A number of days ago Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef had some fairly harsh and nasty words to say about Rabbi David Stav.
Earlier today at a conference on Religious Zionism that was sponsored by the Israel Democracy Institute, Rabbi Benny Lau is reported to have said the following words in response to Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef’s comments. I am sure that these words were difficult for Rabbi Lau to say.
יש להפסיק לעלות לרגל לרב עובדיה, יש למחות בקול רם! זאת חציית קווים שאי אפשר להבליג עליה! אני צריך לחזור בתשובה, כי שנים רבות לא פתחתי את הפה כשהרב עובדיה גידף וחירף אנשים בציבוריות הישראלית. אני יצרתי לעצמי, איזה שהוא דגם של הפרדה. הייתי מחובר לתורה שלו, לגדלות שלו, לעוצמה שלו, ודווקא בגלל כבודו של הרב עובדיה – אני מתבייש, מתבייש מתבייש..
Making pilgrimages to Rav Ovadiah must stop, a loud protest must be heard! This is a crossing of all lines that is impossible to be restrained about. I have to repent, because for many years I didn’t open my mouth when Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef insulted and defamed public figures in Israel. I made for myself a sort of division. I was connected to his Torah, to his greatness, and especially because of Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef’s honor I am embarrassed, embarrassed, embarrassed.
To emphasize how difficult this must have been for Rabbi Lau, I want to remind people that he wrote a book about Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef, much of which was made possible by Rabbi Yosef giving Rabbi Lau access to many of his private writings, including journals that he has kept over the years. Rabbi Yosef even wrote the following approbation to Rabbi Lau’s book:
Many of Rabbi Yosef’s books are on my bookshelves and Rabbi Lau’s comments are therefore all the more difficult to hear, but maybe necessary.