An Epitaph To Which We Can All Aspire

You may also like...

3 Responses

  1. Nathaniel Helfgot says:

    (The following was private comment I wrote to R. Adlerstein who asked if I would share it with the public. NH)

    Dear Rabbi Adlerstein: I was very moved by your posting on Cross-Currents of Meir Dagan’s final words to the cabinet and PM Netanyahu’s comments in response. I did, however, feel a discordant note when you off handedly wrote: “Where will the State find such devotion in a new generation in which altruism is hardly one of its received values, at least outside the observant community?”.

    As my rebbi, Rav Lichtenstein, has often noted, we in the observant community have to be very careful about giving the impression that only “our community” is full of values and commitment, altruism, and sacrifice etc. There are tens of thousands of young Israeli boys and girls who give up of years of their lives in defense of their homeland serving every year in the IDF, including many hundreds who join elite units and are involved in other projects on behalf of the state, many out of a devotion and commitment that is on par with what one finds in the religious community. There are many young chiloni men and women involved in volunteer efforts in Israel,(volunteer clowns in children’s hospitals, tutoring kids who need school work, serving in youth groups, going on educational shlichuyot to all kinds of distant Jewsih communities through the Jewish Agency etc.) that are doing great things and should be encouraged and celebrated. I do not think that this kind of off-handed comment is good for our own spiritual growth nor for our interaction with the non-observant.
    Haleveai that mesirut nefesh, commitment, altruism were even more manifest in all communities and the materialism and individualism that has impacted us all (in varying degress) was less prevalent in current Israel and American Jewish society, but broad brush comments like this strike me as unhelpful.

    Kol tuv,
    bevirkat ha-Torah vehamitzvah,

    Nati Helfgot

  2. Miriam says:

    There are tens of thousands of young Israeli boys and girls who give up of years of their lives in defense of their homeland serving every year in the IDF…

    I am curious (statistically) what moral impact this has on Israelis – dedicating several prime years to such a chessed.

  3. Yitzchok Adlerstein says:

    My response to this comment can be found in a separate post, entitled “No Monopolies on Altruism”

Pin It on Pinterest