Maybe Rabbi Yonah could be so kind as to post something informative as to whether or not curses on current political leaders is an abuse of power on behalf of Rabbis of Influence.
In any case, not to be outdone by the similar looking Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef came out swinging with a healthy mixture of religious cursing and political manouvering. The great Rabbi had the following to say:
Cursed be those for they did not come to the aid of God; Cursed be he who does not fulfill the word of this Torah to do them. I make a halaha [Jewish law] that one must vote and influence Shas.
Muffti isn’t sure what ‘influence Shas’ means, but the rest is pretty clear. No shaatnez, no pork, no seeing your sister naked, and no voting for any party other than Shas.
Or is it? Shas Chairman Eli Yishai was quick to downplay the Rabbi’s intent by providing some incoherent spin:
I never deny the things that the Rabbi says, but rather I explain his intent, because there are those who don’t understand his Biblical and Talmudic language…He does not in any sense curse those who do not vote Shas. The rabbi speaks the word of Living God.
Ah, so the real problem is that the Living God speaks in Biblical and Talmudic language which we can’t understand but Eli Yishai can? Muffti is confused beyond words. It is pretty important to get clear on these things, since Israeli law prohibits:
Lobbying to vote or not to vote via oath, curse, excommunication, promise to bless, or by giving amulets.
Buttons and stickers are ok, but amulets aren’t. How about +3 rings of fortune? The amulet ruling came about in 1996 when Shas outdid poll expectations following a round of amulet giving. In Muffti’s humble opinion, anyone who will be influenced to vote by the gift of an amulet maybe isn’t intellectually qualified to vote in the first place.
In any case, the Rabbi’s current comments are less disturbing than ones he allegedly made on Friday, where he (allegedly) proclaimed:
anyone who votes for Kadima will fall backwards into Hell.
Muffti supposes that anyone who votes Labour will fall forward into Hell. There has been some controversy as to whether or not Yosef actually used (the hebrew equivalent for the) word ‘hell’, but no retractions from the man who allegedly uttered it himself.
Or maybe there was one! Or maybe by ‘hell’ the Rabbi intended something else just as by ‘curse’ he meant, ummn, something else. In these times, who understands the biblical and talmudic words of the Living God well enough to tell?