”. That is so ignorant that even the grapes on Noah’s Ark were buried alive.

    So many ignorant people on the world and half of them of course go after my faith and my G-ds ways.

    Will it ever end? This is not the exact blessing I think that orthodoxy needs but the nice thing is that Hashem helps us through the hate.


    Twenty five American cents to Esav if he has no roof over his head for eternity. Thats all Jacob can give. And if Jacob really cares, maybe Jacob can just smile and let Esav find a new fox hole in his dreams. We do not need another Iraq.

    G-d bless America.

    I doubt I will have Hashem ask me to give that fifty cent piece to their hate.