For those who do not know:
Rabbi Abadi, renowned Posek, was sent at age 19 by the Chazon Ish to study in Lakewood, NJ, under the famed Rabbi Aaron Kotler. A few years after the passing of Rabbi Kotler, Rabbi Abadi became the Posek in Lakewood. And now his sons run a website Kashrut.org to answer questions- mainly of kashrut.
This past week he held four question and answer sessions in a Sephardi shtibl -Teaneck Sephardic Center/Lev Haim here in town. The turnout was surprisingly low. Mainly the Syrians of the minyan and a few old time Lakewood people. Either it was because of the poor publicity- I only found out an hour before Shababt. Or that it was not sponsored by one of the main shuls in town, or people really preferred to hear the second-tier Hesder Ram who was in town or it had no wider community support.
It was entirely q and a format but Rav Abadi managed to work-in or mention most of the pesak from the new second volume of his shut. People did not seem to know who he was. There was a clear discontent with his answers in both directions- whether lenient or strict. He told the women that they must pray 3x a day and one had a sense that they were going to go back to their own rabbis to have it reset as once a day. One Israeli of likely Moroccan descent who did not like any of this pesak – proclaimed out loud that he picks and chooses based on what he hears and finds. When Rav Abadie said that he does not allow any warming of a dry item on Shabbat even to return it to a warming tray (contra Rav Yosef), there was a clear turning away indicating that people where not going to listen.
In a conversation with a physician, Rav Abadi said that if the Talmud says that we can distinguish between blood and blood then it must be medically possible. The doctor was asking that between Rav Moshe and Rav Walenberg who both assume that there is no difference in blood and was cut off by the Rav who said of course we should be able to test.
Rav Abadi advocated his short version of Birkat Hamazon with a story under his breath about how Deal, NJ never used to say berakhot and how he got them to say it through his short version.
I was taken by his heavy Ashkenazi accent and then turned around when his citations of Mehaber were in Israeli Sefardi pronunciation.
I sat next to someone who had studied in Lakewood over twenty years ago and had remembered Rav Abadi as a caring and approachable soul. I also heard about how this former bachur went from his yeshiva life , to putting away his hat, and was now wearing a yellow sports shirt for Shabbat aft.
As a side point, someone asked about one of the less reliable hasgahahs on Manhattan restaurants. Rav Abadi obviously knew the person and deflected the question and refused to answer it. But it was interesting that in the period of deflecting hesitation over other 6 people called out that it was a Conservative rabbi so it was unreliable. Actually the rabbi in question went to all the right Ultra-Orthodox schools in Brooklyn, lived a Yeshivish life in Brooklyn, and is still Yeshivish. But it is interesting that anything that is outside the bounds of [Teaneck] Orthodox practice is called Conservative. The name serves as a demarcation of outside the lines “we wont even consider the hasgahah.” A form of assur or harem. It has nothing to do with the Conservative movement itself. The word functions like the word Gnostic in early Church writings or Papist in the mouth of Protestants.
No one in the room seemed to know of the website.