Jerusalem – This morning Rabbi Yair Hoffman from NY, who is on a tour in Israel sat down for VIN News in an exclusive private talk with Rav Moshe Shternbuch Shlita, the Vice President of the Eida Chareidis and the Chief of the Eida Chareidis Beis Din to discuss the Shabbos Hafganot.
After the discussion the Rav allowed Rabbi Hoffman to be mefarsem the content.
YH: Were the protests originally called by the Eida Chareidis and what was the reason:
RS: The mass protests was originally approved by both the Bais Din and the Rav of the Eida Chareidis. Yerushalayim is the holiest city in the world and when there is such Chilul Shabbos we cannot be quiet about it. We regarded it as an attack on our religion. Especially, the invitation on the part of the mayor to come and park there next to the Kosel, the holiest place in the world in the holiest city in the world.
YH: But what about the violence? Wasn’t the Eida Chareidis aware that violence would definitely develop?
RS: The Eida Chareidis was always against the violence. And it is not correct to assert that there is always violence. It is true that there are always people in every circle that will engage in violence. No responsible person is engaged in the violence.
YH: What about the arrests?
RS: The Eida Chareidis does not want anyone arrested. Most of the time, also, the police arrest people that did not actually do anything, but the Eida Chareidis does not want the violence and it does not want the burning of the garbage cans.
YH: Are the people that engage in the violence to be considered pasul leAidus for a wedding?
RS: Of that there is no question. These damaging acts cause them to be pasul leAidus until they pay restitution. But the truth is that these types of people were in all probability pasul leAidus anyway before the hafganot.. If it was done with the Reshus of the Rabbonim then they would be patur, but here a mazik is chayav in damages and is pasul leAidus.
YH: What is the Eida Chareidis doing to ensure that the violence stop?
RS: The Bais Din has issued a psak that no one should engage in the violence. This week the police have even injured two people. We hope that the violent people in the group will take this as a sign and cease the violence immediately. All groups have people that they cannot control. The left wing of Israeli society for example is constantly helping the enemy and there is nothing that the government can do about it. Chareidi society also has its uncontrollable element that it cannot do anything about.
YH: But wouldn’t it have been better not to do anything in light of the massive Chilul Hashem that is happening throughout the world where the Torah community is being portrayed as a very violent group?
RS: Chillul Shabbos was one of the reasons that caused the Churban Bais HaMikdash and some protest had to be made. In the initial decision this was the thinking. Personally, I felt that one very strong protest would have been enough. However, others in the Eida Chareidis allowed a series of protests, and did not necessarily consider where it would go in the end in terms of what the violent elements would do. The violent people are not responsible people and do not listen to us. They are Baryonim and are not part of the Eida Chareidis community. The original protest was necessary because we are obligated to protest such a strong attack on Shabbos and on the Torah.
YH: Yoelish Krauss is often quoted by the secular media as the Katzin Mivtzaeem KMBZ of the Eida Chareidis. IS he connected in any way to the Aida Chareidis in any way?
RS: He has absolutely no connection to the Eida Chareidis whatsoever. [This is contrary to today’s New York Times article – Editor]
After the interview Rav Shternbuch requested that Rabbi Hoffman convey to American Rabbonim of the need to speak of the enormity of what Chillul Shabbos truly is. Rabbi Hoffman described to VIN News Rav Shternbuch’s demeanor as deeply disturbed by both the Chilul Shabbos and the violence of the Biryonim.
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