Rav Amar on Psak Halacha of Chief Rabbis


amarFormer Sephardi Chief Rabbi Shlomo Moshe Amar Shlita spoke with Kol Berama Radio on Wednesday night, the eve of Tu B’Shevat 5774. The rav addressed a number of current event issues, including the recent attack against the Chief Rabbis of Israel by Finance Minister Yair Lapid, who calls for their dismissal.

Rabbi Amar explains the chief rabbis are elected and part of their responsibilities is to rule on Halachic matters. One may not agree with a specific psak, but one should respond in an appropriate fashion, even when disagreeing. The chief rabbis work to unite the nation and that too is part of their job, as should be the case with lawmakers.

“If a chief rabbi feels no place for women in the IDF, he not only may announce this but has a responsibility to say so” Rabbi Amar adds, explaining that rabbonim in general are responsible to live by example and public officials should too. He called Lapid’s verbal diatribe “an affront to the Chief Rabbinate and the entire country”, and the former Rishon L’Tzion feels the nation should feel outrage over Lapid’s inappropriate words.

Rabbi Amar calls on politicians to reflect a bit. “At times, in an effort to advance a cause one can destroy and divide the nation” he warns. The rav made mention of the nation’s batei din and the need to maintain them in the framework of Halacha, for if not chas v’sholom, “we would not be permitted to marry one another…this is the biggest danger”. The rav added they must think first and not just run to legislate laws.

Rav Amar stated when he used to speak with former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon he addressed the entire matter of conversion. When asked about accepting Reform and Conservative conversions, Rav Amar explains Sharon stated “I want the Chief Rabbinate to be lenient when possible but those conversions are a joke and I do not seek this.”

Rav Amar addressed the blow to the nation’s poor, the hundreds of thousands of children that search for bread and it is most unfortunate that lawmakers continue without really looking and realizing what they are doing, the disastrous impact some of their decisions are having on the nation and its children.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)


  1. But frum Jews are a minority in Israel, even if you count the most marginal of the Dati Leumi/Modern Orthodox camp. The majority of Israelis are secular, and feel that if they hire the rabbi and pay his salary, he is expected to decide halacha in accordance with the wishes those who hired him, just like any other civil servant.

  2. The Chief Rabbinates rulings are only applicable to the State institutions, as the CR is a State governmental function, and anyone else who voluntarily wishes to accept the CRs rulings.

    For the vast majority of Jews, the CRs rulings are as irrelevant as the rulings of the rabbi of a shteeble one does not attend.

  3. @akuperma: the chief rabbis were elected just as lapid was elected. there is no majority in israel’s parliamentary goverment. lapid’s party got 19/120 knesset seats, which is less than 16%. many other major politicians have strongly rejected lapid’s response. the chief rabbi’s job is to be a rabbi, and that’s what he is doing.

  4. It’s hard for me to believe, but both Zalman and Mr. Kuperman said thing with which I agree, or almost agree.

    Yesh v’yesh among secular Israeli’s. There are those that don’t follow halacha but have some vague belief in the Torah, and are ok with paying some rabbi’s to tell us Torah “traditions”, or something like that. They probably know that the CR will sometimes say things they don’t like, but they also feel no responsibility to follow that. But they overall probably don’t mind having a CR.

    Then there are those that really really don’t like anything religious. From their perspective, they wish the CR would stop existing, and probably can’t stand almost anything the CR does or says, even things that normally wouldn’t bother people.

  5. Changing a Rabbi because of an psak, is like changing the bible.
    Most of our holy Torah is not being fulfilled by Yesh Atid and her followers. yet, we still didn’t hear Lapid say: ‘I will see to change the Torah cuz it says that we have to keep shabbos’. He’s just ignoring it.
    So why change Rabbis if that’s what a rabbi is all about?! Just ignore him and that’s it!
    So you got the point, Lapid couldn’t care less about anything but to abandon Chareidim.