Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

25 Iyar 5760 - May 31, 2000 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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Opinion & Comment
Judicial Activism Strikes Again

by P. Chovav

The justices of the High Court, who recently handed down the disgraceful decision regarding women's prayer service at the Kosel Hamaarovi, are currently scrutinizing the chareidi papers, in order to ascertain whether its reactions have not broken the law, which forbids contempt of court.

The High Court, doesn't particularly like legitimate criticism. Every shred of criticism of its decisions is rejected at the outset, and defined as incendiary. All they want to do, now, is to deflect the issue from "the intolerable intervention of the High Court in social values," to the issue of "defending the essence of the law from chareidi aggression."

The best scenario, they think, would be, if they could point to chareidi Jewry as the sector that is responsible for undermining the rule of law in the state.

An entire team of religion haters is now scanning, with a magnifying glass, every word of criticism against the High Court. If even one sentence, which is too sharp for their tastes is be found, they will find a way to report that bodyguards have been assigned to protect the judges, from potential murdererss. Such a report will turn the picture inside out, and the judges will be transformed from persecutors to the persecuted, while traditional Jewry will be presented as hostile and dangerous.

Sorry to disappoint you, your honor, but here you won't find the business you seek. The chareidi sector no longer requires explanations about the nature of these judges. They've already established their "reputation" by means of their previous decisions.

The position of Torah loyal Jewry doesn't have to be printed black on white. It is imbedded deep in the hearts of each one of us, in inner recesses which they cannot reach. There one may think and reflect without fear. There, everyone is free to tell himself things which the law forbids expressing.

In the long history of the Jewish people, there were periods in which Jews were obligated to refrain from criticizing the enemies of religion. With Hashem's kindness, we endured those periods, and b'siyato d'Shmayo will live through the current exile under Jewish rule.

Yet in the margins of this disgraceful decision, it is impossible not to note two interesting points.

One of the women who appealed to permit these ladies to pray beside the Kosel was amazed by the High Court's ruling. "We ourselves were very surprised by it," she said. "We had already planned an announcement to the press in respect to the rejection of the appeal, calling the ruling a slap in the face of every Jewish woman."

Hard to believe. The petitioners themselves were surprised by the High Court's decision. They never dreamed that the High Court would ever decide in their favor. In essence, they knew the truth, which is that to comply with their request makes absolutely no sense. Their entire purpose, then, was a provocation for publicity's sake. But the High Court dared to execute what the petitioners never even dreamed would materialize. Could there be any stronger proof that the High Court operates illogically, than the declaration made by the representatives of the petitioners?

Another point, we generally assume that this self- described "Women of the Wall" group is comprised mainly of Reform and Conservative women. However, this is not the case. The only avowedly Reform member that group is its leader, a Meretz member of the Jerusalem Municipality. The others are of a totally different mettle, and describe themselves as Orthodox. And they see no contradiction between their so- called Orthodoxy, and their demand to be allowed to wear talleisim and to read from the Torah at the Kosel.

Over the years, the term "Orthodox" has become a chess piece in the hands of those who distort religion. Today we must know, that not everyone who calls himself Orthodox is really so. Slowly, a new sect has developed, somewhere between the Reform, the Conservatives and the Orthodox, which in the meantime hasn't found the right name for itself, and presents itself as Orthodox.

This trend is very well known in the area of conversions. Jews who are defined as Orthodox, and even those who avowedly belong to the Orthodox rabbinate, have decided to "erase" all sorts of paragraphs that they don't like from the Shulchan Oruch. They collude with the Reform and the Conservative, reach "understandings" and "agreements" with them and "delete " halochos which are not convenient for them, while preferring to still call themselves Orthodox.

This trend is expanding every day and it should be cause for alarm. Whoever follows the hashkofa articles that appear in the National Religious newspaper Hatzofeh constantly encounters this trend. More and more elements, who brazenly and consciously call to espouse the adapting of the halocho to the mood of Israeli society, insist on calling themselves Orthodox.

The provocation which these women initiated by a supposedly Orthodox group underscores in bold, the need to find this sect a suitable name. If we don't wake up on time, we are liable to find the members of this "Orthodox" sect representing Orthodox Jewry and speaking in its name.

The High Court might one day even include some of this type of Orthodox judges in its ranks in order to present itself as representing the various streams of Judaism.

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