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Goren Denies Any ‘deal’ on Chief Rabbi Designation

Chief Rabbi Shlomo Goren of Tel Aviv called today for leniency in interpreting halacha (religious law) where the problems of other persons are involved but denied emphatically that he had made a deal with Premier Golda Meir to find solutions to all pressing halachic problems in Israel if he is elected chief rabbi. Rabbi Goren, the former chief chaplain of Israel’s armed forces, is a leading contender for the post of Ashkenazic Chief Rabbi. He spoke at a luncheon meeting of the Jerusalem Press Club.

He said he could not possibly make any agreement which involved the slightest departure from the authentic rules of halacha. He maintained, however, that within the bounds of authentic halacha there were often more lenient authorities and these ought to be followed in cases which involved issues of state and religion. He said that while it was commendable for an individual to be strict about his own religious practices, he should seek the most lenient approach within the orbit of halacha where other people were concerned.

Rabbi Goren referred specifically to the Langer case–an Israeli brother and sister who have not been permitted to marry the partners of their choice because the Israeli Rabbinate deems them “illegitimate.” Goren recalled that he had published his position 18 months ago which established four distinct halachic grounds for permitting them to marry. He charged that certain Orthodox circles were intimidating prominent rabbis not to reconsider the Langer case. He intimated that members of the Supreme Rabbinical Court had received threats.

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