Monday, February 22, 2010

Rabbi Menachem Porush, OBM

Rabbi Menachem Porush has passed away at age 94. First my condolences to the family. I did not know Rabbi Porush nor had I ever met him. I do however recall a visit he paid to Telshe Yeshiva when I was a student there in the early sixties. But I can’t really say I remember anymore than that about his visit.

I first became aware of who he was by reading his articles in the Jewish Press. I became an immediate fan. I read his columns religiously every week back in the 70s and 80s along with those of Rabbi Meir Kahane. They were my two ‘favortie columnists’ and never missed reading them. Even though I didn’t always agree with them, I most often did. I always respected their sincere expression of their views.

Rabbi Porush - a 7th generation Israeli of Lithuanian descent - was a member of the Knesset representing the Agduat Israel Party, which was the sole Charedi party in Israel for many years. He was the quintessential Agudath Israel Party man serving it faithfully for his entire political career.

He believed in the principles of Agudah which promoted the idea of following the Gedolim in all matters. As such he forcefully argued their positions on any issue that ever arose in Israel ­- both in the Knesset and in his weekly column. He often spoke his mind on issues that did not necessarily represent their views although I do not recall him ever disagreeing with them outright.

I do however recall that one of his biggest disappointments was when the Agudat Israel Party split in two creating a second Charedi party called Degel Hatorah which represented Lithuanian Charedim while the remaining Agudat Israel Party represented Chasidim (of mostly Ger). You could see his pain about that loss of Charedi unity in many of his articles.

He retired from politics when the Agudat Israel Gedolim urged him to do so in order to make room for newer blood. But he never stopped being an advocate for their causes until the day he died continuing to write his column for the Jewish Press every week. He will be sorely missed. To the bereaved: Hamakom Yenachem Eschem B’Soch Shaarei Tzion V’Yerushalayim