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  • Martin van den Bergh

What is Halacha

As I Rabbi I have always supported and taught Halacha. But what is Halacha? Essentially it is Jewish law as expoused by our sages and based on the Torah, both the written and oral law, and especially the Shulchan Aruch. While in essence Halacha is the same between different elements of the Jewish people, there differences, especially between Sephardim and Ashkenazim. And even within these two groupings, there are further differences. Today, there is a further problem, in that the word Halacha is often used to propound opinions as being the law without any further argument. This is used by other ultra and left elements, and such attitudes remove from Judaism its beauty and its elements of loving kindness. I have always seen Halacha as propounded by the our great sages such as Rabbi Obadia Yossef as embodying these essential elements, We should propound a Judaism which is a way of pleasantness, and not one of imposition, without understanding. Last Shabbat, the bus which transports medical staff to and from their homes was passing me. I heard further down the road, people shouting at the bus - "Shabbes, Shabbes." When learning for Semicha we discussed with our teacher, Rabbi Yaacov Yossef ztl (son of Rabbi Yossef Yossef), that such a bus, driven by a non-Jew, can transport staff to and from the hospital on Shabbat.

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I abhor discrimination and the oppression of anyone. Indeed my parents taught me to respect any human being, this coming from their experiences as Jews in the Second World War and the Holocaust. Yet,

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Even though I am no longer a Congregational Rabbi, I still take a great interest in happenings within the Rabbinic World. As in every arena, the Rabbinic World is not without its conflicts and difficu

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