- General Questions
Is Rabbi Shlomo Goren excepted by all Mizrachi Rabbis? And do they follow his Psakim?
Rav Goren was a great innovator and “michadesh”, with a courageous personality, and accordingly most leading rabbanim view some of his halachic decisions with awe-inspiring respect, and others with surprise. Already in his youth, the entire yeshiva world knew him as “The” rising star of the Chevron Yeshiva, for his outstanding knowledge not just in the Talmud Bavli but also the Y’rushalmi, and his super-sharp insight was already apparent at the age of 17 (!) in his published sefer chidushim on the Rambam’s little-known Hilchot Psulei HaMukdashim and Masechet Mikva’ot at 21. All Mizrachi rabbis (as any Torah-loving Jew) have utmost respect for Rav Goren’s activities already in the War of Independence, who single-handedly made sure that the entire Tzahal serves only kosher food, and personally set-up the Chevra Kadisha, going into dangerous mine-fields to rescue bodies and bring them to a halachic burial, precedents which stand until today, as standard procedure. His courage to stand up for Torah even against the anti-religious Zionist leadership in the post-Holocaust era was legendary (the biographers of Ben-Gurion mention that Rav Goren eventually won BG’s ultimate respect, as very few did!), as was his preparation for the miraculous 6 Day War, where the liberation of Har HaBayit, and all of Biblical Eretz Yisrael, caught everybody, except for Rav Goren, by surprise. The General’s shofar which he blew and small Torah which he carried everywhere with his Uzi, brought a religious spirit even to the most secular of soldiers. As most first-rate poskim, his (obligatory) bravery to search for leniency to allow suspected agunot and mamzerim to marry, sometimes brought attacks from other poskim, as did his halachic and sometimes personal conflict with Rav Ovadia Yosef during their tenure together as Chief Rabbis. He was definitely unique and unquestionably sometimes controversial, but he was undoubtedly placed by Hashem to be the “right man in the right place” regarding many historic and halachic junctions over the last century.