We hear through an iPhone darkly: rabbinical authority and the Aural Torah

For the Roman Catholic, the pope (in matters of morals and doctrine) is God on earth. For the Haredi Jew, the rabbi, through the Oral Torah, is God on earth. When the Jew cleaves to his rabbi, he cleaves to God. He cannot cleave directly to God because as Rashi says, quoting the scripture, “God is a consuming fire.” Anyone who doubts his rabbi, even when he makes shocking exceptions to the rabbinic rule, is one who doubts the divine presence. The incident I have in mind involves the rabbi and the forbidden iPhone. Here is the story from the
Jerusalem Post?

Jerusalem Post 15 Sept 2012

“Rabbi Yitzchak spotted with iPhone despite ban.”

A recent picture of a rabbi in a compromising position that
scandalized the haredi community was Hnally explained on
Sunday.
Rabbi Amnon Yitzhak, renowned for his outreach work among
Sephardi Jews, was photographed several weeks ago holding
what looked suspiciously like an iPhone. This was surprising,
to say the least, since the device has been roundly
denounced by several senior ultra-Orthodox rabbis as being
incompatible with a haredi lifestyle.
Yitzhak initially did not respond to the publication of the
picture, but today the website ofthe organization he heads,
Shofar, published a notice, titled “a clarihcation to prevent
slander.” It said that the rabbi does indeed posses an iPhone
but that he received permission to own one from Rabbi
Aharon Leib Shteinman, the most senior Ashkenazi haredi
rabbi in Israel.
“[Regarding] that which fools ask out of ignorance, ‘How is it
that Rabbi Amnon Yitzhak has an iPhone’?’ -the leader of the
generation, Rabbi Aharon Leib Shteinman, personally
permitted the use of an iPhone by the rabbi and his staff for
the purposes of bringing people back to Judaism,” the notice
read.
“Anyone who doubts his rabbi is as if he doubts the divine
presence,” the announcement concluded darkly.

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