iPhones and the Internet render ceremonies performed by Israeli rabbis invalid, says ‘expert’

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”

Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky

Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky searches an ancient “holy” book for references  to smartphones and the Internet

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


29 responses to “iPhones and the Internet render ceremonies performed by Israeli rabbis invalid, says ‘expert’”

  1. Cameron Logan says:


  2. Matt+Westwood says:

    Tetchy old man having a strop. What’s new?

  3. L.Long says:

    Perfect! He is 100% correct!. And he should tell the other hypocrites of his religion that possessing these devices are evil and must not be used. Please tell them!! The more the young ones (the old ones are too brain-dead for the most part) hear these brain-dead old farts mouth-off BS of the highest pile then the more they will think and leave the faith.
    The more stupid the religion is, the more they will leave. Well OK maybe not because moremans and scientologist still exist and its hard to get anything more stupid, well OK homeopathy.
    Never underestimate the power and breath of human stupidity!!

  4. Caute says:

    These fuckwits truly believe that to commune with god you just clasp your hands together and mutter what you wish. Apple products are the work of the devil.

  5. David Anderson says:

    I’m disappointed. I was hoping that the crackpot was going to include circumcision in those “invalid” rituals. I was imagining loads of men with “invalid” willys.

  6. Caute says:

    What the hell goes through the minds of these people? Do they not realise how fatuous, ignorant, outmoded and stupid they appear? Do they feel no shame or is their conceit of such gargantuan magnitude to render them immune from consideration of what rational people think.

  7. Broga says:

    What a waste of time and life being immersed in religious junk. They could be reading something enlightening, entertaining or of practical use in living one’s life.

  8. AgentCormac says:

    Another religiot pronouncing gibberish ramblings on a subject about which he knows absolutely nothing whatsoever. One day people will look back on the early 21st century and marvel that we didn’t have the likes of Kanievsky sectioned for being insane.

  9. Broga says:

    @AgentCormac: I was very pleased to be able to read that. Many thanks. So it seems the guest editor insisted on the atheist contributor. This article just demonstrates the dictatorial and arrogant attitude of the God Bosses at the BBC.

    It really is an appalling insult to the many secularist listeners to Radio4, who pay their licence fees, that they are treated with such contempt. When are the politicians going to have the guts to tackle this and confront the God Bosses? Of course, we have the problem that David Cameron says he believes in the religious fantasies. And we have Liz Windsor, and her state funded hangers on, trundling along to church and heavily publicised by the BBC.

    Do any of them, including the church hierarchy, really believe what they claim? How can they? Or are they in it because they view the alleged belief as being to their advantage?

  10. charlie says:

    The crazy hurts. Every time I think we have seen the absolute height of stupid, some fool comes along and tops it. This clown just proves it.

  11. Barry Duke says:

    Oooo-er. Seems like I’ve “unwittingly done good on Christmas eve”:

  12. barriejohn says:

    And the silly woman is directing even more people to the Freethinker website, too. Touche!

  13. Broga says:

    @Barry: What else can she do except conjure up something positive. She believes in fantasy.

    I also think when you have to posture with your academic qualifications this is a sign of insecurity. It is an indication that you need to rely on these qualifications to attempt to obtain some authority which is absent from the argument. I’m OK on that front: “O” levels in Woodwork and Religious Knowledge

  14. Barry Duke says:

    Well, Broga, actually I DID do good this Christmas – not unwittingly and certainly not in relation to Mrs Trasancos.

    I was contacted on Christmas eve by a very concerned parent in the US who sent me a copy of a horrifying hell-and-damnation tract that had been shoved into her fourth grader’s Christmas package by a fundamentalist Christian teacher. I spent a great deal of time hunting this teacher down, then sent her an email demanding an explanation.

    I wrote: “If you are not the person concerned, please accept my humble apologies. However, if you were responsible for handing out this bilge to youngsters – an act that’s tantamount to emotional terrorism and thus a form of child abuse – would you be kind enough to explain your behaviour to me?”

    By return I received a grovelling apology, and was asked to pass it onto the family concerned, which I did, and for which they were extremely grateful. Had I exposed this teacher and her behaviour on this blog, all hell might well have broken loose.

    I pointed out to her that “had I chosen to publish a report about your action, both you and your school would very likely have been targeted by individuals and organisations who work hard to maintain the separation of church and state. In particular Americans United for Separation of Church and State ( take a very dim view of the sort of violation of the Constitution that you have admitted to. Had they had been alerted to this violation, they undoubtedly would have put pressure on your school to take action against you, and a lawsuit may well have ensued.

    “I am not a vindictive person but I assure you that had you answered my email in an aggressive, non-apologetic manner I would not have hesitated to make this matter public.”

    I also told her of my sadness that her presence on a social networking page reflected her dislike of gay people.She had posted a link to a petition calling for the reinstatement of US reality show personality Phil Robertson, who was sacked for saying outrageously offensive things about The Gays ( She immediately removed that link.

    I concluded: “Finally, I would like to take this opportunity, in the spirit of seasonal goodwill, to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. You are in the envious position of being able to shape the minds of young people, and I would like to think that, in the future, you will bear in mind that tolerance towards ALL people – irrespective of their colour, creed or sexual orientation – is a virtue that should be instilled in all youngsters.”

    I passed up an excellent scoop that most likely would have gone viral and could have destroyed the young woman’s career. I chose not to to publish it because I truly believe that she now realises that threatening kids will hell, and promoting homophobia, is a wholly unacceptable thing for a person to do – especially a teacher.

    Now THAT gives me cause to feel virtuous!

  15. Angela_K says:

    @Barry, Trasancos even quoted me complete with my spelling mistake – I am most deeply honoured.

  16. Barry Duke says:

    I have just been reminded in an email received from our Stacy that I blogged about her in 2011. I’d completely forgotten. Creeping Alzheimer’s I fear:

  17. Broga says:

    @Barry: You got a great result there and every credit to you. I think you also demonstrate, yet again, that the internet is proving to be a great means of defending atheism and challenging the consequences of religious belief.

    Happy Christmas to you and thanks to you and the others at The Freethinker and in the National Secular Society for all your work. There is a confidence and authority and indeed general respect for this which was never there in my youth.

  18. Trevor Blake says:

    Anyone with an impish sense of humor would right away buy Rabbi Kanievsky an iphone.

    Muslims have a similar challenge with their book of spells. When one closes one’s phone, or turns off a computer, that contains the Quran, one ‘destroys’ a copy of the Quran from the memory of the computer. Real live adult human beings are having a hard time sleeping at night considering this nontroversy.

  19. […] RABBI Chaim Kanievsky, 85, won’t be reading this as he is dead against the Internet, as we know from a report we posted earlier today. […]

  20. L.Long says:

    I have said before that this Ahole dimwit is not the saddest part of this whole thing, it is the sad sad fact that there are even dimmer sheeple that will do as he says.

  21. charlie says:

    BRAVO sir. Your excellent response to a rather dim person was great. That you took no further action makes you a very good human being. You had power, yet decided to not use it. Glad you got her to see the truth.
    A very Happy Holiday season to you and all who stop by here.

  22. Barry Duke says:

    Charlie, I simply felt compelled to draw this deluded woman’s attention to something she clearly never paused to consider: that it is NEVER acceptable to impose destructive superstition on the most credulous, the most vulnerable, the young.

    In her own words: “I included a tract [that threatened ‘eternity in HELL’]from the church that I attend. No malice or intent to harm any child was meant. I love all of my students. I respect each student for the person they are and honestly meant to harm anyone.”

  23. Broga says:

    On BBC4 at 6.45am there was a comment about the refusal of the invited editor being allowed to put an atheist in the TfTD slot. Two comments followed: 1. There was concern that religion was being “marginalised”; 2. many listeners, of no faith, did not agree with the current TfTD format.

    A further two comments occur to me. 1. Religion cannot compete with a secular contribution to TfTD and requires protection 2. How much longer can the censorship of a secular contribution be denied increasingly rebellious listeners to appease the religious hierarchy?

  24. barriejohn says:

    Barry: Very magnanimous of you, but I would have shopped the woman. As an ex-evangelical myself, I can assure you that she only THINKS that she “respects” other points of view; she doesn’t relly know the meaning of the word. In actual fact all ideologues consider their own world-view the only valid one, and consider it their duty to persuade others – especially the young -to adopt it for their own good and the good of society. All other considerations are immaterial. I bet that she would do anything she possibly could to get her charges “converted”, and that in her heart nothing has really changed, even if she is more careful in the future!

  25. 1859 says:

    @Barry D: You’d better watch out – the Trasancos woman is out to hug you! You found her a publisher! And she’s just completed her MA in ‘Dogmatic Theology’ – one wonders what Undogmatic theology looks like?

    Anyway, congrats in not shopping the other woman in your life. I don’t agree with Barriejohn who says she only ‘Thinks’ she respects…etc. At least this way you have given her the chance to rethink her own position, and what you quoted from her email sounds genuine enough. Although this probably sounds hopelessly naive, I think giving people the opportunity to shift their position without the world screaming into their faces that they are moral criminals, just creates less enemies for us, in the end, to deal with.

  26. DonielS says:

    You left out the most important tidbit:

    Rabbi Aaron Feinhandler and his Committee for Clean Communications have been trying to develop the Kosher iPhone (limited Internet filtered by them, no SMS and no Social Apps ) for over a year now.

    So far they haven’t succeeded – but their PR campaign is in full swing – so that they can hit the market running.

    A brilliant business man, it seems.