A Father’s Tefilah

You may also like...

79 Responses

  1. hindy frishman says:

    How about the “charedi” citizens of Bet Shemesh? Are we too not hurt by the election fraud, chillul Hashem, and continued support by so-called leaders of a mayor who does not serve the city well but wears the right kind of kippa?

  2. Baruch says:

    Yasher koiach.

    I have for years wondered to myself: I understand why the charedim don’t want to serve in the IDF, but why don’t they understand that there’s a problem here? Why do they have to see this as an attack on Torah? Why can’t they see that the general population’s resentment has nothing to do with religion? I don’t think Yair Lapid is the solution, but he is correct that there is a problem which needs to be solved. I just wish the two sides could sit down together in goodwill and try to find a solution.

  3. Moshe says:

    Color me angry, especially due to the broad tarring brush here. I suppose that is one view of Rashi. Another might be about another premie, born in 2367 to Creation, who was exempt, along with his entire tribe, from backbreaking toil, due to some arcane law instituted by an ancient viceroy. As it turned out, that tribe was the only ones that managed to preserve the old way of life for posterity; the others simply caved to the surrounding culture. To be contemporary, they okayed rights for gay couples, supported switching to a secular calendar for various legal functions, and discarded their religious identity bit by bit.

    Considering that the writer does not seem to respect even those who do learn full time instead of going, I think this is in order:

    They share not our burden
    They share not our plight
    They’re in the city all day
    And sleep well at night!

    Our bones get crushed
    Our taskmasters sneer
    And their palms are supple
    With consciences clear!

    Seeds of rebellion
    Rot in their midst
    They lift not a finger?
    We’ll show them our fist!

    The time has come
    For joining the klal
    We’ll send a petition
    Once and for all

    “Dear ruler,” said they
    “Enough is enough
    Draft them like us
    Let them have it rough!”

    King Pharoah was shocked
    How could it be?
    The nation was tired
    Of Shevet Levi?

    “Oh, no, just the slackers
    The ones who lie back
    Drinking martinis
    And giving us smack.”

    “Okay,” said the Pharoah,
    “I’ll get back to you.”
    He called his advisor,
    the renegade Jew.

    “The Semites want change!
    I got very strong vibes
    That they are quite sick
    Of one of the tribes

    They think it not fair
    That they have to work
    While Levi has its share
    Of more than one jerk.”

    The renegade Jew
    He stifled a laugh
    “Naïve, little monarch
    Made a rather large gaffe

    Entrusting a kofer
    With the nation’s soul
    I’ll rip them apart!
    I’ll swallow them whole!

    Enough with those Levites
    Sapping us dry
    While our fathers work
    And our mothers cry.

    Penalties, fines
    Heck, prison terms
    For every last one
    Of those parasite worms!

    The time is nigh
    We must make haste
    To maim and destroy
    That old priestly caste!”

    True to his word
    He issued the call
    Compulsory service
    For one and for all.

    “No! Oh, no!
    That’s not what we meant
    Only the bums
    Not the truly farbrehnt!”

    But it was too late
    The laws all got passed
    Alas, Lomdei Torah
    Were not meant to last.

  4. Francis Nataf says:

    Thank You Rabbi Adlerstein.

    Especially after Rabbi Steinsaltz’ recent essay about rabbis not feeling enough of the pain of all segments of Klal Yisrael, your comments at the end of this post are truly encouraging.

  5. Dina says:

    A cute poem, only it equates building storehouses for pharoah with risking your life to protect fellow Jews, and pretends that making boys do something other than learn full time for /three years/ is equivalent to taking the entire charedi tribe away from learning Torah.

    The levite can live an average lifespan of 70-80 years. He can learn full time for all but three of them (and learn part time during those three)

    For an example, see the levite in the DL camp. They go to yeshiva gevoha and learn full time for many years. Then they do army service. Then they continue learning full time. So, like moshe, they step out and try to help their brothers carry the burden, they step in with them and lift bricks with them like moshe did, trying to share in the pain and the burden, recognizing that they can’t separate themselves from the klal.

  6. Raymond says:

    I continue to not understand why the blood of some Jews is somehow redder than that of other Jews. Jews who think of themselves as too religious to join the Israeli army, are instead committing a desecration of G-d’s Name by refusing to serve in the Israeli military, as they have thereby put their less religious Jewish brothers into greater mortal danger. This strikes me as being self-evident logic.

    Having said that, I wonder if there is a different solution to this problem. My understanding of the way the United States handles this issue, is that serving in the military is not mandatory at all. Rather, those who do serve in the military, are given all sorts of economic and health benefits. In other words, the incentive for serving in the American military is the positive one of reward, rather than the negative one of punishment for not serving in the military. If such a scenario can also work in Israel, that would solve this ongoing problem of some people in Israel thinking that they are somehow deserving of privileges that other members of that society do not somehow deserve.

  7. lacosta says:

    what did the hareili community expect? empathy for their plight?

    they unfortunately find that the freierim [both in the OTD and the ‘you fool’ sense ] give as much love as they have perceived/received…

    Ami writes this week the hiloni goal is to uproot haredi practice , and agav urcha , have increased DL-haredi animosity …. i think that was inevitable– the hareili community is seen as there for the DL’s only at the funerals… otherwise parrallel , non-intersecting lives…inevitable that DL’s ,who see themselves as Israeli citizens , should throw their lot in with their co-citizens , not with their sort-of co-religionists…

  8. Nachum says:

    Yes, Moshe, because defending the lives of six million Jews is *exactly* like building cities, buildings and temples for Pharaoh. You should be ashamed that you even made the comparison. Which, of course, is wrong on so many other levels, but we can start with that one.

  9. Moshe says:

    Nachum,

    There are two elements to the sugya:

    1) “Sharing the burden,” which is *exactly* the IDF draft as framed by one and all, including the writer (“Their parents will not lose 3 years of sleep as their sons are ‘kravi'”) and it is to that issue that the paean above is addressed.

    2) Defending Jewish lives. Torah study, too, defends Jewish lives. Period.

  10. Steve Brizel says:

    R Adlerstein’s conclusion hit the proverbial nail on the head:

    “We will make progress towards achieving shalom between different groups only when we try harder to see things through the eyes of others. For many of us, this means tearing ourselves away from news sites (print and digital) that we preselect because they only report what we want to hear. By isolating ourselves, we miss out on the tone and the inflection of the people impacted by the problems of the day, even if we think we have the dry facts. This is true in regard to the dati-leumi soldier; to the sincere kollel family battling to put food on the table; to the homeless in Tel Aviv; to the embattled non-charedi citizens of Beit Shemesh victimized by election fraud and vilification. (Mercifully, the planned rally for 50,000 against the Israeli government has been “postponed,” so at least at the moment we don’t have to think about just how the good citizens of NY would react to such a scene, let alone the not-so-good enemies of the Jewish people who relish such public spectacles.)”

  11. Yehoshua Mandelcorn says:

    Equating a Jewish army to defend Jews with Pharoh’s slavery is beyond the pale.
    Moshe did grant 22,300 Shevet Levi exemptions spread over a range of 60 -70 years (me-ben chodesh v’maalah – from one month and above). That came to less than 400 Levi’s per year.
    Proposed law gives 1,800 exemptions per year.

  12. micha says:

    Moshe, you should see the Netziv’s understanding of what learning instead of fighting means. See his commentary on VeZos haBerakhah, “semach zevulun betzeisekha”. R’ Naftali Zvi Yehudah Berlin, Rosh Yeshiva of the Lishuanian Yeshiva Movement’s flagship Volozhin, expects those who learn while others are fighting to be learning at the army bases. If there are Jews fighting in a bunker, those learning need to be there in the bunker with them, providing the spiritual component toward Hashem’s Aid.

    Picture what a different Israel we would have if every army base and position had a kollel of full time learners…

  13. Harry Maryles says:

    What a wonderful letter by a truly proud but worried father of a young man recruited for combat duty in the IDF. Unfortunately, Rabbi Adlerstein, you may very well pay a price for putting a positive spin on army service in Israel. I can’t see this sitting well with those in Israel who paint army service as the end of Yiddishkeit, as did MK Eichler in a Charedi magazine interview last week. You will surely be harshly criticized.

  14. Ben Bradley says:

    As per the first respondent above, the Beit Shemesh problem is not that the non-charedim have been victimised or villified, because as a group they haven’t been. It’s that yashrus and emes have been publicly trampled underfoot in the name of Torah. And that ideological blindness has led otherwise sane, sensible and spiritual people to lend tacit support to such wickedness. Although the point is of course valid that everyone stepping outside their own daled amos of opinion, if only to sniff some fresh air occasionally, would do wonders for the madness of the Beit Shemesh situation.

  15. mb says:

    R.Harry,I often comment here against vilification of the left, because once they are cut off, Rabbi Adlerstein will be next. I realise that’s an error.To the Cheredim, R.Adlerstein is more dangerous than the left, whom they don’t consider Jewish anyway.
    R.Adlerstein is one of them with a mighty pen. He’ll be cut off first.
    Yasher koach to R.Adlerstein for posting that awesome letter.

  16. Crazy Kanoiy says:

    The young soldier to be, holding his sefer shmot to study between the long hours of ‘processing’ with the IDF…

    This young soldier will soon enter the IDF. He will soon become part of an Army that forces its officers to listen to Kol Isha. He will soon be put in combat missions by an Army that requires its young men and ladies to travel together in the cramped quarters of tanks and APCs (As recounted by Bayit Yehudi MK Yoni Chetboun).

    He will soon learn that the Army is the protector of the Jewish people and it is only the Army that prevents another Holocaust. He will learn to internalize the words of Ben Gurion that “six million Jews died for the sin of being stateless”. The ideas of Herzl that only a Jewish State and Army will bring an end to Anti-Semitism will begin to resonate with him. The role of the Ribonno Shel Oilam in Jewish History will be minimized if not totally ignored. Decisions of Chilul Shabbos will not be made by Rabbonim but by Secular Army commanders. He will learn to carry out acts of questionable moral basis(as described by five former Shin Bet Heads in The Gatekeepers).

    After all this he will return to Rechov Rashi, hopefully not as one of the 20% of religious inductees described by Rabbi Eliezer Melamed who lose their connection to Yiddeshkeit during Army service. He will return to Rechov Rashi, but at that time the differences between this inductee with the Chumash and the boys who stayed in Yeshiva may be very apparent.

    The father in this email speaks about how he will lose sleep over the physical danger his son is facing. Will he also lose sleep over the spiritual one he is facing?

  17. Miriam says:

    Moshe, the day when your children in Bet Shemesh don’t come up to me at my non-Charedi campaign table to say “army service is for chiloni-friarim” we’ll have more to talk about. The day when your teens in Bet Shemesh don’t climb into my backyard to rip down my campaign signs and tell my neighbor it’s a “milchemet mitzvah” (because it was Shabbos) I won’t need to submit claims against you in a court of law. Until we play by the same rules, there’s not much to work with here.

  18. ChanaRachel says:

    Hi K.K. and Moshe,

    I’m about to send off my fourth son in a couple of months.
    Look, of course the Israeli army has flaws (and chareidi society doesn’t?), and we’ll never convince each other which approach constitutes Ratzon Habore.
    But, please admit one thing.. When you are on your way back to the bus late at night from a visit to Maarat Hamachpela, aren’t you glad to see my son and his friends standing near the Casba with some very big guns?

    You don’t have to join them, but some minimal hakarat hatov is in order.

    ChanaRachel

  19. Y. Ben-David says:

    “Crazy Kanoiy”-
    I am afraid I can not let you get away with the claim that you supposedly can favorably compare those Haredi boys who don’t serve with Rav Melamed’s admitted 20% of religious boys who do go to serve in the IDF but give up religious observance. You are making the unstated assumption that ALL haredi boys who are not serving do remain religious. We all know that is not true. Some give up religious observance entirely, others walk around wearing the garb of the Haredim but how have a very low level of faith and observance and others are sitting in the Beit Midrash, warming the benches, but not accomplishing much else. At least Rav Melamed is admitting there is a problem in his camp, you PRETEND that every one who dresses like a Haredi really lives like a Haredi says one should.

    Finally, I wish someone would explain to me the justification for the refusal by many to say the Misheberach for the IDF soldiers. I know that Naftali Bennett asked this question during his visit to the Mir Yeshivah, but I don’t know what answer he received.

  20. micha says:

    Thank you, Chana Rachel.

    And a thank you to my cousins, my friends’ wives, and all the other worried mommies who sent their sons anyway.

  21. Moshe says:

    The responses are a potpourri of either non-sequitur finger pointing, pointless, or utterly missing the point.

    This letter was NOT about putting a positive spin on army service, Charedi hooligans in Beit Shemesh, or whatnot. It was about one thing: My son learns Torah and goes to the army and is risking his life, so those who learn and do not go to the army and don’t risk their life have no excuse.

    This is a wrongheaded approach. Both those who learn Torah and those who go to the army are defending Jewish lives. That is absolutely normative Orthodox belief and I daresay that anyone who does not believe that is a flat-out Apikores. The difference, then, becomes – what right do Charedi parents have to sleep well at night while their children defend Jewish lives by Torah study, while I don’t sleep well at night with my son in kravi. IOW, where is the shared burden? And, to that, Shevet Levi in Egypt is a perfect paradigm. Shevet Levi is also told “Lechu Lesivloseichem,” but it means nothing at all like the “sivlos Mitzrayim.” Nonetheless, the story in the poem did not happen because it never occurred to anyone that the spiritual elite (without whom the nation would have simply vanished) should be subject to the same risks and suffering as everyone else. Egypt itself understood this.

    I have no problem with those who say that those who do not study Torah full time should go to the army (provided the army creates a truly suitable environment. Imagine a totally religious and pure army where there was no Ervas Davar, Micha! Imagine an army whose brass was in sustained contact with the Poskei Hador!). I support it. I do have a problem with those who fail to understand (and, after all, RYA posted this to foster understanding…), or, at least, be fully accepting of those who insist that there is a need to keep a sizeable segment of Klal Yisrael engrossed in full time, uninterrupted Torah study (and defending Jewish lives by doing so, to boot).

    It is also obvious by now to anyone with eyes in his head that the current-day Shevet Levi provides a spiritual anchor for the Klal. The naked truth is this (and people will stamp their feet and froth in protest, but it does not make it any less true): The only political affiliation in the Knesset today that is fully committed to upholding Torah values in the State of Israel is that representing Shevet Levi. The others are either totally irreligious or have leaders who are willing to adjust the size of the kippah to whatever size necessary, and pass any laws necessary, to become Prime Minister. Thank G-d for Shevet Levi!

    And that will be all for me on this topic.

  22. shlomo zalman says:

    To mb,
    You don’t know how right you are, or maybe you do.
    My son, Rabbanut smicha, former commander of a fighting unit, followed by five more years in kollel,related the following anecdote.
    His Rosh Yeshiva, of a large and highly respected Hesder yeshiva , was once at a rabbinical meeting concerning shmittah.
    This Rosh Yeshiva, besides of course being a tremendous lamdan and anav, was also in his younger years a paratrooper, and fought in the Yom Kippur war.
    After this Rosh Yeshiva spoke, a chareidi representative mentioned to his friends,
    “It’s these guys we have to worry about, they are the most dangerous”.

    I think that speaks for itself.

    Rabbi Adlerstein, well written. Just watch your back, there isn’t a whole lot of tolerance for you and your like.

  23. Mark Landau says:

    R Harry:

    I’m surprised you are still reading Ami(the “Charedi magazine”) after your strong condemnation of it for calling Open Orthodoxy a heretic movement. I think though that you were wrong in that instance, because Ami was echoing what others have previously said on this site and elsewhere. Their reliance on the psak of Reb Moshe was on target.

  24. DF says:

    The letter is perfectly reasonable; what I don’t understand is how it is followed up by equating (in soliciting the public’s understanding) the hesder soldier with the charedi family struggling to put food on the table. The solider’s life is on the line; the koillel fellow’s is not. The soldier is a young kid; the koillel fellow is a grown adult. The koillel fellow is responsible for his own problems; the hesder soldier is not. And so on.

    “Moral relevancy” became a popular refrain a number of years ago. It became a problem because we all of think of ourselves as nice people, and we’d all like to empathize with everyone. In addition, for some people (who think too much) there is always a small kernel of compelling argument behind almost every cause. As they say in yeshiva, that’s not a “meahlach”(proper approach.) Some things have to be looked at squarely in black and white terms. Every soldier is a hero deserving of our applause, and I would say, especially the religious soldier. The guy sitting in koillel – not so much.

  25. Benshaul says:

    Back in the day when we had real Mussar Masters at Chareidi yeshivot (Reb Chaim Shmulevitz comes to mind) the idea of empathizing with the sacrifice of those that were serving in the army was expressed and taught. Sadly that is no longer the case. I am aware of some of the reasoning behind it i.e if we idealize them in any – it becomes harder to oppose the actions, and the seeming inability of young impressionable bochurim to understand the nuance; yet we have lost the ability to empathize while disagreeing with the pain of the other. At the same time, the reasoning behind the Yeshiva worlds general reluctance/refusal to have bochurim go to the army should also be understood even by those who DO send their children.

  26. Crazy Kanoiy says:

    Y. Ben David-

    Rabbi Eliezer Melamed stated that most of the DL youth that leave Torah Observance leave it as a result of or during Army service. (I have DL members of my own family who have left religious observance after a tour of duty with the IDF.)

    I do not make any claims regarding the “perfection” of Hareidi society. I make one point and one point only, that the Army presents a moral and religious hazard on many different levels. Parents who chose to shelter their youth and raise them in a secluded Torah atmosphere should not be derided for the fact that their sons and daughters do not serve. Were the IDF to be a fighting force committed to the principles of Torah and Halacha the argument would be different.

    The Yeshivos do not say the Mishaberach for Soldiers because there is no need to change or add to the nusach hatefila. However the Bnei Yeshivos will always daven for soldiers just as they daven for every member of Klal Yisrael. Each and every Monday and Thursday the following tefillah is recited in Yeshivas worldwide “acheinu kol bnei Yisrael hanesunim batzarah u’bashivya”

  27. lacosta says:

    >>>>At the same time, the reasoning behind the Yeshiva worlds general reluctance/refusal to have bochurim go to the army should also be understood even by those who DO send their children.

    —– as many have already said , it’s hard for the DL community , which takes barbs from both hilonim and haredim, to have much sympathy for those to their right … and even if sympathy , one can understand their feeling that those not bearing the burden in blood should not be gifted with the lucre of the fighting classes….

    one wonders , with no army to blame , how come hareilim go off the derech? and how many in haredi [so-called] nachal units go OTD?

  28. Dina says:

    Re: moshe: I am all in favor of having people dedicated to full time learning. Thus, for example, after three years of army service someone could learn full time for as many years as they please. (in practice, the state of Israel is willing to reduce the length of the actual army service in exchange for the full time learning)

    It’s absurd to talk about the issue as if, were all charedi army age boys to be drafted, there would be no one left learning full time.

    I think I speak for all of us when I say that, thank God, the yoke of Torah is not carried exclusively by a cohort of 18 to 23 year olds. People who are *gasp* 24 years old or *double gasp* even older than that (!!!) are also capable of learning “full time”.

    Should we have more programs to encourage and enable fifty year old men to learn full time? That would be very nice. (and a little bit of age-earned wisdom only enhances the learning experience)

    The need to have people learning full time is absolutely true. It’s also completely irrelevant in a discussion of a draft for max three years and in all likelihood less than that.

  29. YM Goldstein says:

    I just read in Dialogue a presentation by Rabbi Feldman, Rosh Yeshiva of Ner Yisroel, on why the Haredi community will not allow its son’s to serve in the IDF. I think you should print this here on cross-currents. We should all have empathy for each other, but as a parent I would do almost anything to prevent my daughters from being drafted, whether the IDF or the US Military.

  30. Chardal says:

    Is it just me, or is the 20% number baseless. There are no real statistics on the matter and r Melamed, other than being oft quoted by online chareidim, is no more an authority on the matter than you or I, it being that his data is purely anecdotal. Speaking of purely anecdotal data, a Chareidi school principal I met estimated the off the derech rate for the Chareidi system to be at 30% by the time they reach 20 years of age. Again, not scientific, but does jive well with personal experience. To put any such number on the doorstep of the army is fallacious. Most youth who would leave observance would do so at that age whether they were in the army, college, or just working for a living. The 20% statistic, even if true, is just another ad hoc excuse and does not stand up to scrutiny.

  31. Y. Ben-David says:

    Crazy Kanoiy-
    R Avi Shafran had a piece today in Ha’aretz (!?) defending President Obama (I wonder why?). In any event he pointed out that people in his shul objected to saying the
    tefillah for the President because they didn’t like it applying to Obama due to his attitude towards Israel, the Iranian nuclear problem, etc. If it is okay to say
    a tefillah for the President of the United States, a non-Jewish country, and a President who represents values that I will delicately say, opposes Jewish values, and we don’t have a problem calling it a “change” to the nusach of tefillah, then why is it a problem to say it for the soldiers? Soldiers are not just another group of Jews who need divine help, many are standing out in freezing rain or torrid heat in dangerous locations to protect US, maybe wishing they were somewhere else at the moment, and they don’t get much compensation for it. Why does it stick in people’s throats to say it? So what if it “newer” than the tefillah for President Obama anyway? What’s the difference? To be honest, many people (like myself) have a serious problem with this and some small nitpicking arguments about it not being “traditional” to say it (what would it hurt?) do not help.

  32. Sholom says:

    From Crazy Kanoiy

    “Were the IDF to be a fighting force committed to the principles of Torah and Halacha the argument would be different.”

    And what, pray tell, would the argument be then?

  33. cvmay says:

    CRAZY: ‘The Yeshivos do not say the Mishaberach for Soldiers because there is no need to change or add to the nusach hatefila’.
    This has been debated, argued and discussed especially when other tefillos were added to the normative nusach of the eras. The REAL REASON, you and I know has no kesher to change or addition to nusach hatefilah. Especially since the entire nusach tefilah is an addition/change to the non-existence nusach of long ago. Acheinu kol Yisrael is a great tefillah, even a popular song….its connection to the IDF is non-existent.

    This argument between the Nationalist & non-Nationalist Religious Jew is not a new one. Shitahs were emerging already over a hundred years ago in Europe and even in the time of Rabbi Akiva. There have always been the isolationists and the participants (look how the “Gedolim” in Persia viewed Mordechai Hatzaddik & his government interventions). While the battle gear is still being worn and spears sharpened,, there can NOT & will NOT ever be a respectful dialogue or depth of understanding (even an open discussion) between the two.

  34. Crazy Kanoiy says:

    Chardal: – “Most youth who would leave observance would do so at that age whether they were in the army, college, or just working for a living.” Placing an impressionable youth of 18 years age in a wholly secular environment (such as the IDF) is placing him in a nisayon that few can withstand. Anyone with experience with secular (dorm) colleges will tell you the same. To believe otherwise would be a willful suspension of disbelief.

    Y. Ben-David: The prayer for the leader of your country of residence has its source in Navi and Masechtas Avos. It is different than a prayer for the soldiers of a country.

    Sholom: It seems that you misunderstood my point. Let me clarify it: Were the IDF to be a fighting force committed to the principles of Torah and Halacha the argument in favor of service would be different and more compelling.

    cvmay: Changes in Tefillah have been made, but there is no need to change it here. Why does Acheinu Kol Beis Yisrael not include the IDF? Are they not Acheinu Beis Yisrael? Why do they need their own specific tefilah?

  35. micha says:

    CK: To my mind, Acheinu Kol Beis Yisrael refers more to the person already in trouble. It speaks of “hanesunim batzarah — [our siblings, all of the house of Israel] who are placed in danger”. Not a prayer that the soldiers avoid being endangered to begin with, that they succeed in their goal of protecting the Jewish State, etc… And besides, adding a request isn’t a “change in tefillah” in the sense that it needs much justification. As individuals, we are supposed to be making personal requests in the middle of Shemoneh Esrei! And “kol ha’oseh teflaso keva — whomever makes his prayer a fixed routine…” The safety of our soldiers should be something every Jew is worried about. (The Satmar Rav z”l, said Tehillim for the soldiers during the Six Day War, no one would accuse him of being motivated by Zionism.) And anything you’re worried about should show up in prayer.

    Speaking of Acheinu Kol Beis Yisrael, my time at KBY overlapped with that of Yehuda Katz’s friends. Yehuda Katz was taken POW at Sultun Yaqub in 1982. He was known as a masmid — when he was called up to service, they went straight from the phone in the yeshiva office building to the beis medrash, because there was only one place he could posssibly be. Yehuda Katz’s fate is still unknown. His belongings are still in their cubby outside the beis medrash.

    He, Zecharia Baumel from Yeshivat Har Etzion (“Gush”), Tzvi Feldman — an ud mutzal mei’eish (an ember saved from the fire), the son of a man who was his family’s only survivor of the Holocaust, those are the people I think of as “HeNesunim baTzarah”. Them and the other MIAs whose stories I don’t know. Not soldiers on patrol. Admittedly this is just a statement of personal psychology.

    There, KBY and many others in that sector of the Torah community did change the tefillah. To Acheinu, they added a clause, “haomedim bein ba’avir, bein bayam, ubein beyabashah — whether they are located in the air, in the sea, or on land.” The airplane has created a new place for Jews to be in trouble.

  36. micha says:

    CK: To my mind, Acheinu Kol Beis Yisrael refers more to the person already in trouble. It speaks of “hanesunim batzarah — [our siblings, all of the house of Israel] who are placed in danger”. Not a prayer that the soldiers avoid being endangered to begin with, that they succeed in their goal of protecting the Jewish State, etc… And besides, adding a request isn’t a “change in tefillah” in the sense that it needs much justification. As individuals, we are supposed to be making personal requests in the middle of Shemoneh Esrei! And “kol ha’oseh teflaso keva — whomever makes his prayer a fixed routine…” The safety of our soldiers should be something every Jew is worried about. (The Satmar Rav z”l, said Tehillim for the soldiers during the Six Day War, no one would accuse him of being motivated by Zionism.) And anything you’re worried about should show up in prayer.

    Speaking of Acheinu Kol Beis Yisrael, my time at KBY overlapped with that of Yehuda Katz’s friends. Yehuda Katz was taken POW at Sultun Yaqub in 1982. He was known as a masmid — when he was called up to service, they went straight from the phone in the yeshiva office building to the beis medrash, because there was only one place he could posssibly be. Yehuda Katz’s fate is still unknown. His belongings are still in their cubby outside the beis medrash.

    He, Zecharia Baumel from Yeshivat Har Etzion (“Gush”), Tzvi Feldman — an ud mutzal mei’eish (an ember saved from the fire), the son of a man who was his family’s only survivor of the Holocaust, those are the people I think of as “HeNesunim baTzarah”. Them and the other MIAs whose stories I don’t know. Not soldiers on patrol. Admittedly this is just a statement of personal psychology.

    There, KBY and many others in that sector of the Torah community did change the tefillah. To Acheinu, they added a clause, “haomedim bein ba’avir, bein bayam, ubein beyabashah — whether they are located in the air, in the sea, or on land.” The airplane has created a new place for Jews to be in trouble.

  37. Nachum says:

    “a wholly secular environment (such as the IDF)”

    You really have no idea what the IDF is, do you? The IDF observes kashrut; it observes Shabbat as best as can be done in a military; it has halakhic authorities deciding these matters. It is forbidden, under military law, to go against the “psak” of these authorities- officers can and are *jailed* for such things. Soldiers are given specific times for tefillah; there are regular shiurim. Over half the officers (and a very large percentage of the “top brass”) and over half the combat units are fully religious, out of a Jewish population that is perhaps a quarter fully observant (and about a third of those don’t serve at all, being charedim, and only half of the others do, as religious women generally don’t enlist). You should learn facts before libeling one of the most important institutions in the Jewish world.

    “The prayer for the leader of your country of residence has its source in Navi and Masechtas Avos”

    So you’re saying that if you lived in the State of Israel, you’d say such a tefillah? Is there even one charedi beit knesset in the entire State of Israel that says one- and I’m not even talking about the “official” one?

    By the way, the Navi and Mishna may mention it. The actual “standard” text is much, much later.

    “do almost anything to prevent my daughters from being drafted,”

    Well then, it’s fortunate that religious girls are not drafted. Period. (Many do manage to honorably serve nonetheless.) That’s a strawman.

    The “Levi” argument fails on so many levels:

    -It’s not even halakha l’maaseh for Shevet Levi itself in the times of the Mikdash.

    -Not every charedi is a Levi or Kohen.

    -Who says that Torah learners are the same? (Yes, I know the Rambam. Not even he meant that l’maaseh.)

    -Who says that only charedim are torah learners?

    -Why does being born into the right community confer an advantage?

  38. Y. Ben-David says:

    YM Goldstein-
    No one is talking about girls serving in the IDF. All girls who are religious can receive exemption from service or do civilian national service if they wish. A large percentage of the National Religious girls do not serve in the IDF.

    Crazy Kanoiy-
    You have not answered my question. WHAT WOULD IT HURT TO SAY IT? We are talking about a group of people who are in difficult, even life-threatening situation on a day-to-day basis that the rest of us are not. It seems that in reality the question is not all halachic. Many shuls and people who are just as committed to halacha do say it, I even know of a Haredi shul that says a modified version of it (saying “soldiers of Israel” instead of the “Israel Defense Force”). So let’s stop the pretense. It is an ideological issue, pure and simple. Maintaining group solidarity above all. Be honest.

  39. joel rich says:

    r’ck,
    Just out of curiosity, is it your contention that when the Jewish people had evil kings in the time of tanach, that the Neviim encouraged frum Jews to not serve in the army?
    KT

  40. cvmay says:

    1. the argument in favor of service would be different and more compelling—SAYS WHO?

    2. Changes in Tefillah have been made, but there is no need to change it here — SAYS WHO?
    When davening for a particular person or group of people, kavana needs to be part of the recitation. For instance, davening for a refuah sheleima or a yeshua a specific name is inserted and kavana (plus tzedakah & zechus) is geared towards the person. This was initiated by Rav Simcha Hakohen Kook & Rav Dovid Yitzchak Grossman to link a specific chayail to tefillos or zechus of limud hatorah during a prior emergency war-time situation. The idea was batted down by Charedi leadership in Bnei Brak.

  41. Sholom says:

    Crazy Kanoiy said “Were the IDF to be a fighting force committed to the principles of Torah and Halacha the argument in favor of service would be different and more compelling.”

    While you imply that the charedim might go along with such a setup, I don’t really think that’s true. And that’s because of the proverbial elephant in the room – charedim have some very, very, very fundamental theological issues with the existence of the State in the first place – even a “frum” one. While they participate in the State (as opposed to the Eida Hacharedis), that’s really only in order to get services, not in order to give services. Serving in the IDF would give validity to the State’s existence, and that’s something charedim can’t and won’t ever do. (Read your pre-State charedi history). It’s the real crux of the issue, but never openly discussed. All the other charedi talking points are really in order to avoid openly discussing this fundamental issue.

  42. Crazy Kanoiy says:

    Y. Ben David.

    There is no need to say it. The soldiers are included in the standard prayer already. I would venture to ask why say it at all? I believe that many who do insist on saying it do so not only due to “hakoras hatov” but also and I would say mainly because they would like to elevate Army service to one of great religious significance. For some, it is there main focus of “avodah”. I have witnessed many shuls where people (talk and) sit during most of davening but when the tefiloh for soldiers is said all rise and one can hear a pin drop. Is this tefilah more important than the rest of davening?

    Nachum

    “It is forbidden, under military law, to go against the “psak” of these authorities- officers can and are *jailed* for such things.” Really? Can you list me one instance of someone jailed for refusing to follow a psak in the IDF? I only know of DL officers being threatened with IDF court martial for refusing to be serenaded by female soldiers.

  43. Chardal says:

    Here is just one example out of many (in 2009):

    02/12/2009 14:57
    הכל בגלל חתול קטן: לוחם מגדוד נחשון נשלח ל-20 ימי מחבוש, לאחר שהופתע לגלות שחתול משוטט “טעם” מארוחת השבת שלו ושל חבריו. הוא החליט לבשל ארוחה אחרת, אולם נענש בחומרה משום שעבר על חוקי צה”ל האוסרים על בישול בשבת.

    הלוחם, המשרת בחטיבת כפיר, למד על בשרו כי פקודות צה”ל אינן קשורות רק לפעולות מבצעיות – אלא גם לחילול שבת: בסוף השבוע האחרון, אותו בילה בבסיסו, נכנסו החייל וחבריו לחדר האוכל הבסיסי, שם עמד סיר חמין שבושל על פי הנהלים לפני כניסת השבת.

  44. cvmay says:

    I BELIEVE that many who do insist on saying it do so NOT only due to “hakoras hatov” but also and I WOULD SAY mainly because they would like to elevate Army service to one of great religious significance.

    Once again, many I STATEMENTS!!!

  45. Y. Ben-David says:

    Crazy K-
    I am flabbergasted at your excuses for not saying the misheberach for the IDF soldiers. You say “why say it at all”? Why don’t you ask “WHY SAY MISHEBERACHS FOR SICK PEOPLE”?.
    After all G-d knows who is sick in the first place. He doesn’t need us to tell him who is in need of help, but we do it anyway.. It makes me and a a lot of other people feel better pschologically that we are trying to do something to help these people who are doing so much for us. Or is that not important? I would really appreciate it if you would tell us the real reason you and so many other so strongly object to this. Is is because some ideology of yours is so much more important than people are? Is ackknowledging something good about some framework that the Haredim didn’t create and don’t control will cause a mass exodus of people from the Haredi camp? Is this like the argument that Haredi spokesmen use all the time saying that “having our boys go into the IDF or have contact with people different than us will cause our boys to stop being religious”? Do you realize what this says….this implies that Haredi education is ineffectual and the only way to keep people in the Haredi world is through coercion and by denying the spiritual value of anything Jewish outside the Haredi world? Is the framework of the Haredi world really really so shaky?

  46. Nachum says:

    Thank you, Chardal. I was thinking more along the lines of officers who give orders against halakha being punished, which also happens. Obviously, that cuts down on the problem.

  47. Crazy Kanoiy says:

    Just to make clear, my point was and is that the IDF environment presents a religious and moral hazard to young cadets.

    I appreciate that Chardal posted the piece about the cat and the cholent, however I do not believe that such an event changes the basic dynamic of the spiritual dangers posed in the current Army environment.

    I have listed many of them in my first post above. Even many in the DL community have seen the religious danger posed by the coed army units and the rampant fraternization between the sexes. Rav Chaim Druckman has expressed concern that the IDF is rapidly becoming an environment that is incompatible for religious soldiers and officers. MK Yoni Chetboun has spoken about the inappropriateness of the IDF placing male and female soldiers in cramped APCs. Rabbi Avichai Ronsky has objected to the new feminist agenda of the IDF. The recent liberal dress code for female soldiers during workout time has also been cause of much DL concern.

    Former Shin Bet Head Yuval Diskind and others have also spoken about the moral quandary that young recruits are placed in when entering houses and making arrests of Arabs. The film the Gatekeepers cannot simply be dismissed as anti-Israel rhetoric. It is interesting to note that when Chareidim confront the IDF at “hafganahs” they accuse the IDF of abusive behavior and when the DL are removed from outposts such as Chomesh they claim the IDF uses disproportionate force. However when it comes to the Arabs most everybody (chareidim and DL) seem to be of the opinion that no excessive use of force takes place.

  48. Miriam says:

    There are many people learning l’shem shamayim, we know quite a few and admire and appreciate them. However, we do not see that the “let’s all be learners” approach works on an entire society – there are far too many bad examples of people simply ducking the responsibilities of an adult and citizen. (If they were quiet and just avoiding the draft, it wouldn’t be such a problem.)

    Regarding women and army service, there were several dati leumi publications which published opinions recently, strongly advising sherut leumi over army. No one in the religious camp is advocating any society-wide change.

  49. Crazy Kanoiy says:

    Should one still be unsure about exposing our youth to life in the IDF. I suggest that you google “female IDF soldiers”, it will probably (hopefully) be blocked by your filter.

  50. Chardal says:

    Sorry Crazy,

    You have not shown in any way that the Army is more dangerous to your version of spirituality than the average workplace. Selectively quoting people who expressed concerns about the army (all of whom, BTW, fully support every religious boy going to the army as one of the greatest mitzvahs one can perform) does not accomplish a thing. For every anecdote you bring up, there are 10 other ones about how hospitable the army has become for the religious soldier. No one can venture into the world without challenges. The world is not ideal, but avoidance of responsibility and risk is not a good spiritual strategy – it is a an abdication of the mission the Torah entrusts to us.

    The chareidi system is not some great success story in its retention rates and RZ is not some unprecedented failure. Each has success stories alongside major failures. The army has no particular religious agenda. It simply meets the needs of its soldiers. 30 years ago, a religious soldier in Golani would have a hard time finding a spare moment to pray. Today, there is barely a Golani unit without a daily minyan. What changed? Simply a lot of religious soldiers going to Golani (and training as officers). 50 years ago, many army kitchens were not kosher (in opposition to official army policy). R’ Goren tz”l came to Ariel Sharon’s paratroopers unit and called him on it. Sharon’s response was that he sees no reason to kasher the kitchen since he has no religious paratroopers. R’ Goren asked “what if you get one?”. Sharon responded that if that happens, he will kasher the kitchen. The next morning, R’ Goren signed up for a paratroopers course (he earned his wings – and broke a leg in the process) and consequently the kitchen was kashered.

    My point is, that we have a chicken and egg situation. The spiritual atmosphere of the army is subject to negotiation – This has been clear for decades. But it is ultimately a red herring. If that was the issue the chareidim have, then they would have stated their conditions for army service instead of time and again treating army service as intrinsically evil and equal to shmad.

    Do people go off the derech in the army? Of course that sometimes occurs! It is a very dynamic and difficult age for any person. But I can honestly say that I have never seen a case where this happens and there were no signs of danger before enlistment.

    The current למ”ס estimates is that the charedi community has about 1000 post yeshiva ketana drop outs per year. They admit that this statistic is not totally reliable and there are difficulties in measure chareidi retention rates. I mentioned the anecdotal 30% number above. But whatever the numbers are, the chareidi world IShaving a dropout problem with or without the army. In fact, R’ Shteinman’s support of the army for youth at risk seems to imply that the army is seen in some ways as a path that would slow down this trend. This is no surprise, R’ Dessler already admitted in his defense of the Israeli-chareidi education system vis a vis TIDE that it will cause many of its products to leave the path, but that, in his words, creating gedolim is more important than retaining the youth.

    Since the system has not been particularly successful in creating gedolim either, perhaps it is time to rethink chareidi attitudes towards an array of issues, from the army, to civic responsibility, to TIDE.

  51. ChanaRachel says:

    C.K.and others:

    I think this conversation will never go anywhere, as there is a basic disagreement over whether army service constitutes a mitzva of protecting Jewish lives or a capricious program started by the government to achieve some social and societal goals.
    Those who believe the latter will never be satisfied by the level of religious observance in the army, and will never be able to justify the bitul tora involved in army service. Those who see the army as a major institution for protecting Jewish lives will want to find acceptable army frameworks rather than looking for ways to avoid serving.
    And “moral dilemmas”—Yes, they exist…wars are not clean or pretty or fun. But who should be best prepared to face these quandaries if not religious boys who understand the Jewish and halachic approach to these questions?

  52. DF says:

    “the IDF environment presents a religious and moral hazard to young cadets.”

    What doesn’t present a hazard? The workplace also presents a hazard. Life presents a hazard. These “excuses” are the exact same excuses, dressed in pious garb, of everyone who finds problems with Israel. The dor ha-midbar, and later the golei bavel, also came up with the excuses. The European Jews had the same pious tainahs, that they could “learn” better outside of Israel. If every soldier of the Israeli army was 100% orthodox – which it has never been, allowing for the anachronistic term, since the days of Joshua son of Nun – one would still come up with excuses. Have the decency, those who spout such defenses, to recognize these frum defenses and excuses are all simple terutzim. Better to remain silent in shame.

    One other thing. It doesn’t “pahss” for obviously black hat yeshivah men to go about quoting Mizrachi/DF rabbonim and MKs to defend their beliefs. Whatever their objections are, they are obviously not using them as an excuse not to be part of the army.

  53. Steve Brizel says:

    Crazy Kanoiy and Sholom-As much as I admire and respect many who live the life of full time Torah learning in the Charedi world, your posts illustrate a lack of hakaras hatov for Bnei Torah in the IDF and the fact that there are Poskim in the DL world who have written and dealt with the issues, while advising their Talmidim how to deal with issues such Tznius in the army. One hopes for similar works as Hilcos Tzva by R Rimon to be authored by anyone in the Charedi world, as Charedi Nachal and other options for Charedi involvment become more mainstream.

  54. Nachum says:

    Steve: It’s good to have hakarat hatov for all the non-Bnei Torah, religious or not, in the IDF as well. 🙂

    Also, I don’t think there’s any reason a charedi soldier couldn’t use R’ Rimon’s work.

  55. Crazy Kanoiy says:

    Steve – What does a discussion about the appropriateness of religious boys serving in the Army have to do with Hakaros Hatov? Where exactly do you see a lack of hakaros hatov? I have the soldiers in mind in my tefilos even if I do not say the “official” tefilah. I daven for their safety and I am very thankful for what they do. I also feel that the IDF is not a suitable environment for young religious boys. I have given many examples to back up my argument.

  56. Nachum says:

    So in other words, Crazy, it’s a vital institution that must exist, only you don’t want your type doing the dirty work. Got it.

  57. Crazy Kanoiy says:

    Chardal – I am all for TIDE. I believe that more chareidim should join the workforce and that the current Torah Only system is not viable in the long term.

    My issue is with the letter writer of “A Fathers Tefillah”. In his letter/email he ignores the very real and valid reasons and concerns that many have regarding sending a young impressionable boy to the IDF. Army service is not just a physical danger but also a spitual one, until the time that the environment changes for the better one should respect those that chose to keep there children away. (Rav Mordechai Eliyahu and the Rabbanut Harashi just restated that the IDF environment is not a place for a Jewish girl.)

    I would suggest that perhaps all those that offer the Tefillah for the IDF also offer a tefillah that the non-religious soldiers become chozer betshuva and the IDF becomes a place where one can serve without the nisyanos of today.Perhaps a Tefillah with Kavanah for non-religious soldiers by “Hashevenu Aveinu L’Torasecha” would also be in place.

    [YA – One would think, then, that some in our machaneh would spend a bit more time in back-channel negotiations with the IDF to create places in Tzahal that are more accommodating to the charedi soldier. Sources within the government whom – for whatever it is worth – I trust point to a huge desire and willingness to accommodate. That is not to say that this attitude in unanimous. There will be some pushback by those who are downright hostile. But they are in the minority. And this is also not to say that charedi leaders do not have good reason to be suspicious. The Army delivered a very mixed bag to those within the charedi world who put themselves out on a limb for Nachal Charedi. Still, suspicion can be overcome by better guarantees, but not if we do nothing but stonewall.]

  58. Crazy Kanoiy says:

    Chardal – Also your 30% number is ridiculous. A typical Chareidi family of 10 does not have 3 children off the Derech.

  59. Crazy Kanoiy says:

    Chardal – As a self proclaimed TIDE proponet it would also be most worthwhile to stress Rav Hirsch’s philosophy of “austritt” (with its possible ramifications for IDF service) and to note that Rav Hirsch was anti Political/Militaristic Zionism and that he disagreed with the approach of Rav Tzvi Hirsch Kalischer.

  60. Chardal says:

    Dear Crazy,

    First, I have very little to add to what Rabbi Adlerstein responded to your January 10, 2014 at 9:03 am comment. I for one, do not see the army as any more harmful to a person’s spirituality than any other part of the outside world. And if it is, then the chareidi world ought to respond with a set of conditions they wish to be met for the army service of chareidi boys.

    Second, I am suspicious of the 30% number as well, but I heard with my own ears from someone who is both chareidi and who dedicated their life to the chinuch of chareidim here in Israel. Even if it is not accurate, it is very clear, based on many many other signs, that the chareidi world has a serious retention problem. And all this is without any army service to blame anything on. If anything, boys that go to the nachal chareidi program, assuming that they are not disowned by their community or their family, are extremely likely to go on living very productive lives as chareidim. The spiritual challenges of the army, to the extent that we could even agree on the nature of those dangers, are simply not a valid excuse for not serving. When chareidi spokespeople use such an argument, they simply sound infantile to anyone who does not a-priori accept the chareidi value system.

    As for TIDE, I never meant to imply that I am proposing every aspect of Hircshean philosphy to be implemented in the chareidi world. I simply meant that TIDE’s openness to general eduction, culture, and civic responsibility could serve the chareidi community well. I think austritt was a disaster in Germany, irrelevant in the USA, and an even greater disaster in EY. In fact, ironically, it was the very issue of austritt, which was adopted by agudas yisrael in EY (it was rejected in the east European pre-war aguda) which led to the downfall of that core of chareidim who tried to implement TIDE in EY. I am of course talking about the Aguda/Poalei Aguda split of the 60s and 70s, when the bnei brak gedolim gave the death knell to pagi by ideologically forbidding cooperation with any non-religious state institutions.

    As for army service. I will tell you a story that involved the single greatest proponent of TIDE (AND austritt) in the post war world – R’ Yosef Breuer. R’ Breuer’s brother, R’ Yitzchak Breuer, made aliah in the 30s. By the time of the early 50s, tzahal already existed as did the law of conscription, and R’ Yitzchak has a son who was of age. The family had the same kind of concerns over his spiritual welfare as you display on this thread (and the army was MUCH less hospitable to the religous soldier back then than it is now) and decided to write a letter to R’ Yosef Breuer. R’ Yosef Breuer responded that if one decided to build their lives in the state of Israel, AND it is considered part of a person’s civic duty to serve in the army in this state, THEN it is their duty to send their son to the army. Their only other choice is to move to a country that does not require army service or requires army service that they do not deem to be spiritually dangerous. THAT is a Hirschean answer!

  61. Nachum says:

    CK:

    “Political/Militaristic Zionism”

    I’ve never heard of “militaristic Zionism,” but it should be pointed out that R’ Hirsch died about a decade before Political Zionism was even invented. And, of course, we have no way of knowing how he’d react to the actual Jewish State which was created fifty years after that. What we do know is that those of his disciples who ended up in Palestine realized how misplaced his (and, it should be pointed out, Mendelssohn’s) faith in Germany was, and became, and remain, strong Zionists. Indeed, it has been argued that the only true home of Hirschian TIDE today is among the Zionist yekkes (and those others who were educated by them) in Israel. (I might add American Modern Orthodoxy, but we don’t have to go there.)

  62. Nachum says:

    Also, CK: It’s good that you dream of an ideal world. We all should. (While being reminded that such a world never existed, and yet somehow Moshe and Yehoshua and Devorah and Gideon and Yiftach and Shaul and David and the Maccabim and Bar Kochba and many others were able to run armies.) But Israel is under threat *now* and needs an army. Who do you propose should do the dirty work, and for whom? Do you really think it’s moral for every religious Jew to say, “Let the chilonim die for me?”

    Also, R’ Mordechai Eliyahu passed away some time ago. I think you meant R’ Shmuel Eliyahu, but the point is moot anyway.

  63. Crazy Kanoiy says:

    Chardal, RYA

    I totally agree with the statement of RYA of 9/10/13 (9:03am). (BTW I almost always agree with RYA.)I obviously disagree with your argument that the current spirtual dangers on the Army are not a valid excuse for not serving. I feel that the danger to a boy’s value sysytem and moral compass is strongest in the formative years of (unmarried) teenagehood.

    I truly appreciate your piece on Rav Breuer. (I guess living in America enables me to remain a Hirschian)

  64. Steve Brizel says:

    Crazy Kanoiy-Try learning R Simon’s sefer. R Rimon addresses many areas of Halacha including Yichud and Tznius in the IDF.

  65. Steve Brizel says:

    Crazy Kanoiy wrote:

    “Rabbi Eliezer Melamed stated that most of the DL youth that leave Torah Observance leave it as a result of or during Army service. (I have DL members of my own family who have left religious observance after a tour of duty with the IDF.)

    I do not make any claims regarding the “perfection” of Hareidi society. I make one point and one point only, that the Army presents a moral and religious hazard on many different levels. Parents who chose to shelter their youth and raise them in a secluded Torah atmosphere should not be derided for the fact that their sons and daughters do not serve. Were the IDF to be a fighting force committed to the principles of Torah and Halacha the argument would be different.

    The Yeshivos do not say the Mishaberach for Soldiers because there is no need to change or add to the nusach hatefila. However the Bnei Yeshivos will always daven for soldiers just as they daven for every member of Klal Yisrael. Each and every Monday and Thursday the following tefillah is recited in Yeshivas worldwide “acheinu kol bnei Yisrael hanesunim batzarah u’bashivya”

    Each of the above warrants the following response:

    1) Take a look at the Charedi media-Going off the Derech is a sociological phenomenon which knows no hashkafic boundaries, and which preceded army service. The notion that IDF service is the cause of going OTD in either the DL or Charedi worlds is urban myth and stereotype.

    2) “Parents who chose to shelter their youth and raise them in a secluded Torah atmosphere” , whether to avoid army service or even a means to earn a living, are denying that Torah educated and observant Jews can function in and deal with the challenges of the secular world. What a self defeating POV.

    3) The Tefilah that you quoted preceded Hakamas Hamedinah and has no specific mention of the IDF. Once again, someone who is ignorant of the Halachic issues faced by a Chayal cannot claim to be Noseh Bol Chavero with a Ben Torah in the IDF.

  66. Crazy Kanoiy says:

    Chardal

    “I think austritt was a disaster in Germany, irrelevant in the USA, and an even greater disaster in EY.”

    At a time when the DL Bayit Hayehudi party can join with Yair Lapid and his Yesh Atid party I would venture to say that “austritt” can hardly be considered a failure. On the contrary, at a time when religious Zionisist MKs have no problem enabling a government that legislates: acceptance and recognition of acts deemed by the Torah as abomination, funding abortion on demand, and recognizing and granting legitimacy to other streams of Judaism the wisdom of “austritt” becomes all the more apparent. A believer in “austritt” would never join forces with a Yair Lapid who uses outlandish and brash statements against Religion and the Chief Rabbinate.

    Nachum

    Do you really think it’s moral for every religious Jew to say, “Let the chilonim die for me?”

    Do you think it is moral to put your children into an environment hostile to their morals and beliefs and one that will severely challenge their emunah and shmiras hamitzvos?
    No, the world is not perfect and that is why decisions must be made. The Chief Rabbis have said that the IDF is not a place for a Jewish girl and I believe that as long as the IDF is essentially “chiloni” in character (unlike the Armies of Tanach that you mentioned above) it is not a place for a religious Jewish boy either.

    “R’ Hirsch died about a decade before Political Zionism was even invented”

    Rav Hirsch was familiar with and wrote in numerous places about Zionism. He corresponded with Rav Kalischer about it and wrote about in Choreb. As a matter of fact “Zionist Yekkes” in the Hirschian sense is probably an oxymoron. The fact that Herzl’s movement was born after Rav Hirsch does not preclude Rav Hirsch from having views on the already existing Political/Militaristic Zionist movement of his days.

  67. Y. Ben-David says:

    Crazy K-
    “Austritt” (the creation of separatist religious communities) was one of the greatest disasters ever to afflict Am Israel. A logical consequence of it leads to actions like the recent assault on Rav Steinman. It says that someone who is a member of a different party or rival organization is some sort of enemy, if not to be eradicated, then to be put into Herem, because of his beliefs.
    I spoke to a gentleman who was a Holocaust survivor who lived in Germany in the 1920’s and 1930’s and in the town he lived in there were two Orthodox shuls, one “austritt”, the other Gemeinde (the general community including Reform Jews). He said the two biggest talmidei hachamim in the town were each a member of the different communities (i.e. one was in the austritt shul and the other in the Gemeinde’s Orthodox shul AND THEY WOULDN’T SPEAK TO EACH OTHER FOR YEARS. How much damage did this do to the community. Many Orthodox German rabbis opposed austritt as did many gedolei Israel such as the Netziv m’Volozhin.
    It was later shows that Orthodox families who were members of the austritt community had their children go OTD no less than the Orthodox members of the Gemeinde community. Ideological purity and political correctness have no effect on keeping Jews observant. What is important is midot and mitzvot observance, not ‘ideology’.

  68. Y. Ben-David says:

    Crazy K-
    Haredi parties joined coalitions that carried out all sorts of things against the Torah, including coalitions that included the militantly anti-religious MERETZ party. The reasoning you give was the reason why Agudat Israel refused to enter government coalitions from 1951-1977. However, their leaders obviously came to the conclusion that the advantages of being in the government outweighed the disadvantages. Perhaps they feel they can prevent things from getting worse. Considering the hostility to all religious beliefs and values we see in the prevalent Western society to which Israel is subject no less than Americans and Europeans, Israel has quite a strong religious public sphere compared to the US and Europe. Thus, we see that participation has had a beneficial effect.
    As I stated above, I don’t think German Orthodox separatism had any greater effect on preventing many young religious Jews from abandoning Jewish observance as compared to the Orthodox Jews in the Gemeinde community. As I recall Rav Yitzhak Breuer, the grandson of Rav Shimshon Rafael Hirsch wrote at length about this and he abandoned his grandfather’s anti-Zionism. PEOPLE are more important than ideology and judging people based on political affiliation or stated ideological beliefs has been a catastrophe for the Jewish people. This was the source of the “sinat hinam” (baseless hatred) that brought about the destruction of the Second Temple (i.e. the conflict between Perushim and Tzedukim and Hellenists and the estrangement between the Haverim – those who insisted on ritual purity – and the amei ha’aretz-the common people. Unfortunately it was the same in pre-Holocaust Europe. Zionism and the struggle to set up and preserve a Jewish state has brought us together and forced people to work together, rather than barricade themselves into ideological ghettoes while ignoring the rest of Am Israel.

  69. cvmay says:

    “One would think, then, that some in our machaneh would spend a bit more time in back-channel negotiations with the IDF to create places in Tzahal that are more accommodating to the charedi soldier. Sources within the government whom – for whatever it is worth -”

    For those who are knowledgeable about the status quo (now being reviewed by Ruth Lichtenstein in Hamodia) laws and how they were established should be asking about the “large pink elephant” in the room. The Status Quo system for IDF deferral was initiated for and only for ‘Lomdei Torah’ on a full-time basis (3 sedarim & nothing else). At that time and continuing to today, nothing has been established, envisioned or developed for the large segment of Charedi Bochurim & Marrieds who are NOT involved in full time learning.

    As RYA wrote above, “One would think, then, that some in our machaneh would spend a bit more time in back-channel negotiations with the IDF to create places in Tzahal that are more accommodating to the charedi soldier. Sources within the government whom – for whatever it is worth” . This large & growing fifth column has been the thorn in the Charedi kehillos. Didn’t leadership envision that there would be a time that bochurim would not be engaged in ‘Torasu Umnasu”? Weren’t eyes open to the reality?

  70. Chardal says:

    Dear Crazy K,

    You are painting the target around your arrow. You can not say that austritt is not a failure because RZ does not implement austritt. RZ has no problem sitting in a secular government because it never accepted the core ideology beyond austritt. It is no surprise, 90% of R’ Hirch’s own frankfurt community did not accept austritt as an ideology once the government passed the law allowing separation – once the großegemeinde started accommodating the religious needs of its orthodox members, they saw no need to separate. R’ Hirch’s grandson, R’ Yitzchak Breuer also largely rejected the appropriateness of austritt in EY, as one of main activists in Pagi, he allowed cooperation with the secular Zionism and accepted money and lands from them – he claimed that the best translation of R’ Hirsch’s thought in EY was the religious kibbutz.

    Your comments regarding Hirsch and Zionism are also not accurate. R’ Kalisher was not a Zionist per say. He is generally grouped with those thinker that are labeled as proto-Zionists (מבשרי הציונות). In fact, the fact that you can write of a “Political/Militaristic Zionist movement of his days” exposes a deep ignorance of history. All that existed at the time was a small budding religious agricultural aliya that had no political organization or ideology and which was hardly militaristic. Whatever Hirsch’s opinion of the messianic nature of this movement, we can not extrapolate from that what he would say 70 year later when there was a functioning state.

  71. Crazy Kanoiy says:

    Chardal –

    “You are painting the target around your arrow.”

    A non acceptance of austritt ideology allows DL MK’s to enable a government of Yesh Atid and Yair Lapid. This is a clear example of the failure of an ideology that seeks to work with all types regardless of ideological bent. It is just as relevant as your example of the rejection of PAGI as an austriit failure.

    “In fact, the fact that you can write of a “Political/Militaristic Zionist movement of his days” exposes a deep ignorance of history.”

    In Choreb Rav Hirsch refers to the שלוש השבועות as a reason for his opposition to Zionism. One of those is שלא יעלו ישראל בחומה and another is שלא ימרדו באומות העולם. It is therefore clear that Rav Hirsch would oppose a Political movement that did attempt to be יעלו ישראל בחומה with political and military force.

    Y. Ben David

    “A logical consequence of it leads to actions like the recent assault on Rav Steinman”

    Rav Steinman was attacked by a mentally deranged individual. I fail to see how the acts of such a man can be attributed to a man who required medical help for his condition.

  72. Crazy Kanoiy says:

    Steve

    “What a self defeating POV”

    You write that the Army is no different than the workforce, and that to shield your children from nisyanos is a self defeating POV. Would you send your teenage daughter to the IDF?

    Chardal, Y Ben David

    Once we are on the topic of grandchildren (Yitzchok Breuer) being the arbiters of the correctness of their grandfathers ideas (RSRH). We should at least make mention of the Hirsch descendants living in EY, such as his biographer Rabbi EM Klugman who is a close confident of Rav Shteinman and whom obviously did not hold that austritt was a failure and Zionism the way to go.Rav Klugman presents a wonderful treatment on the logic of austritt in his Hirsch biography.

  73. Y. Ben-David says:

    Crazy K-
    We have the right to ask why this supposedly “mentally deranged person” carried out the assualt at this particular time. Why didn’t he do it years ago? Probably because of the violent rhetoric being bantied about now set him off. It doesn’t matter if he is “mentally deranged” or not if it was the ideological fight that motivated him.

    When I mentioned that Rav Yitzhak Breuer rejected his grandfather’s anti-Zionism I wasn’t saying that all his relatives did the same.
    You have repeated the supposed proof that austritt is good because the Bayit Yehudi is sitting in this current government. I will repeat that Haredi parties also supported anti-religious government coalistion that cut yeshiva funding for Religious Zionist insitutions as well as carrying out anti-religious actions in addition to destroying religious yishuvim. So I fail to see how austritt-believing parties are behaving any different to those religious parties who reject the austritt ideology. Politics in a democracy is the art of compromise and the Haredi parties participate in it just as the non-Haredi religious parties do. The ideology, in the end, doesn’t seem to make any difference. The only REAL austritt people are the Edah HaHaredit who refuse to vote and to accept government money for their institutions. Those who accept taxpayers’ money above and beyond what all citizens are entitled to in the name of equality have to accept the fact that the taxpayer has every right, through his elected representatives, to say where that money is going

  74. Chardal says:

    >A non acceptance of austritt ideology allows DL MK’s to enable a government of Yesh Atid and Yair Lapid.

    You are imposing your own value system onto RZ. We do not see this as a failure. The average RZ voter obviously does not agree with many of the items yesh atid stands for but there an extremely significant overlap especially considering that many of RZ are middle class and have similar economic values as those of yesh atid. There is much to agree with regarding the “sharing of the burden”. You see, I do not see the current set of decisions as being shmad at all. I see them as a necessary step to make this country more fair. I also see nothing wrong with cooperating with non-religious parties to try and advance things that we believe are in the long term best interest of Clal Yisrael. In fact, the aguda and degel sat with many many non-religious parties in the government so I don’t see why this is an issue to you. Is it just because you don’t like the draft bill or the cuts to yeshiva? Well guess what, I didn’t like the chareidi parties enabling the expulsion of 10000 Jews from their homes in Aza, but I would not characterize what I see as a tragedy as a failure to implement austritt!!

    Lets be clear. The only “party” to truly accepts austritt is the Eida haChareidis. Of course, they do not run for knesset nor do they accept goverment money. (They do benefit from government infrastructure, roads, hospitals, etc. so I never understood how they have a “heter” for that). The moment you participate or recognize as Jewish, ANY Jewish government or institution that is not fully orthodox, you are in violation of austritt.

    Regarding Hirsch and Zionism. I know that it is hard to see this in hindsight and it was indeed inevitable that the state would be achieved through war, but in the early years of Zionism up until the days of the state, many zionists did believe that they could achieve a national home in EY through peaceful means. It seems naive to us, but the early Jewish self defense organizations were not meant to conquer land but to defend Jewish lives if a almost-lawless land. Early land acquisitions were done entirely through land purchases. By the time war was obviously inevitable to all in the 40s, such anti-messianic doctrines as the three oaths were a luxury very few sane leaders could possibly afford to translate to actual policy. In fact, even the anti-zionist Eida supported the Jewish war effort by this junction in history. I have no idea what Hirsch would have said, but I do not consider it obvious that he would have opposed the creation of the state and condemned the 600,000 Jews living in EY at the time to murder and rape while simultaneously denying the she’erit pleita of Holocaust survivors a place to live. Just sayin’ – I could be wrong, but even if I am, as I wrote above, I was never advocating a full adoption of Hirschean thought, parts of which I consider highly problomatic, but rather those parts of it that support openness to general education and culture, civic responsibility and financial independence.

    Regarding R’ Klugman’s biography, it is indeed excellent and is a “diamond in the rough” among artscoll biographies. However it is in no way the final word on Hirsch. No one can deny that some of Hirsch’s talmidim “slid to the right”, but I would still argue that the רוב מיניין ובניין of them in EY became zionists of one type or another.

  75. Nachum says:

    I’m curious, Kanoiy: You refer to three oaths and yet only cite two of them. Could you tell me what the third is? Could that third be applicable to something big that happened about sixty years after R’ Hirsch? Just curious.

  76. Crazy Kanoiy says:

    The beautifully wise words of Yesh Atid MK Rabbi Shai Piron:

    אינני מכיר פוסקים שמתירים (הבנות) ללכת לצבא
    הבעיה בשירות הצבאי היא האווירה הכללית שאיננה מאפשרת חיים ללא נפילות מיותרות. הלחץ, המציאות הבלתי נורמאלית, עלולה להוציא מהמפגש בין בנים לבנות דוקא את הצדדים הלא טהורים
    לכל אחד מאיתנו ברור שיש מקומות שלא הולכים אליהם. לא בגלל שבטוח שיקרה בהם משהוא אלא בשל החשש שיקרה בהם משהוא. לכן, אנו לא צועדים במסלולים מסוכנים ומתייחסים בתדהמה לתאבי הרפתקאות הנוטלים נפשם בכפם. כשם שאנו מודעים לסכנות גופניות, כך ויותר עלינו להיות רגישים בכל מה שנוגע לסכנות הרוחניות

    Obviously Army service is different than the workforce and obviously a very real spiritual danger exists. He is unaware of a Posek that would permit IDF service for girls and I am aware that most poskim don’t permit it for boys either.

  77. Y. Ben-David says:

    Crazy K-
    Please let me know who are the “most poskim” who supposedly don’t permit military service for boys? Certainly ALL of the poskim of the RZ camp do allow it. For that matter, the official position of Agudat Israel, SHAS, and Degel HaTorah is that any boy who is not learning Torah is liable for conscription.

    Military service for girls is a totally different kettle of fish and I believe most RZ poskim oppose it, but it is incorrect to extrapolate from this to military service for men.

  78. Chardal says:

    Dear Crazy,

    We are back to where we started. If spiritual concerns were the real reasons then the chareidim would negotiate an acceptable form of army service. However, the real reason is far deeper than that. Quoting RZ rabbis out of context does not help.

    BTW, most Chareidi poskim are too busy trying to find sources for a heter to avoid the obvious halachic obligation of army sources to have time to out and out forbid it based on meta halachic concerns. To whatever extent, you agree with them, it would fall more neatly into the paradigm of עת לכשות לה׳ הפרו תורתך than some obvious rabbinic concensous of its impermissibility.

  79. Crazy Kanoiy says:

    Chardal: “Quoting RZ rabbis out of context does not help”
    Y Ben David: “it is incorrect to extrapolate from this to military service for men”

    How pray tell have I quoted out of context? I have quoted Rabbi Piron verbatim. The clear implication of his words and those of all the RZ figures that I have quoted clearly indicates that the IDF is not your typical office environment, let alone a proper torah true environment. It shows that many RZ figures are bold enough to admit that the IDF presents a real spiritual hazard. It is true that these RZ figures believe that the “mitzvah” of IDF services trumps the religious concerns of IDF service, at least with regards to boys, however that is a question of what takes precedence not a denial of the reality. For many others the spiritual concerns trump the “mitzvah” of duty of service.

    Chardal:”If spiritual concerns were the real reasons then the chareidim would negotiate an acceptable form of service”

    Spiritual concerns are one of many real concerns. Just because there are other real concerns does not make the spirtual one any less real.

    Father of Simcha: “Maybe we need Tosfos to explain why the other 17 and 18 year olds do not serve this country in uniform or alternatively, in national service.”

    Actually we do not need Tosfos to explain why so many 17 and 18 year olds chose to serve there nation by pursuing full time study of the Ribono Shel Oilam’s Torah. The Pshat is quite simple. SEE ABOVE.

Pin It on Pinterest