Daily Israel Report

Rabbi Nixes Annual Uman Trip

There is no justification in Jewish law for spending Rosh Hashanah in the Ukraine, Israeli rabbi says.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 9/2/2011, 1:39 PM

Rabbi Aroussi
Rabbi Aroussi
Flash 90

An Israeli rabbi has come out against the increasingly popular custom of married men traveling to the tomb of Rabbi Nachman of Breslav in Uman, Ukraine for the Rosh Hashanah holiday without their families. There is no justification for leaving one's family to take the trip, Rabbi Ratzon Aroussi told Arutz Sheva.

“We must extend blessings to every movement that brings Jews back to Torah, each in his own path, particularly in these days of repentance,” he said. “However, we must speak the truth: the unity of the family is above everything else. It is a very precious thing in halakhah [Jewish law].” He quoted a passage from the Talmud in which a rabbi told his student, “If you have a family, stay with your family.”

The same spiritual benefits can be had in Israel, he continued. “Do we not have tombs here? The forefathers of our nation are buried here, why go abroad? What about the Tomb of the Patriarchs, Rachel's Tomb, the tombs of the great and mighty of our nation... ?”

Rabbi Aroussi, the rabbi of Kiryat Ono and a member of the Rabbinic Council of the Chief Rabbinicate, explained that visits to a chassidic leader on holidays can be problematic for the same reason. “The spiritual connection to the Admor [Torah leader – ed.] is important – but not at the expense of your home,” he declared.

“Whoever leaves his family and goes to his rabbi or 'admor' (Chassidic leader, ed.)  for the holidays, whether in the Holy Land or even more so, outside the land, is violating halakhah,” he stated. Those who wish to connect to their spiritual leaders on the holiday “should take care to bring their families with them, but G-d forbid that they should leave their families,” he added.

Rabbi Aroussi stated that a one-time trip to visit the tombs of rabbis buried outside Israel would be permissible, “because it is a trip undertaken for a holy purpose, in order to kindle the flame of faith.” However, such trips should not be taken on an annual basis, he added, and not on the holidays.