New York – In an explosive interview with Zev Brenner on last night’s Talkline radio program, Rabbi Chaim Amsalem, a former member of the Shas party since 2005 who has made waves within Shas by going head to head with R’ Yosef regarding conversions, stresses that their differences are purely political and that in matters of halacha the two do not disagree. Amsalem’s newly created ‘Am Shalem’ party challenges the Chareidi establishment, comparing it to the Taliban and calling it a dictatorship that is hopelessly out of touch with the people it claims to represent.
Pulling no punches, R’ Amsalem expressed his view that today’s Israeli longs for the opportunity to be able to balance Torah study with the ability to become educated and earn a respectable living, a concept that has long been espoused by Sefardim. R’ Amsalem emphasized that many of the Rabbonim we rely on today such as the ‘Rambam’, were both scientists and talmidei chachamim. Saying that Shas is teaching people to become a burden on society by discouraging them from getting jobs, Amsalem called for an end to government stipends for yeshiva students.
Rabbi Amsalem lambasted the notion of Daas Torah, saying it is an invention of the last one hundred years brought to Israel by European Ashkenazim. Saying his personal Daas Torah is the Shulchan Aruch, Gemara and Mishnayos, R’ Amsalem explained that while one should clearly seek Daas Torah in issues of halacha and spirituality, the idea that every word that emanates from the mouth of a gadol is like the word of G-d is a blatant lie, perpetuated by those who hope to control the masses. R’ Amsalem takes aim at Rabbonim who rule on topics such as politics that they know nothing about.
“The Rabbonim are surrounded by ‘courts’, they don’t listen to both sides,” said R’ Amsalem. “They listen only to one side, the side of the court. This goes against the Torah, which says Shomoa bein Achicha – you should hear your fellow Jew. They are not hearing both sides, they bring their decision only upon hearing one side. It should not be done this way. This is NOT Daas Torah.”
Saying that some in the Charedi community, who has banned the internet entirely, is hopelessly out of date and out of touch with today’s society, R’ Amsalem, who clearly represents the Sefardi community, hopes that his Am Shalem party, with its platform of unity and respect for all, will be a unifying force in Israel, addressing the needs of Israelis all across the religious spectrum.
R’ Amsalem scoffed at the notion that his extremist views would result in his being put in cheirem, saying that in today’s world banning him would only increase his popularity.
Listen below to the explosive interview where callers take issue about his view on the notion of ‘Daas Torah’.
The interview starts at minute 48:38. click here