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Sunday, November 21, 2010 

Shas isn't helping by attacking Chaim Amsalem's beliefs

Shas is attacking their MK Rabbi Chaim Amsalem's beliefs that yeshiva students and scholars should work to fund their tuitions and schools:
Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef slammed MK Rabbi Haim Amsalem (Shas) in his weekly Saturday night sermon, in his first public reference to the maverick lawmaker, who on Wednesday announced that he wouldn’t return his mandate despite the growing animosity toward him in the party’s leadership.

“There are those who speak about yeshivot, as though they were created solely for great Torah scholars who will become rabbis and rabbinical judges, and if that doesn’t suit the person, he should go to work,” Yosef said of Amsalem’s doctrine, without naming him.

“These are not the voices of Torah, but against it; Torah learners sustain the world,” Yosef said.

“Whoever tells yeshiva boys to go to work is lacking faith in our Torah,” he said later in the talk.
Really? I thought scholars of yesteryear considered it a positive idea for even yeshiva students to go to work. In fact, isn't that what the teachers at a yeshiva are doing themselves? Working to earn a living and get food to eat, and afford to raise a family when they marry? Why is Yosef doing such a disservice to past arguments made by Torah scholars?

If Amsalem decides to leave the party, assuming they choose to oust him, I'd say he'll be doing the right thing. Shas isn't helping matters by disrespecting his right to make what he feels is a legitimate argument that could be helpful to the future of Israel, including for religious education.

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