Rav Avraham Yosef: It’s Okay to Sit Next to a Woman, Blames Media for Playing Up the Issue

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rav-avraham-yosefRav Ovadia Yosef has yet to address the so-called “exclusion of women” issue which the left-wing media in Israel is having an absolute field day with. But his son, Cholon Chief Rabbi Rav Avraham Yosef on Wednesday slammed the “kosher” bus lines phenomenon.

“There is no exclusion when it comes to a strange woman,” he said in regards of gender segregation supporters. “Apart from touching, apart from looking, apart from smelling any good smell she may have put on herself, we should not be interested in anything else.”

In an interview to Kol Barama Radio, Rav Yosef explained that during a meeting with a woman in the public sphere, “we must ignore, take our glasses off, look down.”

The interviewer, Mordechai Lavi, mentioned an incident in which a man scolded a blind woman sitting at the front of a bus. Rav  Yosef responded, “He is a stupid man, and unfortunately there countless stupid people… If he doesn’t like it, he should get up and leave…

“It’s insolent, it’s a basic lack of understanding… It’s foolish and has nothing to do with fear of God.”

As for the public which adopts such a strict lifestyle, hesaid: “There are things that become popular and have nothing to do with Halacha. There are things which were done in the past generation, which I am not sure the great Torah sages were asked about… That has never been our way.”

He stressed, however, that he did not know whether his father had signed a letter in support of the “kosher” buses.

Rav  Yosef went on to clarify, “I’m not rising against anything, God forbid. I have no plans to be popular on the secular side, but have no plans to be popular on the charedi side either.”

He slammed the media for its extensive coverage of the issue, saying: “You don’t know how much television and the non-Jewish radio, and I stress – non-Jewish, ignite hatred, and within the public people are asking questions in order to simply understand what they have seen or heard the day before…

“I don’t think it’s my job to address every incitement, every insane person… We won’t do God’s work.”

Earlier this week, Israel’s chief rabbis responded harshly to the demand by some to operate “kosher” bus lines in charedi neighborhoods. Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger said the charedi public had not right to impose its opinion on the rest of the population.

“We can’t be the world’s landlords. This isn’t the charedi public’s country,” the chief rabbi said in an interview to Kol Barama Radio. “We have no authority to impose our opinion on others. This is a public place.”

Addressing the incident in which a female passengers was ordered to sit in the back of a bus traveling from Ashdod to Yerushalayim, Rav Metzger added that “if we want separation, setting up a special bus company for certain lines is legitimate, and then we’ll be the landlords.

“But as long as they pay like we do, and it’s a public company which doesn’t only serve the charedi public – what can we do?”

The office of Sephardic Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar said in a statement to Ynet, “A person can be strict about himself, but not about others. If the charedim want to be strict on their own buses, let them. But imposing it on other people is irrelevant.”

{Ynet/Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. But they asked for their own line, and were denied? Why?
    If they are living in a democratic country, what’s to stop them from having their own line? Competition? Well, that’s the hallmark of a great society? But alas, they were denied such rights…What gives????Anybody have the answer. What’s right is right?

  2. al pee halacha you don’t have to wear tzitzis and a yarlmulka as well. There are alot of things that are put in place as a geder and seyug to the torah. In Pirkei Uvos it says ???? ??? ?????, you should make a gate around the torah, so you shouldn’t get even close to be oiver on an isur torah. This what the Chassidim were always stressing, to go as far as possible specialy when it comes to ????? ?????. So a lot of things are not hallacha, but are like a geder around the hallacha.

  3. There should be absolutely no problem for a hauband and wife to sit together on a bus my wife and I. Boarded a full bus and had packages in yerushalayim my wife wanted me to help her to sit with her amd the kids together a young yerushalmi boy was harrasing us until we got off and started calling us names for sitting together in actuality I didn’t realize that it was seperate seating until we were on the way we were only visiting for the sumer what happened to bein adam lchaveiro theis causes a lot o hatres to us and to the secular community

  4. The previous comments on this topic have made the issue much more relevant than you’ve obscured; including: the impossibility of LEGALLY making private bus companies until now (and BOY! have we tried…); the constant congestion which renders sensitive issues regarding forbidden interaction almost an impossibility to avoid; the fact that secularists always have alternate options with virtually no inconvenience, and the vicious attempts at silencing the obvious support that the vast majority of Gedolei Torah have for the operation of Mehadrin busses.

    Read what you’ve quoted again: Rav Avraham Yosef DID NOT “slam” these busses the way you’ve misinterpreted him.

    I told you news [noise] reporters already to stop your obsession about this; and, in addition you have deleted my comment to you noisemakers to start becoming MORE JEWISH and LESS GREEK!

  5. #5. Ain hachi nami, when and where they were not common they gave the appearance of haughtiness (mirror, mirror on the wall: who’s the frummest of them all?). In any case, these are things which do not infringe on others. The separate buses do.

  6. No one is boarding buses that run between non-frum neighborhoods and demanding that people sit separately.

    The government refuses to break Egged’s monopoly and allow charedim to run their own bus lines (like the Monsey bus, for example).

    The few places where other bus lines have been allowed to run – like Beitar – the buses are mehadrin with no problem.

    The hypocrisy of those who are trying to exploit this issue is mind-boggling. Everything has to be tolerated, except anything the chareidim do that has to do with kedushah….


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