Strange Fire

Jewish Israel met this morning, Israel’s Memorial Day, with Jerusalem’s Rishon Le’Zion Chief Rabbi Shlomo Moshe Amar Shlitah. The meeting covered the various Christian missionary conferences scheduled to take place in Jerusalem in the upcoming months. JewishIsrael has already reported on these conferences in this article:

Also attending the meeting with Rav Amar were Jerusalem City Councilman Arieh King and Mrs. Mina Fenton.

Toward the end of the meeting, Jewish Israel brought to Rav Amar’s attention the interfaith prayer event to take place tomorrow, on Israel’s Independence Day, at the “Zvi Yisrael” synagogue, on Chovevei Zion Street in Jerusalem. This event is being hosted by Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, as promoted through his “Day To Praise” initiative:

Rabbi Riskin’s protege, David Nekrutman, will be leading the services, where Christians have been invited to pray with Jews, reciting together the Psalms of the Hallel service for Yom Ha’atzmaut.

Rav Amar was shocked from the thought that a Torah observant rabbi would instigate such an event. Below is the English translation of Rav Amar’s letter, which he wrote immediately at the end of our meeting:

With Hashem’s assistance
3rd of the month of Iyar 5775
Yom Hazikaron for the IDF’s fallen soldiers, HY”D

For the sake of my brothers and friends, the residents of the holy city of Jerusalem. May the graciousness of Hashem be upon you.

I’ve heard and my stomach is turning by the terrible report that a Hallel prayer service will take place on Yom Ha’atzmaut in a Jerusalem [Orthodox] synagogue, and that this is a joint Jewish-Christian prayer service organized and officiated by an Israeli rabbi. Even if his intentions are for the good, it is not the correct thing to do.

We have no interest in what Christians do for themselves in their own places, but we have to resist them when they intermingle with the Jewish nation, in attempting to cause us to stumble and veer us away from Hashem’s path to foreign ones.

And I call upon that same rabbi who is busying himself turn back from these path which are nothing but “a strange fire before Hashem, which He had not commanded us” (Leviticus 10:1)

And I call in love and affection upon all of Hashem’s nation to stay away from such events, and pray for the peace of Jerusalem among Hashem’s congregants, and that Hashem will hear and accept our prayers.

Awaiting Hashem’s salvation.
Rav Shlomo Moshe Amar
The Rishon Le’zion
Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem


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