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Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Of All The Crazy Campaign Promises...

Is this a joke?
Anyone who votes for religious Sephardic party Shas in the upcoming elections is assured of a place in heaven, the party's spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef told about 8,000 activists at a pre-election rally in Tel Aviv Tuesday evening.

Rabbi Ovadia told the enthusiastic listeners about a man who reaches heavens and fears God's verdict. At that point, a white angel appears and tells the man he is heading to heaven for building a mikvah (Jewish ritual bath) and a synagogue. The man says he has not done any of that because he had no money, but later admits he did vote for Shas.

The angel's reply: "Exactly. And by sending emissaries who built mikvahs and synagogues and safeguarded the world of Torah, you're a party to mitvzot and your place is in heaven." Therefore, the rabbi explained, anyone who votes for Shas will end up in heaven.

If Rav Ovadyah Yosef was joking, then the reporter who wrote this up clearly didn't get the joke. If Rav Ovadyah Yosef wasn't joking (which I suspect is the case), this has to be one of the easiest tickets to heaven ever.

I mean, wow. Extremist Imams are offering heaven in exchange for a suicide bomber's martyrdom, and all we Jews have to do to get into heaven is throw a vote the way of a certain Rabbi's political party. Life as a Jew is good - even if no one's throwing 70 virgins in as part of the deal.


Blogger MUST Gum Addict said...

OM, look at the 2000 US elections. An entire Jewish community voted for the wrong guy. You think it's EASY just casting a vote!??!?!

Long live the pregnant chad...

7:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is this not the same rabbi who said all those terrible things about black people after Katrina? Does it really surprise you?

9:07 PM  
Blogger Charlie Hall said...

Christianity, 1096 CE: Go on Crusade and be assured of salvation.

Christianity, 1510 CE: Support the Pope's construction projects and be assured of salvation.

Islam, 2001 CE: Support terrorism and be assured of salvation.

Judaism, 2006 CE: Support the Shas party and be assured of salvation.

Hmmm....maybe we aren't as different from the other religions as we thought. If R'Ovadiah meant this as a joke, I suspect that a lot of folks aren't getting it.

That said, I have no idea which party I would vote for if I lived in Israel.

9:57 PM  
Blogger Jameel @ The Muqata said...

OM: The buses here all have political ads on them, and the Shas one is very clear. Its a photo of Rav Ovadia (sunglasses and all) and the message is - "Uvacharta BaChayim" -- "Choose Life"

They are totally serious, and many, many people will vote for just the reason of getting a "one way ticket to gan-eden"

4:56 AM  
Blogger Pragmatician said...

I can't believe this either but you've got to admit it's probably going to be one of the most effective and cheapest (both meanings) stunt in years!

6:21 AM  
Blogger Orthonomics said...

Unfortunately, there is probably no joke involved. Rav Ovadiah isn't known for a sense of humor as far as I know.

8:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't see what the problem is. He's saying that Shas is not just a political entity, but a party that supports and promulgates Torah. The way to heaven, i think we would all agree, is by supporting and doing whatever we can for the Torah. So he's saying, if you support our cause and mission which is embodied by our party, you are essentially helping to further Torah and that will get you into heaven. What is there about that statement that's so crazy? OK, you don't see Shas as being anything more than a political party, but obviously its followers beleive in it sincerely and see it as the salvation of Torah in Eretz Yisrael.

9:49 AM  
Blogger orthomom said...

if you support our cause and mission which is embodied by our party, you are essentially helping to further Torah and that will get you into heaven. What is there about that statement that's so crazy?

Well, let's not put words in anyone's mouth. No one said that if you are a righteous person, and support the spread of torah values in every way, and in addition to that, you vote for Shas, you will go to heaven. He was quotes as saying that "anyone who votes for Shas will end up in heaven." That is a pretty unequivocal statement. Is the implication there that even if a person does not support the spread of torah values, and lives a completely unrighteous life, he will still go to heaven if he simply votes Shas? I would think that is what he is saying.

10:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to say, OM, I agree with anon above. I don't get the big deal. I think it's pretty obvious that he didn't mean that all a lifelong sinner has to do to be assured of a place in heaven is vote for Shas. His moshul seemed pretty clear to me. If you think you can't have the great zchusim that wealthy philanthropists can have, you are wrong. By voting for Shas, you too will have a part in these great mitzvos (building mikvaos and batai midrashim). And the idea of schar v'onesh tells us that doing good deeds = schar in the next world.

I don't think he was saying any more then that.

10:37 AM  
Blogger orthomom said...

Again, I disagree. When was the last time that Judaism told us that getting olam haba was as simple as doing just *one* good deed - even if it one that gives you a part in greater mitzvot? Doing good deeds does get us schar - but just this one??

10:39 AM  
Blogger Mississippi Fred MacDowell said...

>Again, I disagree. When was the last time that Judaism told us thatgetting olam haba was as simple as doing just *one* good deed - even ifit one that gives you a part in greater mitzvot? Doing good deeds doesget us schar - but just this one??

The Talmud and cognate rabbinic literature is replete with such statements.

12:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

orthomom; this person is the chief rabbi he is not some street cleaner. he is a gadol. i dont understand what you do, this seems to be more a common occurance of your blogs taking shots at gedolim. i know who you are and quite frankly i am suprised.

4:42 PM  
Blogger Daniel Q Blog said...

I would also agree with Anon. It is true that if a Jew does one mitzva; he is ensured a part in the world to come.

Would I have chosen such a statement? Maybe no. But I am not an Israeli nor a gadol. The Jewish people of Israel have largely chosen secularism, maybe this is pushing the envelope to get secularists Jews to contemplate their political and religious way?

I don't know, but I wouldn't bash the Rabbis so quickly. Besides the media is awful at reporting about what a Rabbi said. They are into selling papers, not making sure the Rabbi's words are spread.

4:53 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

i dont understand what you do, this seems to be more a common occurance of your blogs taking shots at gedolim.

Name your examples. And if this post is "taking shots at gedolim", then you should not read my blog - or any others, for that matter. There is no reason I cannot report something that a Gadol has said in a factual manner. I DO find getting olam haba for a vote to be a very good deal.

i know who you are and quite frankly i am suprised.

LOL. I highly doubt that. I don't think that anyone who really knew who I was would be surprised by this post.

5:06 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

I don't know, but I wouldn't bash the Rabbis so quickly.

Bash?? If this is bashing Gedolim, I have a few blog addresses I would stay away from if I were you. E-mail me if you want the list...

5:18 PM  
Blogger Daniel Q Blog said...

I am hardly am calling you are bad offender, but you sounded a tad sarcastic in the post...call me crazy.

7:38 PM  
Blogger Daniel Q Blog said...

one too many ams :)

7:39 PM  
Blogger Chilled Yungerman said...

Daniel Q , You have a point

11:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

daniel and chilled, u guys must be crazy. daniel, u commented at dovbears blog on this very subject, but u didnt comment that he was trashing the gedolim. did u notice that he said ROY was "not preacticing judaism' in HIS post?

OM, good post. I actually think u skated around the edges of trashing ROY very nicely.

7:24 AM  
Blogger Daniel Q Blog said...

//I am hardly am calling you are bad offender,//-Me

I won't comment anon...but I am in full disagreeance there is a far worse offender. :)

10:55 AM  
Blogger Soccer Dad said...

I used to go to a very eclectic Parsha shiur. The Rav who gave it once read us a passage from a Sefer by R' Ovadia Yosef where he talked about being visited by R' Yosef Karo who assures him that efforts he puts forth politically are important. (I don't recall the sefer.)
R Ovadia Yosef sees politics as being a means to holiness. I think that to some degree as Ashkenazim we look somewhat cynically upon such views.

2:28 PM  
Blogger BBJ said...

"R Ovadia Yosef sees politics as being a means to holiness. I think that to some degree as Ashkenazim we look somewhat cynically upon such views. "

I'm Ashkenazi, and I see politics as being a means to holiness. I just don't agree with Ovadiah Yosef about politics, nor do I believe that Ovadiah Yosef is an arbiter of holiness. He has said too many hurtful, crazy, high-handed and stupid things over the years for me to have much respect for him as a person or a political leader, although friends of mine with more learning than I say that they respect his halakhic work.

That said, there was a belief in Europe in the Middle Ages that being buried in the robes of a Franciscan friar would earn you an automatic admittance to heaven. It seems to me that this is even easier than voting for Shas, since you can have someone else take care of it after you're dead.

11:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you are too quick to jump.It is not the vote itself but what the vote enables.Think before you write.

5:43 PM  
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