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Day of prayer

Rabbi Jonathan Blass3 Kislev 5763
260
Question
Why hasn’t Prime Minister Sharon called for a day of fasting and prayer, like Abraham Lincoln did when his country was facing a civil war? All the Rabbis I spoke with in America thought it was a good idea to petition him to do so, but that, he should first hear the suggestion from his Rabbinate. Has such a thing been suggested? Any thoughts? If he’s worried about being too Jewish, then he should lay the blame for it on requests from the fundamentalist Christians that send their money to him!
Answer
Israel’s Chief Rabbinate has on a number of occasions in the past years called for days of fasting and prayers. In Israel, this is the role of the rabbinate and not of politicians or statesmen. Even religious statesmen would only suggest to the rabbinate to set aside such a day and wouldn’t do it themselves. Calling for a fast – involving sometimes religious questions: “is it a day when one is allowed to fast?” for example- requires the ability to take a halachic decision and we are fortunate that politicians still do not see this as their prerogative.
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