Hundreds Defend Rabbi Yosef

Police arriving at residence of Rabbi Ya’acov Yosef triggered the response of hundreds of Yeshiva students.

David ben Yacov , | updated: 2:14 PM

Rabbi Lior
Rabbi Lior
File photo

A border patrol vehicle was stationed this morning (Thursday) under the residence of Rabbi Ya’acov Yosef, in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Shmuel HaNavi. The vehicle startled hundreds of local yeshiva students, who rushed to the rabbi’s home, despite his absence at the time.

Sources close to the rabbi were concerned that security forces had arrived to arrest the rabbi for approbating  the Torat Hamelech ["The King's Torah", ed.] a controversial halakhic work authored by rabbi Yitzchak Shapira of Yitzhar.

Aides to the rabbi rejected yesterday’s Channel 2 report stating that Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef, the leading Sephardic Torah authority and Rabbi Ya'acov Yosef's father, did not approve of ‘The King’s Torah’. “The report is a lie. The rabbi never expressed disapproval of the book.”

This morning, a group of journalists accompanied Rabbi Ya’acov Yosef from his home to the tomb of Shimon HaTzaddik. The rabbi requested that they put on tefillin, and they agreed. The rabbi was delighted when one of them said that it was his first time wearing tefillin. A poignant moment was captured on Israeli TV when a policeman kissed the rabbi's hand as is customary in Sephardic tradition.

In a police debriefing, the police reported that Rabbi Yosef was respectfully questioned, and he was not taken into custody.

Last Monday, the police apprehended Rabbi Dov Lior, the rabbi of Kiryat Arba-Hebron on his way to Migron by way of Jerusalem. “They could have tapped his phone in order to track and ambush him,” said the rabbi’s wife.

“The King’s Torah”  presents a Torah-law perspective on the question of civilian casualties during wartime. The laws pertaining to kings are the topics under which war is discussed in many halakhic works, including Maimonides, as the king led the army to war in biblical times The book brings the opinion that it is required to protect the lives of Jewish soldiers even at the expense of the lives of enemy civilians.