Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Charedi World

29 Adar II 5760 - April 5, 2000 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








Sponsored by
Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network

Produced and housed by

Religious Lobby in Knesset Opposes Proposal to Change the Status Quo

by E. Rauchberger

A stormy meeting last week of the Knesset Religious Lobby saw emphatic opposition to the enactment of laws permitting Shabbos desecration and civil marriages. These proposals to change the status quo were in a bill presented by Nochum Langenthal (Mafdal). The bill would redraw the acceptable lines and allow certain serious violations of Torah law "in exchange" for secular agreement to respect other areas. The basic ideas have been kicked around for years by secular Jews and some religious Jews. The chareidi community has not been involved.

Chairman of the Religious Lobby, Rabbi Shmuel Halpert, was shocked at Langenthal's attempt to change the status quo and to enact laws violating the Torah in exchange for "dubious achievements," especially without having first consulted with the gedolei haTorah. In his remarks, Rabbi Halpert mentioned Mafdal's battle forty years ago over the enactment of the Shabbos Law, and the stern opposition of the gedolei haTorah at that time to this law granting permits for Shabbos desecration.

Rabbi Avrohom Ravitz warned that every clause of this proposal must be examined individually, and that before voting for it one must be absolutely certain that it will result in the strengthening of Yiddishkeit and not the opposite. He stressed that each aspect of the proposal must follow guidelines of the gedolei haTorah.

Deputy Religious Affairs Minister Yigal Bibi (Mafdal) warned of attempts to enact laws which undermine the sanctity of Shabbos. He said: "The Shabbos-observant sector in the country is expanding, and in time, we will overcome the Shabbos desecraters and lawbreakers who open their businesses on Shabbos in violation of the law."

Nochum Langenthal said that he was motivated to propose such a law in order to prevent polarization between the secular and religious sectors. He also promised not to present any proposal which would be unacceptable to all members of the Religious Lobby.

All material on this site is copyrighted and its use is restricted.
Click here for conditions of use.