Tuesday, March 04, 2014

A Rabbi for the Mossad? What's The Point?

ב' לחודש השנים עשר ב' תשע"ד

Apparently, the Mossad has a rabbi. How about that?
Arutz 7: Top Secret Revealed: Mossad's Rabbi Now On Call for Agents
So many religious recruits have joined the Mossad in recent years that the organization has hired an official rabbi to advise agents.

David Lev, February 17, 2014

Symbol of the Mossad
So many religious recruits have joined the Mossad in recent years that the organization has hired an official rabbi to advise agents and employees on a wide range of issues, a report said Monday.

Among the questions the rabbi deals with are those relating to religious practices, keeping kosher, Sabbath observance, and other matters that may require compromise or adjustment regarding Jewish Law on the part of an agent during a mission.

Speaking to Ma'ariv, a Mossad source said that “there are many religious people in the Mossad, and that number has grown quite a bit in recent years. In the past, the IDF Chief Rabbi would advise agents, but with the larger number of employees here the Mossad realized that it needs its own rabbi.”

Besides rulings on personal obligations of Jewish law, the rabbi discusses tactics and methods of operation with agents, in order to reassure them that they are operating as closely to the ritual and ethical mandates of Jewish law as possible. “There are many questions beyond the ritual ones that crop up,” the official said.

Naturally, as an employee of an organization that survives on secrecy, the identity of the rabbi is top-secret. However, the source said, the rabbi was in the past a member of the IDF Rabbinate.
Esser Agaroth (2¢):
"Where there is no wise direction, a people will fall; but in the multitude of counselors there is salvation." (Proverbs 11:14)

I am not even going to try to interpret the Biblical verse on the Mossad's symbol, not why this particular one was chosen.

Incidentally, for those of you unaware, the Mossad it roughly Israel's equivalent of the USA's CIA or the UK's MI6.

I am going to get straight to the point, and propose only question about this issue.

What's the point of having a Mossad rabbi, if the Mossad will simply end up employing what it believes to be appropriate courses of action, regardless of what its rabbi says. Did the Mossad choose a rabbi who would do they necessary pil-pul to find halakhic (Torah legal) support for the position it has a perceived need to follow?

If this is, indeed, the case, then I suppose the only point of having a Mossad rabbi is for the sole purpose of attempting to fool the Religious Zionist public, particularly the Mamlakhtim (undying State loyalists), that it has some sort of a connection to Torah.

However, the authentically Jewish reality is that the Torah does touch every aspect of a Jew's life, including how to run a [proper] Jewish military, how to fight a war, and how to interact with non-Jews, both in times of peace and conflict. The Torah is not just about what a Jew can or cannot eat, nor what a Jew can or cannot do on Shabbath.

I once heard that a prominent, Religious Zionist rabbi was approached with a hypothetical halakhic question. This rabbi was asked whether it was permissible to bomb the hiding place of terrorists with blood on their hands, who planning to murder even more Jews, even though there were also a handful of civilians residing in the same building.

This rabbi replied that this was not a halakhic question. Rather, it was military question.

I found this to be a very odd response, coming from a rabbi. Was he saying that anything the military experts decide is halakhically permissible? Was he suggesting that he did not have enough information about the situation in order to formulate an answer? Or, was he refusing to risk contradicting the State's position on such matters.

The fact the Jewish People are supposed to follow halakhah, and not the other way around, appears to have gotten lost somewhere.

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