Rav Malinowitz On The RBS Mikva Controversy
[This article is published with kind permission of Catriel Lev; I publish it here in order to encourage an open debate on this issue, with all sides of the current dispute being fairly represented]
Rabbi Malinowitz's Opinions on the Mikvaot Controversy, as reported by Catriel Lev
I met with Rabbi Chaim Malinowitz on Monday, the 26th of April, 2010, to hear his opinions on the Mikvaot controversy.
I request that those people interested in the situation read all of his opinions (which are listed below) carefully, and not be deterred by whatever they do not agree with; since, though I am quite certain that some of his outlook is mistaken, it seems to me that most of the disagreements are about what happened in the past, but that there are many points where his opinions as to what should be in the future are identical with what the Dati-Leumi community feels should be in the future.
So, since Rabbi Malinowitz is certain that what he has stated is absolutely the way the Mikvaot should be run, there should be a way to work with him to ensure that this is what occurs in practice, even if it has not been occurring until now, though Rabbi Malinowitz disagrees about the past and is certain that everything has been done properly even in the past.
Here are Rabbi Malinowitz's opinions as he has told them to me and what, to his knowledge, is true:
Since RBS-Alef is at least one half Chareidi, and based upon the last election probably at least 60% Chareidi, that segment of the population deserves to have the nihul of at least one half of the Mikvaot in RBS-Alef done by its Rabbis, as indeed is anyway the case in much of the country (that the mikvaot are under the nihul of Chareidi Rabbonim).
All that the Chareidi Rabbis of RBS-Alef are demanding now is to have the nihul of one half of the Mikvaot in the neighborhood as per the signed agreement; no Chareidi Rabbi, to his knowledge , is pressuring the Mayor to give total control of the Mikvaot to Chareidi Rabbis. He does not know if Chareidi politicians are doing something like that or not, but to the best of his knowledge the Chareidi Rabbis of RBS-Alef are not applying such pressure.
What is happening is that certain non-Chareidim are demanding annulment of the existing signed agreement. What needs to be investigated is: who is the source of the statements that Chareidi Rabbis want total control of all Mikvaot, and the other lies. These lies are being orchestrated, in his opinion, in order to annul the existing signed agreement.
He agrees ,and all the Chareidi rabbonim agree, that one must be very careful not to cause women to stop keeping the Mitzvah of being tovel in a Mikveh. All Mikveh ladies (balaniot) in the Chareidi-run Mikvaot of RBS-Alef are instructed to accept whatever a woman says is a Psak from her Rabbi (whether he is Chareidi or not), not to coerce her into things which are against that Psak, not to touch a woman's body without her permission, and not, chas veshalom, to refuse her the use of the Mikveh because of these things.
Rabbi Malinowitz expressed that he wants to know about any case where a Mikveh lady did not follow these directives, so that he, and the other Rabbis, can ensure that it will be corrected and not happen in the future. If a woman does not feel comfortable discussing these situations with him, he requested that she have her Rabbi contact him with the details, so that he, and the other Rabbis, can ensure that whatever objectionable behavior occurred will not be repeated.
When women contacted him regarding the Mikveh situation he never asked them for details of incidents which they claimed occurred to them, he only told them that Email is not an appropriate way to discuss such matters and that they should meet.
The Chareidi Rabbis of RBS-Alef are making great efforts to have the Mikveh built which is planned for Nachal Luz; but the recent financial problems in the world have made this very difficult, and the ground has yet to been broken for the building of that Mikveh. It is planned to be a Mikveh with American-style amenities that will attract women to be tovel in the Mikveh, and will be under the auspices of Rabbi Davidowitz whose directives, as mentioned above, are to accept whatever a woman says is a Psak from her Rabbi (whether he is Chareidi or not).
According to the present signed agreement, after the Mikveh on Nachal Lachish is renovated , it will be under the sole auspices of Rabbi Spector, and the Mikveh on Nachal Dolev will be under the sole auspices of Rabbi Davidowitz until the Mikveh on Nachal Luz is completed. After the Mikveh on Nachal Luz is completed, the Mikveh on Nachal Dolev will be under the sole auspices of Rabbi Spector, and the Mikveh on Nachal Lachish, in addition to the one on Nachal Luz, will be under the sole auspices of Rabbi Davidowitz.