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Sunday, December 03, 2017 

Haredi rabbi bans followers from looking at 50 shekel banknote because diplomat's wife didn't convert to Judaism

Seems we've got another joker who thinks a banknote carrying the image of a guy whose non-Jewish wife didn't convert from Christianity to Judaism is reason to avoid taking a visual look at the monetary publication:
A top Sephardic rabbi in Israel sparked controversy when he ruled recently that religious people should not look at the 50-shekel banknote because it is adorned with the image of Shaul Tchernichovsky, a renowned Hebrew poet who was married to a Christian woman.

Shaul Tchernichovsky was born in Russia and created most of his work in Israel in the early 19th century. He is considered to be one of the greatest Hebrew poets, and was married to a Russian woman named Melania Karlova.

According to Kikar HaShabbat, a Hebrew-language daily which caters to the ultra-Orthodox community in Israel, Rabbi Benzion Mutzafi made the ruling after teaching several of his students over the weekend.

Following a lesson he held, the rabbi reportedly pulled out a 50-shekel note from his pocket and told one of his students that he should be forbidden from looking at the banknote.

The rabbi's written explanation to his controversial ruling went as follows: "As for the illustrated figure [referencing the image of Tchernichovesky], It is known that he was 'married' to a devout Christian who would go to pray in church every Sunday.

They say that at the time, Rabbi Kook [who was the chief Ashkenazi rabbi in Israel prior to the country's establishment] begged, implored and asked him to try to convince her to convert to Judaism. And he refused."

Rabbi Mutzafi reportedly went on to add that "in our tradition, there are grave things written about whoever [lives his life] with a Christian. Tied to him like a dog. [People like that are] called apostates. Rabbi Moses ben Maimon called it 'the wreck of the nation.'"

"Therefore," Rabbi Mutzafi continued, "I place the banknote in my pocket with it folded upside down so that I don't even have to look at it for a second."

As a senior rabbi in the Sephardic community in Israel, Rabbi Mutzafi's ruling, which encourages the shunning of non-Jews, has a direct impact on Haredi Jews living in the country.

The 50-shekel note was introduced in 2014 and prompted angry reactions from senior religious figures in Israel.

Orthodox rabbi Shlomo Aviner said Tchernichovsky's portrait on the bill was "horribly grating."

Bentzi Gosptein, the leader of anti-assimilation group Lehava, reportedly told Kikar HaShabbat at the time that one couldn't help but use the banknotes featuring Tchernichovsky but that Israelis should instead "learn who the real role models are."

The ultra-Orthodox community living in Israel adheres to Halachic rulings of senior rabbis, who dictate how individuals should carry out their lives on a variety of topics: marriage, dating, child-rearing, nutrition and other issues pertaining to routine life.

According to their faith, direct followers of Rabbi Mutzafi now have to abstain from looking at the banknote.
Wow, looking at somebody whom they perceive as a terminal traitor is the worst thing that could happen, not whether the guy committed serious criminal offenses, which he didn't.

What's hilarious is that, for somebody declaring it's bad to live with a Christian, people like sure live like Christians, certainly in a manner of speaking. I've sometimes thought the Haredi customs borrowed more than a bit from Christianity, and can't help but wonder if, had the Russian guy married a Muslim woman, and worse, converted to Islam himself, the rabbi's reaction would be entirely different. Sadly, that assumption probably isn't far off, seeing how irresponsible and petty these spiritual frauds really are.

Oh, and what if he also opposes taking visual looks at the lady poets who'll now grace the sides of at least two new monetary note formats? If that be the case, then I'm not sure what his beef is with a Russian-born poet who married somebody who didn't change her official religious beliefs. Certainly it's unfortunate if she didn't, but that doesn't mean they should be damned to the end of time as the guru wants to do. Again, if their background is clean with no criminal records, that has to count somehow.

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In the Biblical Book of Joshua, chapter 23,
verses 12 to 13, G_d reveals that:

If Jews intermarry with non-Jews,
then He will NOT help the Jews
conquer the Land of Israel.

And even worse, the sin of intermarriage
will cause the Jews to be driven out
from the Land of Israel.

Ancient Roman historians connected Jews with the Land of Israel:

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