Rav Shach: Democracy = Cancer

…In effect, democracy does not interest the ultra-Orthodox as an issue that is important as a matter of principle, because in their world only Torah values exist. Therefore, Rabbi [Eliezer] Shach* also only refers to democracy in passing in several statements (such as the one in which he compares democracy to cancer, because “only the sacred Torah is the true democracy”).…

* Rav Shach was the leader of non-hasidic haredim until his passing in 2001. His role has been largely taken over by Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, who is presumed to hold like Rav Shach in these matters.



Filed under Haredim, Israel, Religion

9 responses to “Rav Shach: Democracy = Cancer

  1. Paul Freedman

    missing out on the joyous fruits of democracy providing the ichor of paradise to the denizens of Olmert’s Israel.

    Yes, the ultra-Orthodox are the ultra-Orthodox and R. Shach was famous for his “spicy” (if, in his latter years, progressively incoherent ) denunciation of the pork-snufflers of Zionism.

    But we Jews at least amuse each other, no?

  2. DK

    Trusting all public policies to the Gedolim is true freedom.

  3. Paul Freedman

    DK: don’t follow leaders, watch your parking meters…

  4. Paul Freedman

    It’s a quote from a Bob Dylan song called Subterranean Homesick Blues–it translates to think for yourself (don’t follow leaders) and pay attention to the actual reality around you. Then again, Dylan had a fondness for ending rhymes that didn’t necessarily make a whole lot of sense.

  5. Chaya Gilburt

    With all due respect, democracy remains the best of the self-rule systems devised by mankind within the civil realm. Consider the host of corrupt kings which Israel had to endure and what happened to the priestly caste before the destruction of the second Temple. A theocracy based on Torah principles would nevertheless be subject to some ruling body, and in these days, not always reliably so. Checks and balances must be put in place. On the other hand, look at the damage that democracy has brought to Israel. The key, then, is not to enforce a theocracy on Israelis, but simply to spread Judaism among all Jews. Then, they will vote with Torah principles in mind. Before Moshiach reveals Himself, this ought to be our principle task.

  6. Henech

    Rav Shach was not setting out a comprehensive theory of government. He was well aware that hareidim would never have a controlling role in Israel’s corrupt and hypocritical “democracy.” Neither did he have any interest in a theocratic Israel, for the same reason. His interests were in promoting adherence to and study of Torah, and to the extent that this could be achieved by action in the political sphere, this makes the chareidi parties quite unremarkable among those who bustle up to the trough of one of the world’s most corrupt government systems.

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