Agudath Israel Scores California “Marriage” Decision


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agudah111.jpgNEW YORK – Reacting to the California Supreme Court’s ruling today that “Teoiva” couples in that state have a constitutional right to marry, an Agudath Israel of America leader called the decision “profoundly offensive and dangerous.”

“In light of California’s domestic partnership law, this decision is entirely and only about the word ‘marriage’ and the concept it conveys,” continued Rabbi David Zwiebel, Agudath Israel’s executive vice president for government and public affairs.  “As such, by reading a radical redefinition of the term into California’s constitution, the court has taken a stance that vilifies communities like ours and the countless other Americans who consider the institution of marriage in its traditional form to be the foundation not only of family but of civilized society.
“It effectively sends the message that traditional religious beliefs, based on the Bible and the Jewish religious tradition, are bigotry.  That may be the court’s opinion, but there is a Higher Authority that deeply differs.”


  1. First of all, who cares. I don’t understand why the olam hatorah cares about this. It does not impact our lives. Get over it.

    Second, I think Zwiebel’s comment is curious: “It effectively sends the message that traditional religious beliefs, based on the Bible and the Jewish religious tradition, are bigotry. That may be the court’s opinion, but there is a Higher Authority that deeply differs.”

    Really? Differs? Last I checked, there is no word for “bigotry” in lashon kodesh. The ‘Higher Authority’ takes no position on whether or not it is bigotry. It may well be bigotry and still be assur. Bigotry is a Western concept, not a torah one. To say that Hashem doesn’t consider this to be bigotry is a small minded statement in my view.

  2. to berel shain.. obviously the “olam Hatorah” cares about it because this way of life is contrary to our torah beliefs and im assuming youre part of the Jewish “olam”… dont be naieve that it has no impact…everything in this world has an impact on the Jews

  3. #1, have youever heard of the sheva mitzvos shel bnei noah? And on being Or L’Goyim?

    Why we care? Because HaShem does, because among GOYIM there are secular JEWS! Berelshain, no one said that you make small minded statements, why the loshn hara?

  4. You have to realize that these public statements have to be as politically correct as possible, yet convery some sort of substantial message. I personally know what a talmud chocom Rabbi Zweibel is and think this comment is utterly of base (number one).

    However, we must realize that since we post comments online anonymously, we may forget to think them through completely. This is unfortunate.

    Elie Rechanik
    Agudath Israel of America

  5. “I don’t understand why the olam hatorah cares about this”

    because the Abishter cares about this. He has commanded about this. Open a Chumash.

  6. #1, there is going to be a major societal shift. Publicly stating that one disagrees with this new definition of marriage is going to be considered bigotry or hate speech.

  7. #1 it does cioncern us

    in a few years (maybe sooner), rabbonim will stop doing “legal” weddings, because it is too similar to our chupa ve’kiddushin.

    and our politiciansm (the “heimishe” ones) dont care, dont do nothing, and some even promote it. (and i’m not “sol from flatbush”)

  8. Berel; where is your head?
    Approving of this lifestyle effects us and our children, when the world accepts these behaviors it makes the Torah chas v’shalom look outdated antiquated and bigited. It is hard enough dealing with Agunah issues (“how can halach allow a man to devorce his wife against her will yet keep her married by refusing to give a get under the worst
    conditions?’)or more juvenile whats wrong with TV, internet, video games, etc. the world around us and its morale values or lack there of effects us and you should reevaluate if you disagree. (v’huraya if surroundings don’t influence us,why was it a big deal that yakov had lived with Lavon and kept the mitzvos?)

    B,He said the state’s ruling makes us the olam hatorah (and all truly morale people) look like bigots. Yes the higher authority aka GOD or Hashem wrote, these things are not only forbidden but To’ava as well. For the state to say it is fine, it is in essence saying the Torah its Author and its adherents are bigots (yisroel v’oriyas v’Kiudisha birch hu chod hu!)
    go back and read Chiam Dovids words

  9. I agreement some what with number 1, who cares if the non Jews wish to marry in this fashion it has no impact on the truth of our Torah or our lives. After this is their Contury they should run it as they see fit as long as it does not infrenge on our beliefs and way of life.

    I would not expect them to act any differently!

  10. to berelshain: the talmud teaches us that a saving grace for the nations of the world is that they do not write a kesubah (legal marriage)for toeiva couples

    the former Senate chaplain in Washington, D.C., said,As quoted by Rabbi Yisachar Frand “We demand freedom without restraint, rights without responsibility, choice without consequences, and pleasure without pain. In our narcissistic, hedonistic, masochistic, valueless preoccupation we are becoming a people dominated by lust and greed.

  11. Look, marriage in America is a legal state anyway, it’s not religious. Thats why we get “married” by a Rabbi. The goyim also do it, they are married by men of the cloth. That won’t change, so what, eventually all the states will allow SS marriage. we just need to worry about strengthening ourselves and bringing Moshaich, because these are certainly the times of Sedom. It’s sickening.

  12. BREAKING NEWS! After reading Rabbi Zwiebel’s comment, the California Supreme Court has unanimously reversed itself! Who said that the Agudah was irrelevant?!

  13. Wow!
    If anyone had any doubts as to the whereabouts of Mashiach…..
    He’s gotta be close by!!
    Let’s all get our act together ASAP

  14. To Berelshain:
    This ruling from the California Supreme Court is far more dangerous than it seems.
    The people of California already voted(proposition 22) that they are against toeiva marriage. These Judges are legislating from the bench and this is in essence against the US Constitution. Four ACLU Judges overrode the will of the people!
    Lets not forget that Adolf Hitler YM”S who was actually elected by a vote then decided after his election to have judges make the law, without the people having any say. The Nuremberg Laws were laws made by judges . The people of Germany as evil as they were would never have voted these laws into law.
    Its important for not only Agudah to stand up against this atrocity, but for every American who wants a free country to scream against Judges legislating from the bench.

  15. berel, I disagree.

    If you live in CA, and, possibly even elsewhere, it does affect your life, for a number of reasons.

    For example, the Bnei Reuven should not have been drawn into Korach’s rebellion – but they were, Rashi says, because of Oy LaRasha, Oy LiShcheinav.

    So, while this obviously will not make Jews consider toeva as “marriage”, Chas ViShalom, its influence is there, and it’s troublesome, indeed.

    Not to mention that if it’s legit, you will see more people in the street acting in a way that indicated that this is their “lifestyle”. Do you want to see that? Do you think children should be exposed to that and what kind of explanation would be needed to give them? Not a good idea.

    As to the “bigotry” line, I think you misunderstood him. Of course it’s not bigotry and the Torah is, obviously not defending itself that it is not bigotry, so the word is irrelevant. What the Torah’s prohibition on mishkav Zachar is, however, is the true, just, and correct path.

    Therefore, for the judge to rule against the Torah in such a blatant way, indicates that the Judge feels it is bigoted. Since bigotry is a form of onaah or lack of viahavta lireiacha kamocha, or whatever it may fall under in that particular circumstance, it’s obviously not bigotry; so the judge is, therefore, differing with the Higher Authority.

  16. To Berelshain comment #1 You ask:
    “I don’t understand why the olam hatorah cares about this?”

    To answer your question in a nutshell:

    Vee es goyish zech yiddesh zech:

    Dude can’t you understand that we are influenced by our surroundings.

    Notice the word– “Dude”. Hey where did that come from dawg. Notice the word.

    Bigotry is not the issue. The issue is “marriage”.
    (Daas bal habitim le’hefch das torah.
    Are you for real is this a bigotry issue?)

    H-shem Yishmor

    Getting back to the topic–Society is influenced by its surroundings.

    Take a look in the meforshim in Parshas Noach:
    Ki hishchis kol basar.

    Read and re-read our heilege reshonim how they translate kol basar.

    If hashchasa can affect the animals, it can certainly affect you and me and our children and that is why we cry when we read these opinions of the California Supreme Court.


    PRESIDENT BUSH APPOINTED ALITO AND ROBERTS TO THE US SUPREME COURT BENCH. (another reason that we Frum Yidden will miss President Bush is because of the wonderful Supreme Court appointments that he made)

  17. I don’t get what message it sends other than that the Calfornia legislature thinks toeiva people should be allowed to get married. Villifying us? Bigotry? Huh?

  18. mr. berelshain-please show respect for RABBI Zweibel who never stops working for klall yisroel. it is shown load and clear your disrespect.

  19. berel,
    It does afect your life no matter what you think about it. Among other reasons, this is another way for the balai toevea to get into your life. It was one thing when they were in their own closets but this puts them out in the open more.

  20. The whole toeiva agenda affects us very strongly and directly.

    Those engaged in toeiva will do it whether or not it’s legal or not so why do they care if it’s legal? The answer is that they want insurance to cover gay couples, they want to force the public at large to accept them at work and in your place of business and they want to flaunt and advocate their lifestyle in every possible setting. This costs us money, forces to associate with undesirable people and provide a very corrupting moral atmosphere.

    People have been fired from companies for not welcoming these perverts. It affects us in very direct myriad ways.

    Being against gays is not at all bigotry. The liberal left has foisted a lie and a distortion on us. They claim that gays are biologically forced to be gay. As Rabbi Avigdor Miller z”l said, we all have taavos of all sorts and yet we conquer them and keep ourselves in control. The gays are not biologically different than anybody else.

    Toeiva lifestyle is a free will choice and not a race or ethnicity. I have every right to be against this dangerous and unhealthy degraded lifestyle and this is not bigotry no matter what the Leftist loonies say.

  21. SATMER101- I am proud to be a californian right now and seeing the torah upheld. The torah does not allow RELATIONS between men, however i missed the part not allowing them to have the same tax rights as a married couple. Perhaps I should take another look at the torah perhaps. YOU should stop “legislating from the bench” and making up halachos that dont exist. LO TOSEEFU!!!!

  22. I hate to say anything because even “lehachrioh” is a chutzpah.

    However, we have to realize that what the mesuovim of the world do does affect us, or can, in many ways and in hidden and unexpected ways, and our children of course. Agudah is doing us all a service by speaking up as well as possible.

    I heard from a well known Rosh Yeshiva many years ago a description of how abortion very quickly went from being considered “mesuov” by American, if not all, doctors — to completely accepted by most. (I don’t remember the details – but the rosh yeshiva ztz”l
    explained how it was a matter of a couple of weeks, if I am not mistaken… as strange as that may sound. I heard this on a tape, which should still be available.)

    However, we have to speak up also, after perhaps learning and thinking how to do that properly, when and where, and so on.

  23. In my opinion he wasn’t shtark enough, he should have said, being that the lawyer he is- we will take this to the US Supreme Court and we will let them decide- who has the right to define California’s State Contitution,- the people of California or the State Justice System? You never know, maybe the so called “conservative” Court will do the right thing!

  24. im am going to partially agree with berel about his first comment. Why do they care about this, us jews are in gulos mayhacha taysi we can get involved and voice our view on this matter. However, this should also serve us as a reminded of how deep in galus we are, and how sick and filthy the world around us is. It is against the derech hateva, essentailly against hashem. People (rather animals) like these are so low and filthy, on one hand it is important that the govt knows we oppose this but on the other hand we are in galus, we should keep quite and out of public disputes, especially if they don’t really effect us.(although rachmana litzlan we have such people among us who claim to be orthodox)

  25. this obviously has an effect on our lives b/c it just makes the world that we live in a more disghusting place.
    that alone is enough of a reason to ban it

  26. berel (#11) “how can halach (sic) allow a man to devorce (sic) his wife against her will yet keep her married by refusing to give a get under the worst conditions?”

    a man cannot divorce his wife against her will nowadays according to halochoh. (there is a way round the by marrying a *second* wife by being first mevatel the cherem of polygamy via 100 rabonim, but that requires a lot of work and justification, but divorce ba’al kocha is still ossur – you just have two wives (and have to provide for both, I believe).

  27. To #1 Berelshain – Your comments are evident of a gross lack of Torah learning. It is imperative of you to start and/or increase Torah study.

    Your comments are contradictory to Torah perspectives. For instance, in Perkei Avos (Perek 3, Mishna 18 -according to some versions) Rebbe Akiva states, “Chaviv Adam Shenivra B’Tzelem V’chulu…” “Happy is Man that he is created in Hashem’s image etc…” If you view the commentaries you will see that this is in reference to all mankind and that it is coming to teach us that Everybody has the ability to come close to Hashem (NO Exceptions!). From here we see that Hashem wants and expects everyone to cling to him.

    We Jews are called “Banim LaHashem” which means we have a unique relationship with Hashem which the Goyim do not. However, that does not mean that Hashem has no concern for the Goyim.

    When the Yidden sang Shira at the Yam Suf, Hashem admonished them, “my people are dying (the wicked Mitzriyim) and you are singing?!”.

    150,000 to 200,000 people are dead or dying due to natural catastrophes in the last weeks. Does this not bother you? Do you say to yourself, “Nu NU, another Goy bites the dust. What do I care?”

    In 1927 the Mississippi river over-flooded. 246 people dies (none of them Jews) and over 700,000 were displaced. What was the Jewish response? The Chofetz Chaim declared a fast!

    Goyim also need to serve Hashem. Yes, it is not our responsibility to give them Tochacha. However, in a case of direct defiance to Hashem such as this, we are obligated to defend the honor of Hashem and his Torah and stand up against this ruling.

    On top of all this, I beg to differ to your statement, “It does not impact our lives.” Are you so great that you know exactly what the future results will be due to these rulings? I don’t believe you’ve spent even two minutes imagining in your mind the difference between now and 20 years from now if such relationships are considered socially acceptable. If you say none, then you certainly are lacking. Even the Gay community is expecting to make inroads into changing the fabric of American society through these rulings. That is why they are working so hard at changing the law.

    May Hashem have Rechamim.

  28. to #1 andall who have same tanne mr illini07among them..(se shtimt…)….rosh hashanah everybody is judged not only yidden,”kol boei oilom..” the city ninveh was going to be penlized, wasnt jewish city..this that happened 7 years ago..”v’chi les din v’les dayen”? zeich alien? if somebody understands differently…we will hear. almighty is “thrown” out from everwhere, de rosh fun di alle chevera (aclu)zenen de geshmate yidden. un men tit einfiren all gezetzen fun sedom un men feirt zeich ve de dor hamabel..g-d doesnt care that you instituted freedom of religion..the “founding fathers” are turning in their graves if they’d see what kind of democracy the leftist turned this country and all democratic… would say further…the yakeus that is happening now all over the world,yes, the tamm niglah is globel demand..but tamm nister is this what was mentioned…when such things happened in gemorrahs times (yakrus, de groise imglik fun 7 years ago, de chachamim were goiser tannis..and misbonen why these things happening, not like a lot of people yell “how can you say that, who are we to….?”, then the whole idea of tannis tzibbur is not accomplished…even from de ehliche goishe “evangelist” ,wont mention their names,also de tochter fun eine fun de greste evangelist hot oich gegaben ergetz a speech oif dem un gezuged dos, and they were outrighly condemmed and by whom? mostly these “min” yisroel from those organizations and when the ehrliche goyim are moiche against this toaivh they are condemmed as “racist” they are working to take “in g-d we trust” out of the currency bills. reminds us of l’havdel when yirmiyohu hanovi came to warn what would happen if…he was pelted, zecharyo hanovi was murdered..etc, etc.. . so like somebody mention in other article, the riboni shel oilon is not here you should fool around with him “chavrise klapaim shemy mi eika” ?brochos 34a first line..bottom line those who say what is it our business see above…remember de moshl of the guy who was drilling a hole his side of the boat when they were moiche he said “whats it your business, you are on the other side of boat”…..maybe one can say a shtikel hesber.. when one holds an umbrella over his friend and the friend starts to kick him in the shin so he takes away the unbrella..would you say the umbrella holder made his friend wet …yes the leftist g-d hating (actually dont even believe) would say so)..but lets talk abuot normal people, same here .. ok,we dont undersatnd eibisters ways but stikel hasber for OUR seichel” “kihishcis es kol bosor darkoi al hoaretz” affects everybody

  29. To those who took my comments as disrespectful to Reb Chaim Dovid please understand that it was not my intent to do so. I am a great admirer of his and to the extent that I may not have chosen my words carefully I do apologize. However all of my detractors here are missing the point. We live in a secular society, not a torah society. Thankfully, America is not a theocracy. And don’t kid yourself: The separation of church and state is one of the biggest reason that the yeshiva world has flourished here.

    My point is that we should not be concerned with how secular American society establishes its morals. If we were so concerned about the effects of society on the torah community, we would be far more outraged by out of wedlock births, quickie divorce and adultery which have become acceptable in society. Agudah – to my knowledge – has never released a statement excoriating intentional single motherhood. America’s legal or societal definition of marriage is absolutely meaningless to me as a frum Jew. America also defines marriage between a Jew and r”l a Christian as marriage. Shouldn’t we be outraged by that too? Personally, I am far more disturbed by intermarriage than by this.

    I do think that #18 hit the nail on the head: this is judicial activism of the highest order.

    As for bigotry, my point is merely that “bigotry” is a Western term, not a torah one. And yes, the way the West defines the term bigotry, there is a strong case to be made that the torah is bigotted. So what? If we believe in torah min hashamayim that means it’s the word of Hashem – even if you want to call it bigotry. There are many examples of things in the torah that can be classified as bigotry or racist. If being called a bigot will put us on the defensive then we are in trouble. Let them call us names, we have G-d on our side. Sticks and stones …

    to Elie Rechanik: If you can get Reb Chaim Dovid in a private off teh record moment, see if you can get him to share with you his personal (not Agudah) feelings about “Toeva” rights. I suspect you will surprised. Very surprised.

  30. This issue is will affect us much more than you think!

    #1 as Yidden. Why do we ALWAYS have to speak against our Rabbanim? If the Agudath would NOT take a stance against this, it would have been a MAJOR chilul Hashem. Most people even in liberal California DON’T approve this. There was a vote on this by the people and the court has no business making the law. A Judge should uphold the law, not make the law.

    #2 as just plains citizens, this will have a major effect on all. Now companies offering health insurance to spouses will have to pay for every meshuganer who decides he is in a legal relationship with another meshuganer. Now… If you are a Jewish employer this may even pose a Halachic problem. By law you will be required to pay the health insurance for partners but you might not be able to do it according to the Torah.

  31. One major reason for the destruction of Sodom– according to CHAZA”L–was that they LEGISLATED “KesuBos” for marriages of ToEva.

    It makes al the difference when Society OFFICIALLY sanctions ToEva.

  32. Whoever missed the Michael Savage Show yesterday, really missed a lot of clarity on this most important issue. One of the things he said to a frum caller; It’s time for the Jewish Orthodox community to stop standing on the sidelines, and help us fight this menace of perversion. He also said that he doesn’t care what a few radical judges rule, rather he cares about the “rock of ages” – the Bible.

  33. Berel,
    I think that the objection to the court’s decision is based on the perception that the court is dictating to Californians what the definition of “marriage” is. Due to the domestic partnership laws, the court’s decision really doesn’t make any new, tangible changes to what people can do. What it does is to take a word, which to us and other religious people in this country expresses a holy concept, and redefines it.

    What confuses me is that people in these relationships refer to each other as “partners” and don’t mind not being called husband and wife. If they are ok not being “husband” and “wife”, then why is it such a big deal that their relationship is not called a “marriage”, since the original definition of marriage is union of husband and wife?

  34. It’s a shame how misguided some people’s posts are. Do they really believe that the frum world will not be affected by this ruling?! People really need to have a Rav to give them proper hadracha and also explain the appropriate hashkafos on such issues. This is not the proper forum to debate a ruling that contradicts our Torah values. We have rabbanim for this! Aseh l’cha Rav is not merely good advice. People need guidance so that we don’t have more comments like Berel!

  35. to #35… the eisbishter doesn’t care that we live in secular society..see #34 and if you hold this true, you wouldnt even start writing such words. #33 is totaly right and you keep on writing such hashkofos and show your am haratzes..anyway we think, if you will read #34, and if we are right about the contents,it will open your eyes and see the bashefer gaytnit un vos the constitution zukt, the “founding fathers” would be turning in their graves, if they’ed know what sedomishe laws are passed under guise of
    “freedom”, its in the constitution etc.. alot of these admendments and laws were made with apikorsishe judges that dont believe in nothing just their own twisted morals, what twisted morals, no MORALS!, morality is not relavant. (yes there is such a thing as “apikores , min akum (goy) ” see sanhdrin 38(?)b..and if you keep frothing such ….we will put you in catagory of cantor esg…your dimyoun to marriage bet yid and christian is also out of whack ,first one is a lav but our subject is a skila..also this is the only from of forbidden relation the the torah calls “TOIAVH!!even …with dogs (beheimeh), the toireh didnt use this most exreme adjective and what you say about adultery, is there a state that leagalizes that? if not vie kumt dos arein , we are talking about ‘leagalizing”, same with the other you mentioned..also just like the clergy members of other gloibing try to influence laws that would not interfere with their way so should we…and besides all clergys from other faiths (muslim, chritans..are unanimous against this, and are working together , and you want we should mind our business, when it is our business of the first order , again refer to #33#34 #37

  36. to #38 we guess we will close our gemorrah or whaterver sefer and listen to dr savage so we shouldnt miss c’v something he said..

  37. 40, you got it. Here’s why it concerns us: because we need a vocabulary to be able to express our stand on this, with eloquence, reason and compassion. We need to be able to answer our neighbors, Partners in Torah, and eventually our children. Not that one can’t say, I don’t have an answer, or don’t think I can answer this satisfactorily so ask Rabbi/Rebbetzin X. But as a wise teacher once said, it’s ok to say I don’t know, as long as you don’t specialize in it.

    You may say, it doesn’t affect me, I’m in my cocoon. Kol hakavod. But if you are here, your family’s cocoon’s insulation isn’t impermeable. Not necessarily a bad thing, just an observation of reality.

  38. My Dear Satmer…you are a victim of your own rhetoric. You talk about a FREE COUNTRY. Did you fail civics in school or maybe they left out the part about the seperation of the branches of powers of our govt. If we didn’t have court rulings on unfair laws, we’d still have slavery and Jim Crow laws in the US. Keep in mind, at the birth of the United States, blacks were considered less than 25% a man. It took the the Supreme Court to rule that segragation was unconstitutional, and that too was legistlating from the bench. I seems ingnorant to vilify the courts when when they do not rule as you prefer, but applaud them when it suits you…and suddenly they are not ACTIVIST JUDGES, but Mavens. OY G’valt!