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?

Thanks to Jpost. Hat tip to Jewschool.

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  • Why are we hat-tipping about a story that has been all over the Jewish press? I thought, reading the press reports, that it was so commonplace that it didn’t merit blogging about. And yet, we now have two rabbi-trying-to-influence-voters-by-taking-advantage-of-people’s-faith posts on Jewlicious. Face it, folks, there are some elements in Israel that would have it become a Jewish version of Iran if they could pull it off.

  • Holy crap TM. No mainstream religious elements, even in the Haredi world, would create an entity that would come close to the political system that now exists in Iran. And by mainstream I am including all the existing religious/haredi parties. Iran?? Come on dude.

  • First of all, ck, it’s nice to see you back in circulation.

    Second, the site runs way better now. Thanks for fixing it. Do you have any idea why it won’t remember my info in the commenting area? It’s tiresome having to retype it in there.

    Third, I have to disagree about Iran and what certain elements of the population would like to see happen to the state of Israel. Admittedly, those folks are a very significant minority, but they have some powerful friends…

  • The hat tip was just because Muffti found the story on Jewschool first. Thassal. As for Iran, Muffti agrees with CK that the analogy is a little far fetched. But not far off…

  • Oh little Muddled One, these people would not turn Israel into Iran.

    Disneyland, maybe…

    These folks are not Israel’s ayatollahs. They are Israel’s Jesse Jacksons and Al Sharptons – experts at race-baiting and victimology politics. And it’s no accident that both these charlatans are “Reverend” gents.

    It’s most unfortunate that a scholar like R. Ovadiah has gotten himself so politically enmeshed. Or perhaps it’s just the modern version of the political haggling that pops up as far back as the Talmud – even in the Bible, prophets and kings were doing it.

    Anyone who knows anything about how Judaism and the Jewish people work knows that we will never suffer ayatollah-type tactics very long.

    Your Muddled whining is typical of secularized Jews who go ballistic at any public display of Orthodoxy.

  • Um, I do not go ballistic over public displays of Orthodoxy. I am not going ballisting over this at all. I merely pointed out that when you have a respected religious leader telling people that they violate religious laws by voting “incorrectly,” the resemblance is to imams in Iran. If you grant them power, the resemblance will be to the current Iran.

    Does anybody have a substantive response to that other than to tell me that it’s not a valid comparison?

  • Dear GM
    Have been traveling, and just got online after several days. pardon my absence.

    Let me take a read of the terrain here…and then I will try to say something coherent.

    But at three hours of sleep a night, and other time zones and no personal supply of proper coffee (that was a huge mistake) I am sure this may take a day at least to materialize.

    There is of course the well known curse placed on bloggers placed by the Merkaz Ha Shtuss, which would stop an average blogger dead in their tracks.

  • Muddle:

    It’s not a valid comparison – because the Imams’ statement is backed up with the heaps of severed limbs, burnt bodies, and other evidence of the violence that put them into power, and reinforced by the violent thug squads that patrol the country.

    Did you notice any of that during your last trip here, or in TV coverage of the courts these rabbis have built around them?

    No? Oh really?

    Just standard-issue political patronage? No kidding!

    And speaking of kidding – their pronouncements are widely, roundly ridiculed without anyone getting their hands chopped off for it?

    You don’t say!

    So we are left with the bald truth: this is another example of The Muddled One hastening to think the worst of Orthodoxy, and Orthodox Jews.

  • I’m sure we can find lots of differences between Israel and Iran, Israelis and Iranians, Israel’s political system and Iran’s political system, and their imams and some of our esteemed rabbis.

    That wasn’t my point. I’ll repeat it just in case I wasn’t clear. There are elements in Israel that would prefer to see Israel a country ruled by “Torah and God.” Their reading of what that means may be less violent than the imams in Teheran and then again, it may not. These people exist. Some of them want to see a Third Temple. Some of them are willing to blow up Arab mayors or Arab schoolgirls. Some are willing to call those who don’t think like them all kinds of vile names or simply exclude them from consideration as part of the Jewish people. They exist. They don’t hold power and they are far from having too much political power other than, say, as partners in coalitions. But they exist. Perhaps the muddle of which you’re thinking is the one where we see shit like this being said – again – by a particular leading rabbi with a large constituency and voices rise up and protect him or attack those who vilify him.

    That has nothing to do with all the Orthodox or with Orthodoxy. I don’t believe that the majority of the Orthodox buy into this garbage that he and Eliyahu expressed as quoted in these two respective posts. See? Simple.

  • I definitely would have voted for Shas if I could have because clearly Rav Ovadia Yosef’s voodoo and amulets is much more powerful (13 seats) than Rav Eliyav (5 seats). (By the way, this all fits into my theory that Sephardi Judaism is much better than those Gut Shabbos, Yiddish speking Ashkenazi Jews; The food’s better; the hebrew accent is coherent; and now their super-Rabbi powers are better too.)