Follow-Up: Open Orthodox “Rabbi” Falsifying the Torah of Rav Ovadia Yosef zt”l


By Rabbi Yair Hoffman, The Five Towns Jewish Times

In a recent FaceBook post that was re-tweeted on earlier this week, O’O-Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz falsely states that Rav Ovadia Yosef recommended praying in a mosque over praying alone.

This is patently false. Rav Ovadia never made such a ruling. He never mentions it in any of his responsas – neither in “Yabia Omer” nor in “Yechaveh Daas.” This is a falsehood that O’O’-Rabbi Yanklowitz came up with to justify him going to have a joint prayer session at a mosque together with Moslems.

So where did he get it from? This author suspects that he had casually misread a website that quotes Rav Ovadia in permitting davening at Maaras HaMachpela. He has the audacity to attack that other website by writing, “What they don’t know is that Rabbi Ovadia Yosef writes… etc.” In the meantime, he has besmirched the name of a leading Posaik by attributing false halacha to him.

The website passage that this author suspects that the O’O’Rabbi misread states as follows:

Is a Jew Permitted to Enter a Mosque or Church in a Case of Great Need?
Question: May a Jew enter a mosque or church when there is a need to do so or to visit there as a tourist attraction?

The Practice of Maran Harav Shlit”a While Serving as a Rabbi in Egypt

Entering a Muslim Mosque

Regarding entering a mosque, the Rambam explains in one of his responses that Ishmaelites are not considered idol-worshippers since they believe in Hashem, blessed is He, and there is no denial of Hashem in their religion or anything else that should cause them to be considered idol-worshippers. We are therefore lenient and sell our lands to Ishmaelites during the Shemitta (Sabbatical) year based on the “Heter Mechira” process although it is forbidden to sell land in Eretz Yisrael to an idol-worshipper; this is because Ishmaelites are not considered idol-worshippers. Based on this, mosques are not considered actual houses of idol worship and one may enter them according to the letter of the law.

Summary: It is absolutely forbidden to enter a house of idol worship. Included in this prohibition is entering a Christian church or other kinds of houses of idol worship in the Far East. Nevertheless, there is no halachic prohibition to enter an Arabic Muslim mosque; this is especially true when this is being done in order to pray there, such as at the graves of our forefathers in the Machpela Cave in Chevron.

It is this last line of this link and the title [and the fact that No where in his vast writings does Rav Ovadia zatzal say what Yanlowitz has him saying) that indicates to this author the source for his mistake.

So please, please, if you are reading this – do not erroneously read websites in your attempt to state halacha. You should also apologize for the falsehood.

In another development, Rav Shlomo Miller, one of the leading Poskim in North America, released a request that Orthodox Jewish news media should refrain from using the term “Open Orthodox” when describing this movement – because they are not Orthodox and it is misleading. Rav Miller added that their commitment to halacha is similar to that of the Reform movement when they first started.

Here is the letter from Rav Miller:


The author can be reached at



    • i agree & will admit i do not know who he is & never heard of this crazy yankolowitz is. until i saw this & also investigated

      may he do teshuva very soon

  1. Shmuly, we knew since day one that you and your mentor Mr Weiss are swine, putting forward your “split hooves.” You talk the talk to try and influence the unsuspecting. But we know exactly what you are.
    Stop fooling yourself and stop lying. Your entire movement is driven by dark motives. The same motives that drove other movements before you.
    But you’re much worse than the others. Because others didn’t pretend to be something they weren’t.
    I hope it’s not too late for Teshuvah, Shmuly…

  2. Alfred Jenkins is going to have to have his best game, if we stand any chance of winning our first Super Bowl. Come on rabbosai, we can do it.

  3. Let us take an example Rabbi Shimon Hakipuli vs the X-ians, lfind someone who will push them OUT OF THE Machne Hacharedi, so everyone will know who they REALLY are!

  4. Can’t figure out why Rabbi Hoffman refers to this guy as “rabbi”. Just say ‘O’O Shmuly Yanklowitz….’.
    Why give him any courtesy. Maybe this is implied in what Rabbi Shlomo Miller suggested.

  5. Dear Rabbi Hoffman,

    When will the Rabbis stand up and announce “it is better to miss Shofar on Rosh Hashana than enter an OO ‘synagogue’ ” a la Conservatives c.1960s?

  6. How about calling them “Culturally Observant”?
    Their culture is to be observant. Unfortunately, if their culture has things that disagree with the Torah, then you know what they will unfortunately choose.


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