Jan 13, 2013

Stop the Manipulation of Rav Ovadiah's health

Rav Ovadiah Yosef should be granted a refuah shleimah after having suffered what is being called a minor stroke, and people are asked to pray for the recovery and health of Ovadiah ben Georgia.

When I first heard of the rav's illness, and the initial reaction, I said, cynically, that I wonder how the incident can best be used to get votes for Shas. With this happening so close to the elections, it won't be difficult at all, and will definitely be taken advantage of.

The initial response of Shas people to news media was that the Rav suffered this health issue due to being so bothered and disturbed by the issue of the possible drafting of yeshiva students. Shortly after it became an issue of blaming Amnon Yitzchak for causing the stroke due to running his own party and things that might have been said that caused the rav great distress. Clearly my cynicism had played out, and will likely to continue to play out as Shas leaders will surely call on the people to vote Shas to show Rav Ovadiah the people are against those who try to usurp the Torah and harm Shas, and thereby they will be a part of the healing of Maran haRav Ovadiah.

I could not say it as well as Rav Yuval Cherlo. Rav Cherlo was asked if this is perhaps a sign that rav Ovadiah is correct and we should now be voting for Shas, in recognition of this sign from heaven.

Rav Cherlo's response was that that first we must all pray for Rav Ovadiah's recovery and said how important his Torah learning and his psak is. Beyond that, Rav Ovadiah's learning and wisdom has nothing to do with the fact that manipulation being waged to take advantage of his failing health. Suddenyl people know why he is sick, as if they have achieved prophecy, and they are recruiting God to convince people to vote for them.

Rav Cherlo gives two reasons to explain his words:

  1. To claim they are right in their analysis they have to claim that they are prophets, to be able to directly connect between the different events, of his health and of political stances. We know the Rav is in poor health right now, and we know he is troubled by the issue of the possible drafting of yeshiva students. Connecting the two is only one possibility, not a definitive situation. Anybody who says that something specific happened for a specific reason, one that involves Hashem, is lying. He doesn't know.
  2. These events always "prove" that the one commenting is right, and was right before. It is always someone else who is guilty or wrong. The commenter never finds the fault in himself - just in others. Is it possible that the potential for drafting yeshiva students is what caused Rav Ovadiah's weakness? Yes, it is possible.  But it is also possible that other things that those close to him do that they should not be doing is what caused it. Perhaps the way they relate to the issue of converts, which involves commandments from the Torah.

We all want the Rav to get better, but his health has nothing to do with proving any political stance or for which party one should vote.
(source: INN and Srugim)

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  1. However, without resorting to saying it was a Siman Min Hashamayim, one can hear what Rav Ovadia reportedly said himself - especially by bringing in the story of Rabbi Akiva Eiger:


  2. If, chas veshalom, R Amnon Yitzchak or Rav Amsalem would have suffered an illness, would Shas has used this as evidence of their being right? Or would they have trumpeted "this is what happens when you go against "daat torah"".

  3. This cynical manipulation of a very old man, together with the overt brainwashing of impressionable voters, is one of the reasons I left Israel


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