By COLlive reporter
Rabbi Fishel Jacobs, an American-Israeli Rabbi who specializes in the laws of Taharas Hamishpacha, has removed his name as a certifying halachic authority on a new app being marketed to Orthodox Jewish women.
Rabbi Jacobs, author of the book “Family Purity: A Guide to Family Purity,” was the only Chabad Rabbi featured on the app aimed to help women calculate their Mikvah cycles.
The app, created by Zisa and Yitz Levin of Miami, offered women to anonymously send inquiries to a roster of 3 rabbis (Chabad, Ashkenazic and Sefardic) and receive a clear answer “with Tahor app’s Rabbinically approved technology.”
However, renowned rabbis who are experts in this area didn’t think the idea was so tahor…
After the promotion of the app on social media, the Jerusalem posek Rabbi Yekusiel Farkash, author of the famous Taharah k’Halachah and other Seforim, was contacted about the new invention.
The person who contacted him was Rabbi Pesach Schmerling, a known chosson teacher in the Chabad community and editor of the sefer “Kitzur Dinei Taharah.”
Rabbi Farkash “was absolutely shocked and horrified about the preposterous notion that it might even be a consideration to rule on these matters based on an image captured with a phone camera,” wrote Rabbi Schmerling.
“Any Rav who had even just begun to get the required training in checking bedikah cloths etc. knows how the cloth needs to be turned and tilted, sometimes stretched etc., to enable an accurate view of the mare’h,” he wrote in a public letter.
“The cloth also needs to be checked in appropriate lighting conditions etc. The angle and contrast and lighting are an absolute necessity to arrive at a proper ruling. This is besides for the obvious that it is absolutely impossible to capture the actual proper color on any digital media device (no matter how modern and sophisticated they may be).”
Rabbi Gedalia Oberlander, Rov of Congregation Heichal Menachem in Monsey, NY, called the app a “faulty option” that “must never be used.”
In a public letter on Wednesday, Rabbi Oberlander called on the app’s creators “to stop marketing this product immediately, even though their intentions are for the good and for the sake of Heaven.”
Another figure coming out against it was Rabbi Sholom Ber Shuchat, a Chabad Rabbi and Dayan at Agudas Harabonim of the US and Canada, who said the app “may not be used.”
“After discussing the matter with other Rabbonim Moreh Hora’ah both within Chabad and outside Chabad, it is my opinion that such app may not be used for determining the status of Bedika clothes, and any Psak obtained from said app is invalid until the Bedika cloth is shown to a Rav Moreh Hora’ah,” Rabbi Shuchat wrote.
As of now, the app still lists Rabbi K. Auman – Former President of the Rabbinical Council of America (RCA), Rabbi E. Davis – Senior Rabbi of Young Israel, Hollywood, Florida, as the affiliated Rabbis.
A request for a comment from Rabbi Jacobs wasn’t answered.