Dati Leumi Community Doesn’t Have a Moetzas Gedolei Hatorah

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levanonAt the annual Tzohar Rabbonim Kenos held on Sunday, 29 Tammuz 5773, prominent dati leumi posek Rav Elyakim Levanon, who serves as a rosh yeshiva and the rav of the Shomron Regional Council, pointed out the lack of a Torah authority in the community. While not using the words, the rav lamented the lack of a Moetzas Gedolei Hatorah as seen in the chareidi tzibur, focusing on the fact that the dati leumi tzibur does not have a rav viewed by all as ‘the’ halachic authority. The rav spoke of the void, the fact there is no group that unifies the leading rabbonim into a unified Halachic voice to lead the community as one.

He explained that there is not a single rav whose words are adhered to by all of the dati leumi communities and there is not a rav whose words will dictate hashkafic and political decisions of the entire tzibur. “The rabbonim know how to give kovod to one another and to listen to one another, and then they speak against one another in the media. They don’t reach agreement” he explained.

Also taking part in the panel was Rabbi Yehuda Brandes, Rabbi Brandes explained that the lack of authority for rabbonim is a result of today’s realities as seen in regard to other persons and position of authority, not just rabbonim. “The rabbinic world must become aware that it is marching to a different dialogue that the tzibur, not one of authority and power but of listening and speaking. The rabbis understand now that the source of their authority is not the result of fear, respect or honor but rather a closeness and listening to them that creates their authority.”

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)


15 COMMENTS

  1. Huh? Rav Shteinman, Rav Auerbach, Rav Ovadia, Rav Vozner, Rav Karelitz, the Gerrer Rebbe, etc. are not good enoguh Gedolei Yisroel for the Daati Leumi to ask shailos from? They need to segregate their Judaism and create their own sub-group?

    Perhaps they simply don’t have Gedolei Yisroel amongst their ranks, whatever their ranks are. Or perhaps their leading rabbis are nowhere near the caliber of the aforementioned rabbonim.

    Oh, perish the thought!

  2. Why should we expect there to be concensus within the chareidi rabbinical leadership when the issues they deal with tend to be more about politics, power and money than daas torah. Yes, every “political” issue has some halachic implications but there is a growing distrust and repulsion among the tzibur about how these rabbonim may sit together at the dais at some simcha or a’safah but then are quoted the next day (usually on background, in some unsigned letter or a quote from some gabbai) that Rav X and Y are “evil”, are “distorting daas torah” or are “acting no better than Amalek”. With such high esteem for one another, how do you expect them to put aside their egos and sit together to provide a single, definitive view of controversial issues.

  3. I suspect this source. Obviously the community, rabbis and laypersons alike, regrets the sort of public discord that impairs unity. Some in the community would prefer a larger decision-making role for rabbis in Habayit Hayehudi. However, I have never sensed, even among the rabbis, the wish for “a rav whose words will dictate hashkafic and political decisions of the entire tzibur.”

  4. The rabbis understand now that the source of their authority is not the result of fear, respect or honor but rather a closeness and listening to them that creates their authority.” –

    SO TRUE, in all kehillos. A bond/closeness/relationship is what builds a listening ear.

    #1 It is evident from your comment that you are clueless regarding the Chardal/Dati Leumi kehillos.
    The shaylos that they have & ask re: Army (so complicated re; mitzvohs, tefillah, mesiros nefesh, Shabbos,etc. Sefarim and sefarim have been written to fill bookshelves), Chinuch, Yishuv Eretz Yisroel, Mitzvohs teluos beretz, etc. have never been addressed, researched or answered by the Gedolim you mentioned.

  5. To No 5…

    In the spirit of inclusiveness perhaps we will just ignore a comment which would disenfranchise 2/3 of the litvashe tizbur as “illegitimate” since they are “outlaws” in the eyes of the Ebeshter…

  6. The source of our Rabbis’ authority is absolutely not “closeness & listening.”
    The source of their authority is Torah- their great knowledge of the depths and breadth of our Torah HaKedosha through years of ameilus and sacrifice.

  7. 8, actually, in the “olden” days, rabbinical authority was due to communities deciding to listen to a specific rabbi, for a specific amount of time.
    1, how come you didn’t mention the Belzer Rebbe, or the Satmar Rebbe, or R’ Schwartz from Phinklestein, MI, or how about R’ Zundel Fishel or R’ Jerome from the UWS? R’ Yoily Yoilstein is not a gadol in your eyes?
    Perish the thought.

  8. Just to add the real reason why there is no moetzes for the DL is because they don’t need it. They use their individual rabbi to decide halacha, and the movement as a whole recognizes that individuals may have differing opinions on matters.

  9. Harav Levanon was not referring to the lack of a ‘Moetzet’ which is a rabbinic body whose primary function is to give guidance to politicians. Such a body has never existed in the D”L community and contradicts D”L hashkafa.

    Harav Levanon was referring to a rabbinic body that could pasken halacha for the entire community. This is a function that had traditionally been filled by the Chief Rabbinate of the state. But for the last 20 years the chief rabbis have been charedi and under their guidance the Chief Rabbinate has been ‘cleansed’ almost entirely of D”L rabbis and D”Ls no longer look to it for halachic (or any other kind of) guidance. This has created a vacuum which harav Levanon laments, as do many others.

  10. I would go a bit further than Rabbi Brandes. As identification of individuals with the community weakens, so does the authority of the “leaders”. Today, the dominant culture is for each person to do what is best for him/herself, and in the religious circles – “best for him/herself” includes the religious observances and attitudes. In our society, there CANNOT BE Gdolei Torah in the same sense as in Hareidi Society. BUT please note that “Moetseth Gedolei Torah” did not deal in Halakha but in politics!! Today we can only hope that people follow the instruction in Pirkei Avoth “Asei Lecha Rav” – make yourself a personal Rav, not necessarily a communal one.