Let’s be fair to this guy for a minute. He’s the up and coming head Rabbi of Tzahal. In that position, he’ll be doing precisely nothing, which is something I deeply respect out of government employees (seriously, no joke). But in any case, I don’t want this blog to turn into those sorts of blogs that look for opportunities to bash Rabbis for having quotes taken out of context just for the sake of making fun of some political side or other. I hate all political sides so I shouldn’t single one out.
Rabbis are generally so incredibly weak in terms of moral authority and ability to enforce it these days that anything they say is almost always constricted to the 4 amos of theoretical Halacha and never taken out into the real world. I have no doubt that this guy issued his teshuva (answer) on raping women during wartime in a theoretical halachic construct that has nothing to do with reality. This contrasts heavily with Islamic fatwas calling even homosexual rape during interrogations permissible according to Islamic Sharia. In that case, I’m pretty sure the Imams are quite serious and intend for their sharia psak to be followed in reality. Anyone think I’m wrong?
Rabbis saying things like this are saying it in a purely academic context. There are 10,000 qualifications that would never allow the raping of an Arab woman for the purpose of spicing up soldier morale. For example, it can only be done to an idolator, not a monotheist, so that automatically disqualifies Muslims from being raped. It can only be done during a halachic war (Reshus or Mitzva anyone know?) which does not happen these days because we have politician wars rather than Sanhedrin directed wars. Being a professional Rabbi means building all these walls specifically so that any psak outside of a purely ritualistic framework has zero application to the world we actually live in. Which itself illustrates the rather sad state of Judaism as we know it today.
So what Rabbi Karim Non Abdul Jabbar was saying is that in the theoretical non-existent case of Eshes Yefas Toar (the pretty captive woman in wartime) from Deuteronomy, he holds that the case allows rape before the 30 day waiting period that the Torah mandates before marrying the woman. I think this is an incorrect reading, but we should recognize the statement for what it is – stupidity rather than evil. Not a Rabbi giving his hechsher (kosher stamp) to actual wholesale gang rape during wartime, but a Rabbi crudely intellectually masturbating in public for purely academic reasons wondering what would theoretically move a scoreboard in heaven and what won’t, in his own mental construction of what triggers the score.
So as a shoutout to the AIPAC fans and those that insist that Jews are more moral than Muslims on issues of micro-morality such as this here’s my mainstream statement: More muslim soldiers would rape Jewish women (and Muslim women and Muslim men as well) in wartime than Jewish men would rape muslim women in wartime. That much I do think is true.
But it doesn’t change the fact that when it comes to macro-morality, as in what Jews are doing with their army as a whole in the first place and whose land they’re on, Jews have serious problems.
Here’s Rav Karim’s teshuva on the rape issue from 4 years ago where he pretty much says that rape during wartime nowadays is completely ussur, which of course is the right answer to the question.
As for my questions for the Rabbi:
- At what point is one justified in disobeying the orders of his superiors during wartime
- If some soldier in the real actual world were really actually raping a woman, am I permitted/commanded to stop him?
- If a Jewish soldier is expelling a Jew from his home, am I allowed to stop that soldier short of killing him?
- If I believe the military occupation is wrong and against the Torah, do I still have to serve in the army?
Obviously, Rav Karim cannot answer these questions, because if he did he’d be fired, and instead of doing nothing, he’d have to actually do something. Great and powerful Rabbis. Fleh. Go and crawl back under your theoretical halachic rock that doesn’t exist. The light of the real world is too bright for you to deal with.