Home > Jewish Fundamentalism > Rabbi Ovadia Yosef on Muslims: “Their religion is as ugly as they are”

Rabbi Ovadia Yosef on Muslims: “Their religion is as ugly as they are”

Rabbi Ovadia Yosef on Muslims: “Their religion is as ugly as they are”

Avishai Ben Haim, Maariv, December 14 2009

“They’re stupid. Their religion is as ugly as they are,” Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, the spiritual leader of Shas, said about Muslims last night during his Saturday night talk.

Rabbi Ovadia Yosef was referring to the fact that a Jewish woman may remarry her husband after they have divorced only if she has not married another man in the interim.

Therefore, in Judaism, if a divorced woman has remarried, she may never remarry her first husband.

This is unlike Muslim religious law, in which the condition for a woman to return to her husband is that she marry and cohabit with another man.

Rabbi Ovadia Yosef spoke on the subject of Hanukkah, emphasizing among other things the obligation to utter every word of the Hallel psalms, since on Hanukkah the blessing over reciting the entire Hallel text is made. In order to explain his statements, he told a story of an incident concerning the governor of the city of Aleppo in Syria.

“The governor of Aleppo, in Aram Tzova, had a good and beautiful wife. He quarreled with her about one thing: he did not get along well with her parents. She wanted to go and welcome her parents, and he would not allow her to do so.”

“‘I have to go. They were outside the country, and they’ve come back. I want to go and welcome them.’” He said that the governor was holding a pomegranate that he was eating, and that he told his wife, “in his great sorrow and anger,” that if she went and did not return by the time he had finished his pomegranate, she would no longer be his wife. He would divorce her.

“By the time she came back, he had finished the pomegranate, so she was divorced. According to their law, a woman who has been divorced may not be brought back unless she has gone with another man. She has to cohabit with him, and then she is permitted to her first husband again. Stupid. That’s their way? Their religion is as ugly as they are.”

Rabbi Ovadia Yosef continued his story: the governor “went and called the sheikh. ‘Such-and-such is what happened.’ The sheikh told him, ‘You have no choice. She has to cohabit with another man, and afterwards you will be allowed to take her back.’ He wept and was filled with regret.”

Nearby there lived a Jewish sage, the chief judge of the local religious court. “The Jewish sage told him, ‘Listen, your wife is allowed to come back to you.’ He said, ‘The sheikh told me that it was forbidden.’ He told him, ‘Your sheikh doesn’t know. Come and I’ll prove to you that she’s allowed to come back to you.’

“He went inside and saw that there were a few pomegranate seeds under his table. (The Jewish sage told the governor,) ‘You never finished the pomegranate. Therefore, she may come back to you.’ (The governor) told him, “There is no one as wise as you are, my friend.”

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Categories: Jewish Fundamentalism
  1. December 14, 2009 at 15:49 | #1

    Is Rabbi Ovadia Yosef influential? You write that he is the spiritual leader of Shas. What is Shas?

    Also, as an FYI, Rabbi Yosef does not acknowledge the Muslim juridical rationale for not allowing an endless series of divorce and remarriage. The whole point is that someone should marry and divorce with reflection and proper intention. A man who divorces his wife because he does not want her to visit her parents or some other trivial reason, or constantly threatens to do so, is abusing her. If this happens repeatedly (usually three times is the recognized legal limit), then they cannot remarry until the wife remarries and cohabits (in other words, it is a genuine marriage). It would be a sin for the wife to marry solely for the purpose of divorcing and “legally” remarrying.

    Muslims differ on how to apply these rules, with the tension being leniency in allowing a consensual union on the one hand and protecting the dignity of the oaths of marriage from abusive divorces on the other.

    In any event, it is all rather messy and dysfunctional for the most part. But I’m not sure if other societies has come up with great ways to handle marriage and divorce. Certainly not the United States, where I live.

    • December 15, 2009 at 18:38 | #2

      Ovadia Yosef is arguably the most influential rabbi in Israel. This is because he is both a religious and an ethnic leader. Shas is larger than any of the other religious parties because its supporters include many Jews of middle-eastern origin who support it out of ethnic identification.

  2. gerald spezio
    December 14, 2009 at 15:52 | #3

    Where is sweet & kindly Eli Weisel with his stern demands to prosecute the snarling Rabbi for hurtful Hate Speech?
    Where is lawyer Dershie with his briefcase & lawsuit?

  3. Jack Auff
    December 14, 2009 at 22:03 | #4

    I imagine the portly Abe Foxman of the ADL will use this as an example of a hate crime and denounce the rabid Rabbi’s mutterings?

    If Muslim had said this about Jews, it would be on the front page of the New York Times.

  4. December 15, 2009 at 01:11 | #5

    The most dangerous conflicts between Jews and Muslims do not originate in something as trivial as merely legal issues, but in the denial that Mohammed was a ‘prophet like Moses’ (see Deuteronomy 18:17-20); having received both the Vision of the “Son of man” (the “Night Journey”)–see, also, Genesis 3:24–and the Revelation of the Memory of Creation (Genesis 2:7).

    Michael Cecil

  5. Susan Levi
    December 15, 2009 at 20:51 | #6

    I believe that Rabbi Ovadia Yosef is mistaken in the technical analysis of Muslim family law under the Sharia.

    There is consensus amongst Islamic jurists that a man may divorce his woman and re-marry her again up to three times

    However after divorcing her a third time, he may not remarry her, until she has married another man and has become divorced from him. This second marriage has to be a genuine attempt to found a marital life with a new partner. It should not be a sham, just to overcome the legality preventing remarriage to the ex-husband.

    The object of this religous guidance is to inhibit men from divorcing their wives frivolously or abusing divorce as a means of causing their wives constant insecurity with the threat of divorce.

    As with followers of all religons, teachings are occaisionally abused, but that should not be used as an excuse to disrepect the way of life that many millions have chosen to follow.

  6. May 7, 2011 at 04:38 | #7

    I will not kill. Commit to this one thing for life. There is no reason to kill people in modern world. One doesn’t have to kill for food or resources. If a person can forgive, more so can God. It is not a sin not to kill. Spare a life and give hope of change. I will not kill. Commit to this one thing for life, that’s all there is to it.

  1. December 14, 2009 at 14:27 | #1
  2. December 14, 2009 at 18:58 | #2

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