Sign In Forgot Password

The courage to say Yes, the Strength to say No:Conviction for a Cause

Rabbi Jonathan Biatch

The world is blessed, because there are, at any moment in time, 36 righteous souls who quietly yet efficiently, prevent the world from falling into ruin by bringing wholeness to our world. These individuals are called lamed vav-niks because the number 36 is presented in our sacred literature as Lamed Vav. Here is a story about one of these righteous people.
 
Judaism teaches us that taking a principled stand is the tradition of the prophet. It is a mitzvah to rely on the strength of one’s convictions sometimes even in the face of stern opposition. To firmly declare the rightness of her position is the task of this lamed vav-nik.
 
When she won a Parliament seat by virtue of her position on the Likud party slate, MK Sharren Haskel likely did not know the degree to which her party would insist on loyalty. Even when it might affect the ruling coalition, she did not understand the standard political operation procedure to ‘give a little to get a little’ when it came to their coalition partners.
 
Not that this would have made a difference. She knew that the so-called ‘Shabbat shuttering law’ was wrong for the nation, and last January she threatened to vote against the bill. High profile party members sought to bring her before an internal party ‘court’ and compel her to support it.
 
The legislation would grant authority to the Ministry of the Interior to monitor and approve/disapprove of city statutes regarding what businesses can be open on Shabbat. Because of the economic situation of mini-markets, restaurants, and other such businesses, non-observant business owners want the flexibility to be open when they choose, not when the government would permit.
 
When Haskel announced her disapproval, other members of the Knesset have similarly voiced their opposition. Coalition leadership decided to delay a final vote on the measure, even though it was clear that opposition such as Haskel’s would damage the relationships among the coalition party leadership.
 
Both substance and process were Haskel’s concerns. She said, “The mini-market bill is the proposal of a party that barely passes the electoral threshold, yet is trying to force a certain way of life on the entire public. This is a law that would discriminate against certain cities and deepen the secular-ultra Orthodox rift.”
 
Haskel’s resistance to the imposition of Orthodox religious standards in a society which is 80% secular is an important factor in her possible status as a lamed vav-nik. The Torah insists that we follow the desire of the majority (rabbinic interpretation of Exodus 23:2), and Sharren Haskel believes that, in many internal matters, Israel today must adhere to this meta value.
 
You can read more about Sharren Haskel here:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sharren_Haskel
https://www.knesset.gov.il/mk/eng/mk_eng.asp?mk_individual_id_t=950
https://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Think-about-it-MK-Sharren-Haskel-and-coalition-discipline-534741

August 23, 2019 22 Av 5779