Thursday, March 16, 2006

Purim lies?

Ynet: A Purim row has erupted between leading ultra-Orthodox Rabbi Shalom Yosef Elyashiv and Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi Yona Metzger, eyewitnesses to the incident reported. However, Metzger himself dismissed the reports and said the incident in question "never happened." Rabbi Elyashiv is considered to be Rabbi Metzger's patron and the main factor behind his election to the prominent post of chief rabbi. However, the two former associates reportedly got involved in an unpleasant incident Wednesday, after meeting at the house of an acquaintance where Rabbi Elyashiv was receiving guests on the occasion of the Purim holiday festivities. As is the custom, Rabbi Metzger brought with him a "mishloach manot" (a traditional holiday gift consisting of sweets and pastries) and presented it to Rabbi Elyashiv, who unexpectedly refused to receive it. Witnesses to the incident described the episode as extremely embarrassing for Rabbi Metzger. According to them, Metzger handed Elyashiv the "mishloach manot," but the latter told him to "pick it up and take it away." Notably, the two rabbis have had a tense relationship over the past six months, with Elyashiv associates charging that Metzger no longer listens to his patron, and that he went against his instructions on a series of significant matters related to religious services and the religious council of Jerusalem. "Rabbi Metzger spends more time on trips abroad than he does on taking care of the religious services," sources close to Rabbi Elyashiv said. However, associates of Rabbi Metzger denied the incident haf taken place. "This is complete nonsense, Rabbi Metzger arrived at the house and was invited in. he spoke with Rabbi Elyashiv for about half an hour," one source said. "Regarding the 'mishloach manot,' the story is quite the opposite. One of Rabbi Elyashiv's assistants was called to bring in the gift. Someone has an interest to cause a dispute," a Metzger associate said. Metzger himself also dismissed reports of the incident. "This never happened. There is not even the slightest dispute between me and Rabbi Elyashiv. On the contrary, Rabbi Elyashiv greeted me warmly and sympathetically, interrupted his studies in order to see me and even offered I sit next to him," Metzger said. "It is well known the Rabbi does not receive Purim gifts, but in my case he made an exception and his daughter received the 'mishloach manot' on his behalf," Metzger added.
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