Chief Sephardic Rabbi Shlomo Amar, the Rishon LeTzion, said Tuesday that the Jewish people should never feel embarrassed by the aspiration to see Torah law implemented as the law of the land.
Speaking at the Tzorva M'Rabanan ("Learning from Our Teachers") conference at Yavneh's Kerem B'Yavneh Yeshiva, the oldest Hesder yeshiva, Rabbi Amar spoke about the Jewish goal of a justice system based on Torah jurisprudence, stating that trying a case in a court that rules according to foreign laws, rather than a rabbinical court, is a crime against the Torah.
"Let us be worthy of Torah jurisprudence," Rabbi Amar said, "and we are not ashamed of this. Let the fools shout as much as they will. We pray that Torah law will be established, because that is the true law. We are Jews - we didn't come from any other nation, G-d forbid - and this is our law. Unfortunately, we are in the situation of Shechintah b'galuta [the Divine Presence in a state of 'exile'] and therefore Torah law is not respected."
The rabbi reiterated the ruling by the famous Torah commentator Maimonides (Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon or Rambam) that one who takes advantage of the recourse to non-Torah courts instead of rabbinical courts is as if he "raised his hand against the Torah of Moses".
"To our shame, there are those who are called 'observant' or 'religious' - or all kinds of names that were invented with time - who go looking for 'broken vessels that hold no water'," Rabbi Amar said in reference to those Jews preferring secular, non-Torah courts to Torah jurisprudence. "In the case of no other sin did the Rambam say one 'raises his hand against the Torah of Moses', except regarding one who follows rulings of courts not bound by Torah jurisprudence. It is for this we pray, when we say [in the daily prayers], 'return our judges as it was in the beginning'."