Wednesday, December 09, 2009

An answer to Hirhurim

Hirhurim, the closest thing the Orthodox Jewish world has to Instapundit, recently discussed the question of who has the theoretical halakhic authority to decide big isssues. While very nice in the abstract, this isn't how it works nowadays. Actual halakhic public policy increasingly resembles the following joke, several variations of which exist in these parts:
Halachic policy is decided by Rav Ovadia, whose people are afraid of
Rav Elyashiv, whose people are afraid of
the Rabbis of the Edah Hacharedit, all of whom are afraid of
Reb Nachum the zealot, who fears no Rabbinic authority and who screams from the rooftops against any minimal movement from the most extreme religious positions. Halachic policy is thus decided by the lunatics, not any actual gedolim.
Rational halachic policy will thus not emerge until both Rabbinic authorities and their entourage stop quivering in fear of people to their right. Until then, the lunatics will continue to run the asylum.

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