Monday, June 02, 2014

The Rebbe, Rav Ovadiah - and a Pope

Here's a Rebbe story from 1964 (as per a Teshurah from a Simcha of Shlomo Giladi who recorded his Rav's anecdotes of an interlude at 770 [LINK]).

"... About that time, the protocol in Israel was that the Chief Rabbi of Israel served a life's tenure.

"At that time an event occurred that brought upon the entire country a public storm. The pope arrived in sovereign pomp to visit Israel.

"The Knesset very much wanted that the Chief Rabbi of then, Harav Nissim, should also come to meet with him and offer him his respects.

"He refused full-heartedly. Under the heavy pressure on him from the administration and from all members of Knesset who came to call to persuade him, he refused whole-heartedly.

"They fumed against the Chief Rabbi and legislated him out of office tenure, for he served out his "term" in office, thereby setting the rabbi out to pasture on retirement.

"The Rebbe railed and wailed against this political maneuver. He said it was huge chutzpah that they compromise the service of the Rabbi in Israel, etc. and therefore - it is forbidden for any rabbi to offer his candidacy for the Chief Rabbinate position.

"Nevertheless, two rabbis offered their candidacies, the Rav Ovadiah and the Rav Goren.

"Thereafter, when Rav Ovadia took office of the Chief Rabbi, etc., and in line with his position he wanted to visit the Rebbe, the Rebbe refused to see him ...."

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