Sunday, February 22, 2015

Shas spiritual leader: 'Hatikva is a stupid song'

"Hatikvah is a stupid song?"

Rav Ovadia Yosef left, Rabbi Cohen right
My points after the article

The Shas movement spiritual leader, the frequently acerbic Rabbi Shalom Cohen renowned for his divisive and controversial comments, has once again caused consternation over his outspoken views.

Speaking at a Shas campaign rally in Netivot on Sunday, Cohen called the Israeli national anthem Hatikva "a stupid song" and disparaged those who sing it, while speaking of his long devotion to Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, the revered and legendary late rabbinic leader of Shas. 

Cohen was describing the anointment ceremony of former Sephardi Chief Yitzhak Nissim in 1955 which he attended along with Yosef. 

"At the end of the ceremony they began to sing "kol od be'leivav [the beginning words of the Israeli national anthem Hatikvah]." said the rabbi mockingly. "I thought to myself 'they're mad, I didn't stand, everyone stood up like it was the aleinu le'shabayach [prayer] but the rabbi [Yosef] also stood. "

"I asked the rabbi [Yosef] why did you stand up? He said 'I said the aleinu leshabayach prayer. Why did he say aleinu leshabayach? He didn't want this stupid song to influence us at all," said Cohen. 

Large parts of the haredi world have a long-held animus towards the Israeli national anthem. 

The words “to be a free nation in our land” are generally scorned by the haredi community, who see themselves as servants of God. It is commonly believed in the ultra-Orthodox community that the meaning behind the words “free nation” is free of the religious commandments of the Torah. 

“The haredi world is of the opinion that that it is intolerable that the national anthem of the Jewish state declares that the hope of the Jewish people is to be a free people,” said Shahar Ilan, the deputy director of the Hiddush religious freedom lobbying group in reference to their objection to the particular line “a free nation in our land. 

Cohen has a long record of vitriolic and antagonistic statements. In July last year during Operation Protective Edge, Cohen said at a prayer rally for IDF soldiers that the Jewish people do not need an army.

"Do you think the people of Israel need an army?” Cohen asked. “It is God almighty who fights for Israel.”

In response to Sunday’s outburst, Shas defended the rabbi and said “no-one can lecture Rabbi Shalom Cohen, who lived all his years in the walls of Jerusalem, what Zionism is and what the relationship is with the Land of Israel.”

“It is the right and obligation of Rabbi Shalom Cohen to think that the sources of the Torah of Israel which escorted the Jewish people across thousands of years and speaks of the yearning for, and the return to Zion are preferable ten times over to a song that was created in the last few decades,” an official Shas party response read, in reference to Hatikvah, although it was actually written down in its final form by Imber 138 years ago. 
Several points.

First is the world of difference between Maran and his successor. 

Why did Maran stand up during the singing of the Israeli National Anthem when he attached no real importance to it? 

Because he attached importance to the feelings and sensitivities of his fellow Jews who did attach importance to Israel's national anthem. So he stood up and said Aleinu to himself, thereby avoiding to hurt the feelings of his fellow Jews. And for the same reason, Maran did not publicly call Hatikvah stupid.

So why didn't HaRav Cohen stand up and why did he call Hatikvah stupid? 
Because while Maran was Maran, HaRav Cohen is HaRav Cohen. 

The second point -
that Charedim do not not like Hatikvah because it calls for the day that Jews to be free people in their land, and they consider this to be against G-d. 

Every year at Pesach, which celebrates our FREEDOM, I recite from the Haggadah: "This year we are here. Next year, may we be in Eretz Yisrael. Now we are slaves. Next year, may we be free men."  Clearly a theme taken from the Haggadah by the author of Hatikvah. 

Perhaps the Charedim should delete this offensive, anti-G-d phrase from the Haggadah, or perhaps at least say it in a whisper so no one hears it.

Regarding HaRav Cohen's denial of the need for an Israeli army. I cannot argue against the leader of the Council of Sages, but I can state an opposing shita. 

There is an idea that while G-d produces the results, we are not supposed to just sit back and wait for G-d. We must do our part. We are partners with G-d in creation and in running and correcting the world. And so, even though G-d took us out of Egypt, we needed to kill the pascal lamb and put its blood on the door lintel. 

And even though G-d split the sea, Nachshon ben Aminadav had to first enter up to his nose. 

And even though G-d brought us into the land and gave us victory over the enemies, we had to have an army that fought those enemies. 

In fact, the Torah demands and describes the very type of army that HaRav Coehn thinks is superfluous.

that Shas explains how long the Rav has lived in Jerusalem and explains his understanding of Eretz Yisrael, this is not the only understanding possible - there is an entirely different understanding from the National Religious Rabbonim. 

Maaseh Avos siman l'banim. In the days of Moshe, 10 Gedolei HaDor rejected the land and brought the people to reject the land.

 Only 2 Gedolim (Yehoshua and Calev) praised the land and said let's enter it and conquer it (Yehoshua headed up the army as well as the being the transmitter of Torah sheb' al Peh). 

In recent history, HaRav Kook and his son Rav Tzvi Yehuda were the Calev and Yehoshua of our time; the Haredi Gedolim are not.
Haredi Tzionim should vote for Eli Yisha/Boruch Marzel.


Anonymous said...

You really think anyone is interested in your points and stupidity? Obviously no-one cares and therefore you tried your luck to copy your POINTS in ywn.... But let me tell you the real point
There's a world difference between a MARAN and MORON! Sorry for posting your REAL name Mr MORON

Anonymous said...

If Hatikvah is stupid, so are the chosson/kallah rock intros and 2nd dance numbers at many weddings... Frummies of all shapes, sizes, levushim dancing and hooping away to Lady Ga-Ga, Beyoncé, Madonnah, et al,... Come Do Me, rhythms.... Years ago, there was a Debka dance called Gina... Of Arabic origin and a love song with a sexy rhythm... Guess what the ultra Chassidic crowd always asked for..... No, not Vekoreiv pezureinu.....
It's hysterical... Ha Ha ...

Meshuga said...

I am not a good music critic when it comes to assigning ratings to songs. But I do know that the boys who gave up their lives on the gallows in 1948 sang Hatikvah as they were being executed. These boys did this so Rabbi Sholom Cohen could have a Jewish state and a yeshiva from where he is free to open his mouth about his musical preferences.

I also know that the poor holocaust survivors sang Hatikvah 5 days after they were liberated from the camps where they lost everything. You can listen to recording on wikipedia. So apparently the music can't be all that bad.

It is time that those who benefit most from the mesiras nefesh of the chilonim start showing a little menschlichkeit and hakaras hatov to them.

Anonymous said...

Amen, Barry.