As if the removal of Yeshivat Har Bracha from the hesder network was not enough to remind us of the battle between Torah and Hellenists on Chanukah, the nation’s High Court of Justice is now targeting Ashdod Chief Rabbi HaGaon HaRav Yosef Sheinen Shlita.
The case stems from a High Court ruling compelling the Ashdod Religious Council to give a hechsher to a bakery owned by a Jew for “J”. The rabbi explained that the religious council was willing to grant a hechsher, but only with a fulltime mashgiach as halacha dictates in such a situation, but the court accepted the owner’s contention that she cannot afford it and she is being discriminated against because of her religious choices. In the court’s ruling, the justices decided the state kosher law is not a religious law and therefore, the court is within its jurisdiction to rule, overriding the Ashdod Rabbanut.
Backed by the Chief Rabbinate of Israel and State Attorney General Menachem Mazuz, Mazuz called for another hearing before an expanded panel of High Court justices, a request that sat on the desk of Chief Justice Dorit Beinish for three months before she rejected it.
On the other hand, the owner of the bakery, Penina Comforti, has turned to the High Court again, seeking to find the rabbi guilty of contempt of court since she still has not been given a hechsher. Rabbi Sheinen is quoted by the daily HaMevaser as explaining that he cannot be part of a process that will deceive the tzibur and he cannot grant a hechsher without a fulltime mashgiach, despite the ruling of the court.
The contempt hearing was set for the end of March 2010, but this was not immediate enough for Comforti, who asked the court to move up the date. Of course the court complied and the hearing is set for December 21st.
The rav questioned the court, which rules in accordance to the law of non-Jews, seeking to compel him in a matter of ‘isur v’heter’ as per the Shulchan Aruch. “Once I act against the Shulchan Aruch” stated Rav Sheinen, “I cannot continue in my role as a rav”.
(Yechiel Spira – YWN Israel)