Advice for the Plesner Committee: Minimize Confrontation

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13 Responses

  1. Mr. Cohen says:

    Rabbi Chaim Shmulevitz (born 1902, died 1979) used to ask every year during Neilah
    that people daven for the soldiers of Tzahal [the army of Israel].

    SOURCE: Yitzchok Adlerstein, 2011/12/29
    http://www.cross-currents.com/archives/2011/12/29/welcoming-the-charedi-spring/

  2. MiriamS says:

    Dear Rabbi Rosenblum – why should you use your moderate voice to take a swipe at the National Religious here (“they are far closer culturally to the secular community”)? Even if your false sweeping generalization that srugim (which none of my DL neighbors or their teenage children have even seen) closely mirrors reality – you choose to publicly distance your best non-charedi political allies, those who also know what Torah learning is, those who stand up for Gedolim and seek their counsel. Why?

  3. Tal Benschar says:

    R. Chaim Brisker once stated that Zionism is the collective yetzer harah of the Jewish people. The charedim in EY are, sad to say, about to find out the truth of that statement. R. Rosenblum, my reaction to much of your article is that, for many in the government, the things you fear are desirable. As they say here in America, it’s a feature, not a bug.

  4. L. Oberstein says:

    Why was there a dawn rally in Meah Shearim against the Plesner Comission? Do Rabbi Shmuel Auebach and Rabbi Weiss think that the people at the rally, denizens of Meah Shearim, will in any way be affected by any plan the commission devises? None of these people are drafted, the government treats them with kid gloves because they are always rioting.This rally seems totally rediculous to me. What is really going on?

  5. Ben Waxman says:

    The article is lacking because it doesn’t deal honestly with the Chareidi opposition to serving in the IDF. The opposition is multifaceted, such that staying out of the army has become a supreme value in of itself. Take the (IMO false) idea that Talmud Torah gives a patur to serving in the IDF, add in opposition based on the idea that the IDF is simply a treif place, that the draft is a plot to destroy the Chareidi way of life, the fear of askanim that allowing boys out of yeshivot will bring down the edifice and you get the “hell no, we won’t go” attitude being shown.

    Mass deferment is a new phenomena; it didn’t exist before Menachem Begin became PM. Perhaps instead of writing articles to the secular about what they need to do, Rabbi Rosenblum could write an article to the frum world bringing up ideas on how they need to approach the situation.

  6. Daniel Weltman says:

    Nor can the lack of physical danger in national service be the distinguishing factor. Chareidim do not claim that their blood is redder, or that they have some special exemption from risking their lives in defense of the Jews of Israel.

    Are you serious? Of course they do – (if not they would be in the army!) – they claim that as Talmidei Chacham, they have no need for natural protection, and therefore are not required to contribute to support of the protection (רבנן לא בעי נטירותא, see Bava Batra 7b). The fact that (at the very least) this does not apply in our current situation, and, de facto, the haredi world implicitly concedes this, does not affect their talmudic support for their position.

    The proof that they feel they are special is in your own essay. You write: “THE IDF WILL ENCOUNTER little communal resistance to the expansion of chareidi combat units under the aegis of Netzach Yehuda, as long they remain voluntary.”

    Why should haredim be volunteers while the rest of us are drafted? The haredi demand for a different set of standards certainly demonstrates their special opinion of themselves.

    Contrary to popular opinion, chareidim do not deny the necessity of an army. Most can conceive of situations in which every able-bodied yeshiva student would pick up arms. But there is no threat that could ever induce anyone in learning to pick up a paintbrush.

    You can’t just “pick up arms”. A modern army cannot hope to win without thorough training. If you can conceive of a threat, you need to make sure you are ready to fight if it ever becomes a reality – not go to Lishkat Hagiyus on the day hostilities break out.

    No one is telling haredim to do national service. R Rosenblum, you should spend some energy convincing the haredi leadership that Netzach Yehuda is the way to go. Then, we can have a draft for most, and exemption for the elite intellectuals (which might easily be expanded to the elite of the universities as well, so that true innovation and scholarship might be unhindered there as well as in the beis midrash), and a truly incorporated society – not where everyone is the same (who wants that?!), but where all kinds of Jews shoulder the same national responsibilities with a sense of pride and unity.

  7. Menachem Lipkin says:

    Tal, isn’t it rather odd using a 100 year old quote from someone who was fighting against a fledgling Zionistic movement which really has no bearing whatsoever on today’s reality? Nobody has a clue what he would say today about the existence and thriving, in all aspects religious and not, of the modern state of Israel.

    Actually, referencing such anachronistic quotes is illustrative of what is truly keeping many Chareidim locked in a mental time warp and preventing them from moving forward, even on their own terms. They are still fighting the pre-state anti-Zionism battles which ended decades ago. Nothing exemplifies this better than the fact the Chareidi parties in the government refused to join the Plesner committee.

    Even without them in the committee (something oddly omitted from JR’s otherwise decent article) the ideas being reported to emerge are not far off from JR’s recommendations. The committee is exploring a wide range of methods to encourage more Chareidi participation in army and community service. The ideas seem reasonable, sensitive and fair. Despite extreme language and silly demonstrations many people on the Chareidi “street” would absolutely consider it a “feature” if a way could be found to help alleviate their poverty and alienation and help them to become full functioning members of Israeli society.

  8. DF says:

    Upon reading this it was obvious to me some people would take offense at JR’s charachterization of the National Religious, and, sure enough, the very first comment, from Miriam, expresses that offense. But Miriam, and anyone else who thinks that way, think for one minute – what JR said is not insulting. It is a fact, and I’m 100% positive most national-religious would thoruoughly agree, that they have more in common with ordinary Israelis than Charedim. There is next to nothing the NR wish to emulate of the Charedi life. And likewise it is also true that the Charedim do not wish to be like the NR, for the reasons JR said. JR was not saying which group was right, nor could be possibly attempt to decide such a thing, he was just stating the facts. And he’s right.

    I do agree that the charachters of Srugim are exagerated, and was not the best way for JR to make his point. He as well might have used Fiddler on the Roof or Yentil as a resource for understanding charedi life.

  9. Netanel Livni says:

    >When chareidim look at the national religious community, which has long placed a very high value on military service, they see a cautionary tale. They note that on almost every axis of social identification the majority of the national religious community feels far closer to secular Israelis than they do their fellow observant Jews.

    First, this has nothing to do with army service, but rather with a far larger openess to general culture and thought. One which is much more in line with the traditional Jewish approach to general knowledge than the obstructionist one developed by chareidim over the base century and a half. Second, this “axis of social identification” as you call it is nothing less as feeling connected to the national life of the Jewish people and the universal ethical/humanistic goals of the Jewish nation, something that the chareidim intentionally underplay or outright ignore – prefering to emphasize the individualistic/religious daled amot shel halacha. To us national religious, this is a badge of honor, and chareidi escapism is an abandonment of our national spiritual mission. Perhaps, instead of seeing zionism as a collective yetzer harah as Tal above put it, the chareidim should do teshuva and return to the history of the Jewish people instead of running away in fear – I am sure they would have much to contribute.

  10. joel rich says:

    Advice to the Chaareidi committee:
    from R’ JR-The pursuit of perfection – and immediately – is the habitual enemy of the good.

    KT

  11. Daniel Weltman says:

    Nor can the lack of physical danger in national service be the distinguishing factor. Chareidim do not claim that their blood is redder, or that they have some special exemption from risking their lives in defense of the Jews of Israel.

    Of course they do – (if not they would be in the army!) – they claim that as Talmidei Chacham, they have no need for natural protection, and therefore are not required to contribute to support of the protection (רבנן לא בעי נטירותא, see Bava Batra 7b). The fact that (at the very least) this does not apply in our current situation, and, de facto, the haredi world implicitly concedes this, does not affect their talmudic support for their position.

    The proof that they feel they are special is in a later part of R Rosenblum’s essay. He writes: The IDF will encounter little communal resistance to the expansion of chareidi combat units under the aegis of Netzach Yehuda, as long they remain voluntary.

    Why should haredim be volunteers while the rest of us are drafted? The haredi demand for a different set of standards certainly demonstrates their special opinion of themselves.

    Contrary to popular opinion, chareidim do not deny the necessity of an army. Most can conceive of situations in which every able-bodied yeshiva student would pick up arms. But there is no threat that could ever induce anyone in learning to pick up a paintbrush.

    You can’t just “pick up arms”. A modern army cannot hope to win without thorough training. If you can conceive of a threat, you need to make sure you are ready to fight if it ever becomes a reality – not go to Lishkat Hagiyus on the day hostilities break out.

    No one is telling haredim to do national service (although it would seem that a better understanding of the larger picture might mitigate or even preclude the disdain held for non-combat societal necessities represented by “picking up a paintbrush”). Perhaps R Rosenblum should exert some energy convincing the haredi leadership that Netzach Yehuda is the way to go. Then, we can have a draft for most, and exemption for the elite intellectuals (which might easily be expanded to the elite of the universities as well, so that true innovation and scholarship might be unhindered there as well as in the beis midrash), and a truly incorporated society – not where everyone is the same (who wants that?!), but where all kinds of Jews shoulder the same national responsibilities with a sense of pride and unity.

  12. Robert Lebovits says:

    Ben Waxman: While Talmud Torah does in fact defer ALL other mitzvot, most chareidim would acknowledge that there are many young men in their community who aren’t spending their days and nights immersed in learning. That is the easiest issue to put aside and only nominally a source of objection to military service.
    I’m not sure how an organization could be “treif”, but are suggesting that the environment in which these young men and women live while in the army is one where the standards of personal behavior is any better than that which is seen in secular Israeli society? Do you believe THAT is a proper milieu for any observant young person?
    JR noted that since its inception the IDF has been a vehicle for cultural integration. Chareidim are rightly fearful that their separateness would not be respected.
    Sounds like perfectly legitimate reasons to be concerned about entering the army.

  13. lacosta says:

    the idea of a secular jewish state is the anathema and incongruity that causes all these dilemmas— a modus vivendi for living amongst hostile Gentiles was reached. but as yet, there isn’t a similar lifestyle for living in a secular state run by jewish heathens. the haredi society needs nothing from Secular Zion other than their money and their souls; ie their society requires outside Welfare payment to keep from collapsing— thus both individuals and institutions needs secular money; also, the secular israeli by definition of halacha has no right to exist in his state of defiance of the L-rd, thus he need be proselytized. we thus have a unique situation: in the rest of the Galut , one can live aside the Goy , and interact as little as possible, but not so true aside the israeli Goy…. the ideal situation frankly would have been for all the haredim to leave a state that they don’t want and doesnt want them, but that is not in teh cards…..

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