Is It Really Working
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This is the place!
and Asnat cannot get married. Two years
ago they met in a law office in Tel Aviv where they both work, and since then
they have made a smashing couple. Their
friends were only too happy to hear the news when Nadav and Asnat announced
their engagement. The wedding was set
for mid-June, plans were made, caterer and hall reserved, and everything was canceled. Yes, canceled. Nadav found out, to his
surprise, that he is a Cohen. Asnat had
been divorced shortly after a terribly unsuccessful marriage 9 years ago. Nadav a Cohen - Asnat divorced - Under Jewish law, a Cohen is not allowed to
marry a divorced woman. Nadav and Asnat
love their land, their heritage, even their religious neighbors, but the truth is
they don't really care about Halakha. The government of
the plans are canceled. Everybody's
frustrated with the government and disgusted with the rabbinate. Nadav and Asnat fly to
angry with its proponents.
Should Nadav and Asnat be
allowed to marry in
Discuss the issue. Three general opinions may emerge:
1 - A religious state means religious laws - Asnat and Nadav may NOT marry.
2 - Nobody has the right to enforce religion on anybody at any time - Asnat and Nadav may do as they please.
3 - Ideally there should be religious laws, but if it will create hatred we should not insist on it.
is a major discussion in
From Meretz's platform:
The State of Israel is governed by
civil law, not by the Halacha. The Declaration of Independence's promise to
provide freedom of religion and conscience and equal rights to all citizens of
The state will respect and guarantee the right of all citizens and residents Jews and non-Jews, secular and religious to live their lives according to their beliefs and viewpoints, in private and in public, during the week and on holidays, in building their family and in educating their children, in culture and in entertainment, without any
coercion by one side over another in religious matters.
The State of Israel will respect the desire of every individual to practice the commandments of his/her religion in his/her own way, and will ensure that all religious streams enjoy equality in all areas of life. Women will be permitted to pray at sacred sites on a completely equal basis. The principle of freedom of religion, including freedom from religion, requires the separation of religion and politics, and the separation of religious institutions from theinstitutions of the state.
Civil marriage and divorce will be introduced alongside the existing religious system, so that any adult man and woman will be free to realize their right to establish a family without religious restrictions, enjoying equal rights in the act of marriage, during the marriage, and in the event of divorce. Every citizen will be free to
choose between the range of religious marriages and civil marriage.
From Likud platform:
III. Religion and State
1.The Government will act to bring the religious and secular closer through mutual understanding and respect. The Government will retain the status quo on religious matters. Whenever it becomes clear that the status quo was violated, the Government will look into steps to undo the change, including introducing legislation.
2.The Law of Conversion shall be changed so
that conversions to Judaism in
3.The Government will initiate research of
the history of the
4.The Government will make prayer arrangements for Jews at holy sites in accordance to the guidelines of religious law.
Discuss: Who do you think belongs for the most part to each party - religious or secular?
Would religious and secular Jews tend to agree or disagree on this topic?
Remember Nadav and Asnat!!
The general theme of the discussion should underscore that religious and secular Jews may tend to argue about this point. Is it probable that secular Jews would want religious laws pertaining to marriage, Shabbat, etc.?
Question: If in fact there is a conflict, should we press our side of the issue and insist we are right, at all costs - even unity?
From A Torah Perspective of the Status of Secular Jews - Rav Amital, Rosh Yeshiva, Yeshivat Har Etzion, Gush Etzion:
We have to concede that in principle, halakhah is harsh towards and intolerant of those who violate it. Here is what Rav Abraham Isaac ha-Kohen Kook had to say:(4) "And the fiercest of the nations (the Jews: see Beitzah 25b; Shemot Raaks hellish vengeance on those who muddy up its life. It does not tolerate those who do so, be they even brother or son. In its heart there continues to reverberate the proclamation of its first shepherd (Moshe, during the episode of the Golden Calf; Shemot 32:27), "These are the words of the Lord, God of Israel: 'Let each of you take up his sword and go through the camp from gate to gate, and slay brother, neighbor and kin.'" This attitude is primarily one of principle, and there is a vast difference between halakhic principle and practice in
this respect. There are halakhic matters concerning which we are told halakhah ve'ein morin ken - "the action, if performed, is correct under the law, but is not prescribed a priori." Between the proclamation in principle and the implementation there is a
great distance. However the assertion in the principle is important in itself and as an edifying factor.
[Is there a difference between the ideal we envision and the practice wemust implement?]
It is worthwhile recalling what the Tanya says about those who have become so alienated from things Jewish that one is not even required to reprove them, since the commandment to do so applies only to "your fellow" in Torah and observance, and not merely to any neighbor of countryman. Hating people who are so alienated is forbidden. As the Tanya says:
"Concerning one who is not your comrade, one with whom you are not close - it is concerning relations with such people that Hillel the Elder has said (Avot 1:12): "Be of the disciples of Aaron, loving peace and pursuing peace, loving the beriyyot (creatures) and bringing them close to the Torah." Hillel's use of the term "creatures" rather than "people" indicates that he is referring to those who are far removed from Torah;
you must draw them closer with bonds of love - to the point where they are brought into the study of Torah and service of God, and at the same time you earn reward for having observed the precept of loving your fellow."
[Can we relate to and deal with all Jews in the same way? Should we consider the repercussions of our actions in light of the types of Jews we deal with?]
[concerning] the State of Israel, with ramifications pertaining to pikkuach nefesh - the
saving of life. If we believe that the State of Israel is a haven for millions of Jews, and that the survival of those Jews hinges on peace for Israel and the Jewish state's capacity to withstand its many enemies; and if we believe that the reestablishment of the Jewish state and its survival constitute Kiddush Hashem - sanctification and glorification of God's name; if the State of Israel is precious to us; if we have not yet been infected by the "Charedi heresy," which excludes God from the history of the reestablishment of Jewish statehood and regards it as a purely human act - then we had better realize that the State of Israel is not going to endure if cordial relations do not prevail between all sectors of the nation.
Only if Jews relate to each other as brothers, irrespective of ideology, can we maintain this state. Otherwise, we live under a threat of destruction. I do not have to adduce any source texts to support these latter two considerations. Concerning such instances, the Sages have already said, "Why do I need a quotation from Scripture?
It stands to reason."
[Does this issue have
special importance and urgency in the state of