Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Rabbi Refuses to Bless Traffic Offender

Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, one of Israel's most noted Ultra Orthodox Rabbis was approached by a yeshiva student involved in a traffic violation for a blessing, and the Rabbi refused.

Following is the transcript of the discussion between the 2, (originally in Hebrew, here)

Student: Honored Rabbi, I have a trial next week and they want to imprison me. Would the Rabbi please bless me to save me from this?

R' Kanievsky: What is the trial about?

Student: I was caught driving without a license after I crashed into a wall

R' Kanievsky: So you're actually a murderer! Actually, they should put you in jail. That would be very good.

Student (yelling): Why? G-d forbid, I didn't kill anyone, and I didn't even hurt anyone. I just had a small car accident between myself and a wall.

R' Kanievsky: But you were driving without a driver's license, were you not?

Student: Yes

R' Kanievsky: So are you called a real killer. You could have had an accident involving people.

Student: But I know how to drive well. Besides this could hurt [my chances] for a shidduch and yeshiva [study]

R' Kanievsky: There is no such thing as "know" [how to drive]. Without a license you don't know how to drive. Regarding shidduchim, its smart not to want you, you're dangerous.

Student: I really regret [my actions]. I just want the Rabbi to give me a blessing to save me in the trial.

R' Kanievsky: What do you regret? If you get a car tomorrow, you won't drive it? You will! Its best for you to sit in jail and study, "do not murder."

Student: Would the Rabbi bless me if I promise to be more careful starting today?

R' Kanievsky: I cannot bless you. May G-d help that you be sentenced [by the court] with whatever is best for you.

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael טובה הארץ מאד מאד


Anonymous said...

Wow. Finally some civil sanity coming from the Gedolim!

But of course, the Chareidi world will declare it a forgery.

-Badatz AS"H

Lakewood Falling Down said...

wow. I'm actually speechless.

Leah Goodman said...

Kol hakavod l'rav!

Critically Observant Jew said...

Now that's integrity. Now I'm starting to think about that one time when I got a speeding ticket (in the US) on Friday because it was almost shkiyah and my rabbi wrote a letter that got the case dismissed. I wonder whether he was wrong for doing so.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

COJ: Speeding before Shkiya is a serious problem. Since when is Shabbat docheh pikuach nefesh?

Ezzie said...

That's true Gadlus.

nmf #7 said...


Anonymous said...

Finally! This is the kind of behavior the Ultra-Orthodox community should be promoting. Such events should be published for the view of the non-religious.

Great piece. Thanks for that.

Anonymous said...


I guess it depends on your religion? I always found it funny that the pope can bless items; and then? They get invested with his "celebrity-hood."

At least this rabbi couldn't be bought off with a "donation." So, it's good to see a common sense approach to someone who thought "a blessing" would make his t'zuris go away. When the real threat is to society, when this idiot sticks a key into a car's ignition. "Because he can."

Tell me, does the story continue that this fella then "rabbi shops?"

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Carol Herman: If you insist on writing inflammatory comments, you'll have to be asked to go elsewhere...

Anonymous said...

Now if he could do the same for irresponsible Haredi (and other) parents who don't strap their kids into the car, or teach them to walk on the pavement then we'll be getting somewhere!

Yellow Boy

RivkA with a capital A said...

From where do you know about this discourse? How do we know it actually happened this way?

If it can be documented, or corroborated by his followers, then this is really quite impressive (and will hopefully have far reaching influence!!)

Jack Steiner said...

No waffles for that guy.

Gee a Moron said...

Waffles for the Rabbi who didn't waffle.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

RivkA: I provided the hyperlinked source (which I translated from the Hebrew). There's a reporter's name as well.

Yellow Boy: Getting parents to strap their kids in is everyone's responsibility...and its a problem in every community.

Traffic Safety overall is abysmal (as I watched a police van yesterday speed up to go through a red light in a large intersection...)

TMidEast: You can help get the word out as well :-)

Anonymous said...

The contrast with the attitude (of the lower court and the offender's Rabbinic supporters) in this case is telling:,7340,L-3750779,00.html

Dayanim like that we don't need.

Yellow Boy

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

YB: Agreed. What was even worse though (IMHO), was that as soon as this issue emerged -- the Ethiopian woman's halachik conversion was "revoked" (as if to punish her for getting run over by the dayan).

That was revolting.

Anonymous said...

A bit intense I think, There's no compassion at all!!! I'm a bit surprised.

and how does "charideie" come into this, even the "non charaidei speed!

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