Religion Magazine

The Supreme Court is Deciding for a Secular State, Not a Halachic One

By Gldmeier @gldmeier
People are upset about the Supreme Court decision regarding conversions, but there seems to be a misunderstanding.
The Supreme Court is not taking a halachic position.
Also, the Supreme Court was filling a void, as the Knesset failed to legislate the matter for the past 13 years, yet it was "discriminating" acceptance of conversions based on political decisions without legislation. That can't happen, and the Supreme Court, after waiting for many years, finally said if the Knesset is not going to legislate the matter, we will. And, the Law of Return already accepted non-Jews, as being Jewish is not a requirement of the Law of Return. The Law of Return accepts immigration to Israel if one has a  single Jewish grandparent, and thousands upon thousands of non-Jews have immigrated to Israel over the years based on that.
That being said, I don't think anyone is surprised by the decision, but many are angry. The thing is, the State of Israel is a secular state. it is not a State based on halacha and Torah, even with many religious and/or traditional citizens. It is a secular State based on secular law and secular society.
It always amuses me when people somehow expect secular politicians and a secular legal system to act according to religion, and get upset when they do not. For political reasons the secular politicians at times find it prudent to "throw bones" to the religious, or to consider the religious position when legislating or setting policy, but in general they are secular, think secular and are building secular society. They will do secular things, and will prefer secular things, except when it is not politically prudent. There is no reason to get angry or surprised when a secular State sets secular policy - that is to be expected. Until there is a halachic State in the Land of Israel, there is no reason to expect or even demand that they follow the halacha.
The Supreme Court is not deciding Reform converts are Jewish. The Supreme Court is saying that because you didn't legislate the matter, you have to equally recognize State-processed converts and privately converted converts.
Don't get upset when Netanyahu or Gantz or Biton or Akunis or Steinitz or whoever eats treif food, desecrates Shabbos, talks to the Reform, etc  -they are secular Jews running a secular State. If they choose not to, it is for political considerations, but we can't expect better of them, because these are not their values.
And one more thing, people used to say the Reform should not get angry that they are legislated against or when policy is set against them. They say, if they want power, they should love here in greater numbers and attain the necessary power. Looks like this is happening now. The Reform are increasing their power. And it has been happening on the watch of the religious/Haredi powers.
So, if the decision stands, people will have to pay attention to whom they marry and look into their background. Just like everywhere else in the world.
If you cannot figure out how to function in a non-halachic State, found one.
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