Over the decades, even though he had left his then enormously successful rabbinic post, taking along many congregants and followers to Israel, I became disenchanted by his strict adherence to certain Left-wing ideologies and fence-sitting.
I was beyond words, furious, that as the monstrous Disengagement approached, Rabbi Shlomo Riskin hadn't opposed it fully, without apologies. Then when I was waiting to speak at an anti-Disengagement Rally, in Times Square, NYC, I was shocked to hear him announced as a featured speaker.
- I wish I could write that since then he has taken a leadrship role in our struggle to settle, hold on to our precious Eretz Yisrael, the Land of Israel.
- I wish I could write that he has used his great leadership powers and talents in the political sphere to give us an alternative to the tired, selfish and corrupt politicians.
Just here and there, we hear a spark of "seichel," intelligence, common sense, from him. This Friday's column in the Jerusalem Post is one of those. Here are some excerpts:
I am ashamed of a government whose prime minister, former president, former finance minister, former government ministers of health and internal security - among others - have charges of moral turpitude hovering over their heads, making a bitter truth of Natan Sharansky's quip that the difference between him and other Israeli ministers of state is that he was imprisoned before he joined the government. I am ashamed of a Chief Rabbinate which can summarily nullify the conversions of thousands of Israelis (even though they were performed by a court of Torah scholars) with crass indifference to the lives they are destroying, and disregarding the manifold biblical directives of how we are to love the proselyte. I am ashamed of the religious court judges who, in the name of the "purity" of Israel, are impervious of the cries of abused women, captives to husbands who either refuse to grant a get or demand a high ransom for them. I am ashamed of a politically controlled, coalition-driven system of religious court judges who disregard the compassion of the Talmud and have made our divinely given and just laws a cruel laughingstock for Jews and gentiles alike. I am ashamed that our political and religious leaders answer to a party rather than a constituency, that many of our politicians are motivated by profits rather than prophets, and many religious court judges seek grace in the eyes of those to their Right rather than in the eyes of the One above.I must say that I am ashamed that a man of Rabbi Shlomo Riskin's great potential hasn't been the leader we're praying for.
Most of all, I am ashamed that these "leaders" are not ashamed, and that, in a presumed democracy, individuals in high office hold onto their seats despite many opinion polls crying for their resignation.
That means that G-d willing there is someone else who will lead us, and I pray that we will hear his voice and begin the process to Geula shleimah, complete Redemption.
Shavua Tov U'Mevorach
May you have a good and blessed week.