Feb 13, 2023
In our previous episode, Scott talked with Shoshanna Keats-Jaskoll about the challenge to faith that takes place when some rabbis betray their calling by not acting as they should. When leaders fail us, they leave wreckage in their wake - the wreckage of failed expectations, of disappointment, of crisis, and of course the practical issues like, as Shoshanna related, needing to wait years for a get and more.
This episode is a type of follow-up to last week’s. The Israeli Chief Rabbinate was formed with positive goals in mind, and there are some wonderful representatives of Torah Judaism who work for that institution. But as Lord Acton said in 1887, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” We’re certainly not there yet, but political power in the hands of the Rabbinate - which is the case in Israel in certain areas of Halacha, such as marriage, divorce, conversion, and kashrut - has led to serious problems that are themselves violations of Torah. And while presumably most rabbis in the Rabbinate have noble goals, the reality of the Rabbinate brings to mind a different aphorism: The road to hell is paved with good intentions.
Rabbi Aaron Leibowitz, the founder and President of Hashgacha Pratit, decided to do something about it. You might agree with his solutions, and you might not. Some of what he suggests may sound quite radical. But either way, remember that we often witness a repeating pattern: that there’s a serious problem that leadership fails to address, so someone else decides to do something - and then is condemned by the leadership that failed to act. Our response should be that if leadership wants a response or solution that it can accept, then leadership shouldn’t drag its feet and wait for someone else to do something.
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Music: "Happy Rock" by bensound.com