This isn't a question regarding Israeli politics or issues like that. This question is purely about where these groups (Groups which followed Meir Kahane or similar voices) developed or derived their Halacha and how their systems are structured.

European Orthodoxy, for example, tends to follow a more understood structure (or at least more understood to me). You can see the community lines and Rabbinical dynasties and the various shifts from region to region and so on. You can find out quite easily where their traditions come from and who the current leaders and voices within these communities are today.

These Israel nationalist Orthodoxies seem to have kind of popped up randomly out of history. I can't pinpoint whether it all came from one specific movement or individual or if it's a bridging of various movements and individuals. Visually, they seem like an amalgam of various Jewish identities and community traditions which all seem affiliated yet all kind of stand individually on their own.

  • You have Jews with natural beards and Peyos which look Breslov in style.
  • You have Jews with none at all which look closer to M.O.
  • You have Jews which wear obvious tzitzit out and about and others who don't.
  • You have some who were white or seem to dress in relation to Breslov traditions. You have others who will wear jeans and button down striped shirts or sweaters.
  • You have some who wear jeans or military style kakis with boots.
  • I've even seem a few from such groups which wear aspects of more Orthodox Jewish dress (black suit jackets or black dress pants) with aspects of the above listed.

It's like a little bit of everything but they all sort of mix and match depending on the individual.

I never have gotten a straight answer about where these groups derive their Halacha or how their leadership authorities are structured around their Halacha.

Do they have an equivalent to Chaim Kanievsky or similar or someone who is extremely influential in their Halacha and religious issues? Is there really no organization at all?

I'm just curious as to where these movements derive their Halacha from.

  • 1
    From my understanding, Rabbi Kanievsky also isn't the centralized leader of the Charedim in Israel. In other words, Charedim also don't have one leader but many. As to the poskim of the Dati Leumi, we also have many. Rabbi Aviner, Rabbi Ariel, Rabbi Eliyahu, Rabbi Drukman, Rabbi Rimon, just to name a few.
    – Harel13
    Dec 26 '20 at 16:42
  • @Harel13 there are indeed numerous gedolei yisroel in the chareidi 'camp' however most people of that hashkofo view him as the 'Sar shel Torah'
    – Dov
    Dec 26 '20 at 17:52
  • R' Goren was also an influential figure in this group. Dec 26 '20 at 18:53
  • @Harel13 If we're discussing contemporary poskei halacha in the Dati Leumi world, I would argue that R E Melamed is probably the most influential, owing to the popularity of his Peninei Halacha
    – Joel K
    Dec 26 '20 at 19:10
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    Well, many see the father of Dati Leumi to be Rabbi A. I. Kook and by extension his son, Rabbi T. Y. Kook, whose students are now leaders throughout the movement. Nowadays there are many influential leaders. I listed a few of them. Rabbi Melamed mentioned by @JoelK is another good example.
    – Harel13
    Dec 26 '20 at 23:04

בַּיָּמִ֣ים הָהֵ֔ם אֵ֥ין מֶ֖לֶךְ בְּיִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל אִ֛ישׁ הַיָּשָׁ֥ר בְּעֵינָ֖יו יַעֲשֶֽׂה׃ In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did as he pleased. Judges.17.6?

DISCLAIMER: my answer refers to the Israeli Zionist religious movements only.

  1. IMHO (I was very close to those groups in my youth and I voted for them some 30 years ago), all Zionist religious groups are based on Jewish apocalyptic views, similar to those in the times of the Great revolt, where Rabbinic authorities submit to charismatic political leaders (saviors), similar to how R' Kivah submitted himself to Bar Kuzivah (Bar Kochbah).

  2. Similar views were presented in the beginning of the 20th century by R' Abraham Isaac Kook toward notable secular Zionist leaders, who were seen as sort of "God-nominated" Machichim. In this transition to the Messianic age, Halacha plays very little role, because the tradition holds that [most of] the Mitzvos will become obsolete.

  3. It should be noted, that traditionally, all Zionist religious movements were closer to secular Zionists' "national self-realization" views than to Orthodox exilistic views, and the orthodox rabbis were never seen or accepted as authorities in the Zionist religious circles.

  4. On the other hand, their approach to "Torah veAvodah" which initially meant a constant combination of the two became "one-after-the-other", i.e after the boys finish high Yeshivos where they are taught ways of Halachic discourse, they engage in Avodah (as divine will of course), but are on their own Halachicly, and don't require a constant and close Rabbinic guidance, unlike their Orthodox friends. (Many of them do continue to study Torah in their shuls, but it is definitely secondary to their working for the living).

To wit, while you can see Orthodox Rabbis demanding voting for the UO parties as a religious commandment, Zionist religious Rabbis never stress that point.

  1. The major Halachic problem for this movement was its ethnic diversity, it allowed boys and girls of all ethnic backgrounds to study in one place (unlike the Orthodox), and posed a serious Halachic problem. Despite various propositions to develop a unified approach (so-called "Nosach Achid"), this problem wasn't properly solved and most kids were advised to continue their family traditions. I remember myself in the Israeli army on Jewish High Holidays having three shuls - one overcrowded for Sefardim, one Minyan for Ashkenazim, and an empty one for Nosach Achid.

From all of the above follows, that one should not expect strong Halachic reasoning from religious nationalistic groups for anything related to their political views. While many of them are very pious and observant Jews, they are more orthopraxial than orthodox, i.e. keeping the practical Halacha while deviating from contemporary Orthodox views.

  • 1
    I would be very, very wary of accusing entire communities of יראים ושלמים, מקפידים על קלה כחמורה, of non-orthodoxy, just because they subscribe to a somewhat more minimalist interpretation of the very modern notion of "דעת תורה" that has recently become popular in Israeli Chareidi societies. וד"ל ואכמ"ל
    – Joel K
    Dec 26 '20 at 19:34
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    You keep using that word “Orthodox”. I do not think it means what you think it means. (Hint: it is not a synonym for contemporary Israeli Chareidi society.)
    – Joel K
    Dec 26 '20 at 19:45
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    It's not my job to research your answer. Your answer should provide justification for its seemingly heretical statements.
    – robev
    Dec 26 '20 at 20:21
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    You seem to have it backwards. Orthodox Jews have jobs and learn Torah too and don't ask their rabbis for economic policy advice. Orthoprax Jews are the ones who have "full submission" to rabbis and stay in kollel. They are certainly doing lots of religious actions, but that's not the traditional way to practice and believe in Judaism. It's something made up in the last century by "charedi" reactionaries.
    – Double AA
    Dec 27 '20 at 0:32
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    Also I think it's ludicrous to suggest that since there's a statement in Chazal that Mitzvos will become בטל לעתיד לבוא, which is a vague statement with many interpretations, that any group would therefore stop following halacha today. This would equate religious zionists to sabbateans
    – robev
    Dec 27 '20 at 5:18

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