WEDDINGS, divorces or any other duties performed by rabbis who possess iPhones or have access to the “unfiltered” Internet have no validity, according to Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, 85, of Bnei Brak, who is viewed by many as one of the “sages of his generation”
The ultra-Orthodox rabbi issued a bizarre interpretation of Jewish law, saying that if any witness to one’s wedding owned an iPhone or had access to “unfiltered” Internet the wedding is invalid.
He said the same rule also applies to divorce. If the person who handed you a divorce decree surfed the net you’re still hitched and need to redo the entire process.
According to this Haaretz report, the Kanievsky ruling was communicated to the world at large by Rabbi Aaron Feinhandler, who heads something called the “Committee for Clean Communications”. This operates against the “spiritual corruption” the Internet could generate within the ultra-Orthodox community.
Feinhandler wrote a letter describing his encounter Kanievsky and it was originally published in the Haredi website Kikar Hashabbat on Monday.
Although the letter specified “iPhone” one can assume that the ruling applies to all smartphones.
In addition to marriage and divorce, the letter claimed that Kanievsky ruled that Internet-users are disqualified to certify a mikveh, a ritual bathing facility for women, as being “kosher” for use. It said that since rabbis and many municipal employees who certify the ritual baths in cities like Jerusalem carry smartphones, the certification of the baths were invalid.
The same goes for rulings of the country’s official religious court system, or any others decisions made by smartphone-toting officials.
If Kanievsky’s ruling has been correctly interpreted, it casts doubt on the entire Israeli rabbinate, and if taken at all seriously, it could lead to enormous of marital strife. It also means that countless children were conceived out of wedlock, and thousands of court decisions are invalid.
Reporting this crazy story for Haaretz, Allison Kaplan Sommer said:
The only ones who could possibly be happy about such a development are the attorneys who specialize in religious law. Talk about a bonanza.
Hat tip: Michael Cohen