JERUSALEM (VINnews) — Rabbi Shlomo Shraga, a prominent Jerusalem posek and the son of the rabbi of the French Hill neighborhood, Rabbi Baruch Shraga, has issued a number of rulings regarding the person, Michael Elk, who was recently discovered to be a missionary after posing as Rabbi Michael Cohen and officiating at weddings and even performing circumcisions. The rulings were ratified by Rabbi Shraga’s mentor, Sephardic Chief Rabbi Yitzchak Yosef and by his father.
Rabbi Shraga was asked four questions regarding the Christian missionary “who posed as a Jew and mixed into the Ashkenazi community and even sent his children to their institutions. Now his disgrace has been revealed after investigation and after you raised money for his wife’s recovery after she fell sick.”
Rabbi Shraga added that investigation had revealed unequivocally that he and his wife were gentiles and his wife passed away and had been buried in a Jewish cemetery.
Regarding the circumcisions Cohen performed, Rabbi Shraga was asked if they would require Hatafas Dam Bris (bloodletting) and answered that they would indeed require this procedure. Regarding the weddings at which Cohen officiated Rabbi Shraga ruled that if there were two kosher witnesses the marriage was valid but if Cohen himself was a witness they would require a new marriage ceremony. Either way the woman should receive a new Kesubah (marriage document).
Regarding the issue of Tefillin and Mezuzos which Cohen sold, since there are some people testifying that he wrote them and even if he didn’t he probably brought them from other missionaries, they should be burnt.
The most dramatic ruling concerned the burial of Cohen’s wife, who was buried in a staggered grave in Jerusalem with a religious Jewish woman buried underneath her. Rabbi Shraga ruled that the Jewish woman should be removed from her grave in order not to be buried next to a wicked person, this despite the fact that there are 4 cubits between the two women.