Michael Boyden
Michael Boyden

‘Reform Jews are the Wicked Son’

Rabbi David Yosef, a member of the Council of Torah Sages who is referred to by the charedi website Kikar Ha-Shabbat as a “gaon” (genius), used his pre-Passover weekly Torah shiur last Sunday to attack Reform Jews.

In his shiur he told his students, who will serve as rabbis both in Israel and in Jewish communities throughout the world, that Reform Jews eat chametz during Pesach and that they are the wicked son in the Haggadah.

Given his late father Ovadiah Yosef’s propensity to attack those whose views differed from his own, we should not be too surprised that his son is equally vulgar and intolerant of others.

It will be recalled that his father accused teachers at Israel’s secular schools of being “rebellious and eating treifot (non-kosher food)” and also expressed the view that “it is no surprise that soldiers get killed in battle when they don’t observe the Sabbath or keep the Torah”.

Fortunately, Israel is as yet not a country governed by a Sanhedrin comprised of so-called “Torah sages”. Otherwise, those whose views differ from Rabbi Yosef’s would be put to death by stoning as enjoined by tractate Sanhedrin in much the same way as those branded as heretics are treated by the Taliban and ISIS.

If the very thought sounds outlandish, it should be noted that Rabbi Yosef concluded his shiur by expressing the hope that the day would come when “we shall eat the sacrifices and Pascal offerings brought willingly to Your altar”.

In his attack on Reform Jews, Rabbi Yosef seems to have forgotten the statement in the book of Proverbs that “the ways (of Torah) are ways of pleasantness and all its paths are peace”.

The Jewish world is sufficiently torn and divided without Rabbi Yosef inciting those who look to him for spiritual enlightenment.

About the Author
Rabbi Boyden was educated and received his rabbinical ordination in London, England. Having served as the rabbi of Cheshire Reform Congregation for thirteen years, he made aliyah with his family in 1985. He has established Reform congregations in Ra'anana and Hod Hasharon and previously served as director of the Israel Reform Movement's Beit Din.