Thursday, November 8, 2007

A Heartwarming Elder Brother Tale

Hatred of the cross and classification of its veneration as idolatry, asinine legalism, mercilessness, ... that's our rabbinic "elder brothers in the faith" all right.

... This reminded [Chief Rabbi of "Israel," Yona Metzger] of one of his last meetings with Pope John Paul II a few years ago and what unfolded as a result of that particular encounter in the Vatican. It was less than a year before the pope passed away and he was rather ill and somewhat infirm. Rabbi Metzger is tall—probably about 6'4"—and he was concerned that he would have to bow his head and lean in to greet the pope and shake his hand. The concern was that as a result of this movement he would be bowing down to the crucifix that hung around the pope’s neck, which would be an act tantamount to bowing to an idol, a halachically prohibited act. He sought the guidance of Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv on this matter, and the elderly posek instructed Rabbi Metzger to stand erect and just extend his hand directly to the pope.

At their encounter in Rome, Rabbi Metzger did as instructed, and he related that in fact upon reaching out to the pope, the pope pulled himself up from his chair and bowed forward to welcome Rabbi Metzger ... ("Long Beach Magic," Larry Gordon, November 08, 2007, 5 Towns Jewish Times)

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