Purim Torah

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21 Responses

  1. Natan Slifkin says:

    Rabbi Menken, I must confess that I am very confused by your post. You point out, quite correctly and obviously, that “to claim that R’ Moshe was referring only to “scholars” or “metzuyanim” makes a pretzel from the straight words of his Teshuvah.” But was anyone actually arguing such a thing? I’ve been following the discussions pretty closely and I don’t remember anyone making such a claim.

    It appears that you did not understand the discussion. The argument was as follows: The Gemara condemns efforts to draft talmidei chachamim for military service. Rav Moshe claims that talmidei chachamim also refer to people who are not talmidei chachamim. Rav Hershel Schechter says that talmidei chachamim only means talmidei chachamim and does not include all yeshivah students.

    This leads to my next point of confusion. You seem to be saying that it is forbidden to argue with Rav Moshe, and you quote Rav Schachter as saying that we have to follow Gedolei Torah. But Rav Schachter himself argues with Rav Moshe on this!

    So are you claiming that Rav Schachter (and the various Dati-Leumi Gedolei Torah) are not allowed to argue with Rav Moshe? Yet Rav Moshe himself explicitly states that there is no obligation for talmidei chachamim to agree with the Gadol HaDor – see Igros Moshe Yoreh Deah 3:88, where he tells someone moving to Bnei Brak that he is perfectly entitled to argue with the Chazon Ish. He says “In fact not only is it permitted but we see from Bava Basra (130) that Rava told his students that they were not allowed to rule according to a view of his that they disagreed with since a judge can only rule based on how he sees things.”

    I would appreciate it if you could clarify what you are actually trying to claim. Are you saying that Rav Schachter and the various Dati-Leumi rabbanim are not allowed to argue with the Charedi rabbanim? If so, what is your basis for this claim?

  2. Yaakov Menken says:

    Natan,

    You’ve done one of the Mitzvos of Purim — you’ve been mekayem “מיחייב איניש לבסומי בפוריא” (a person must get drunk on Purim) … until you don’t remember your own words!

    Earlier you wrote that “Chazal say nothing about ‘crucial’ protection being provided by ‘full-time Torah study of yeshivah students.’ They talk about Torah scholars, not yeshivah students.” You said that as an absolute, not as one Rav’s opinion. For that blanket assertion to have been true, everyone would have to concur — but of course, as we both know, R’ Moshe doesn’t. His logic is not hidden, because a Tzurbah MiRabanon is part of Rabanon. Nowhere does R’ Moshe’s Teshuvah mention “Talmidei Chachamim” — you just set up a straw man, and were you sober I’d say that came dangerously close to belittling the words of the recent Rashkb’hag. Please be more careful.

    Then, in your comment to R’ Yair’s post in which he provided R’ Moshe’s Teshuvah, you wrote that “Rabbi Hoffman consistently conflates any mention of the value of a Torah SCHOLAR under CERTAIN circumstances as also applying to ANY Torah STUDY done by ANYONE under ANY circumstances.” If you intended to say that R’ Moshe Feinstein “consistently conflates” the two, rather than saying that R’ Moshe’s Teshuvah applied only to “a Torah SCHOLAR,” you did not make that at all clear. Otherwise, why would you have attributed to R’ Yair what was simply an accurate rendition of R’ Moshe’s opinion?

    Nowhere did I say it is “forbidden” to argue with Reb Moshe. Rav Schachter is welcome to believe whatever he wishes, and that will apply to those who follow Rav Shachter. Under discussion is not the drafting of Yeshiva students who follow Rav Shachter, but those who follow the unanimous opinion of Chareidi Gedolim, at least as found in three united Moetzos. His opinion cannot be used to delegitimize theirs.

    So you seem to have also forgotten that it was you who was using his (and other Dati Leumi) opinion to delegitimize that of the Chareidi gedolim (“it’s just plain silly to claim that we would lose ‘crucial protection’ if some (and not all) yeshivah students spend some time in the army”) rather than vice-versa. If you reread your own essays after recovering from Purim, you should no longer find yourself confused at all, much less “very confused!”

  3. SA says:

    Rabbi Menken, please be careful about relying on hearsay about Nachal Haredi. In fact, one of the so-called “problems” some in the army have with Nachal Haredi is that it isn’t actually as Haredi as they would like; it includes many serious dati-leumi young men who want to serve without the presence of women and in a framework that allows for learning and tefilla. Some are there because their roshei yeshiva made that a condition for their service. In other words, they are “regular bochurim,” just like you said (though we know that’s not what you meant, and you may want to reconsider that statement). Chag Samea’ch from Jerusalem!

  4. Bob Miller says:

    Rabbi Menken,

    Do any of today’s Gedolim allow for unusually threatening circumstances, R”L, that could suddenly require extra military manpower (combat or support personnel) beyond current reserves, that could include some draft-age men who now sit in yeshiva? If so, whom would they trust to declare that such a situation existed?

    And if such a call-up were possible, what level of prior military training would be appropriate for those who could be called up, given modern technological advances in warfare?

  5. Natan Slifkin says:

    Rabbi Menken, I’m glad that you now apparently agree that nobody was arguing that R’ Moshe was referring only to “scholars” or “metzuyanim,” contrary to the claim in your post.

    But now you make equally an curious claim: “For that blanket assertion to have been true, everyone would have to concur.” Where on earth do you get such a thing from? People are always entitled to give forth a view. And you certainly don’t apply it equally. For example, were someone to say that the Gemara talks about an exemption for yeshivah students, you wouldn’t challenge his right to make a “blanket assertion” because Rav Shachter disagrees that this is pshat.

    With regard the Gemara, it does not say rabbanan or tzurba m’rabbanan, it says talmidei chachamim. Again, there are plenty of halachos relating to talmidei chachamim which nobody claims also apply to yeshivah students. I’m not saying that Rav Moshe is not entitled to his opinion. However, Rav Schachter is certainly entitled to his, and it certainly seems to fit better with the terminology of “talmid chacham” as it is usually understood.

    Then you criticize me for critiquing “Rabbi Hoffman’s opinion” when it is really “Rav Moshe’s opinion.” But if you’re going to take this approach, then you could equally criticize Rabbi Hoffman for critiquing “Rabbi Slifkin’s opinion” when it is really “Rav Shechter’s opinion.” Why the inconsistency?

    You wrap up by saying that it is wrong to use the opinion of non-charedi Gedolim to “delegitimize” that of charedi Gedolim. I honestly don’t understand what you mean by “delegitimize.” Of course everyone is entitled to an opinion, and neither me nor anyone else has claimed otherwise. But equally, everyone is entitled to criticize the reasoning and analysis of other opinions – this is exactly what the shakla v’tarya of Torah is about. Would you claim that criticizing Religious Zionism is forbidden because it is “delegitimizing” Religious Zionist Gedolim?

  6. cvmay says:

    “He forcefully made the point that all major life issues — whom to marry, where to live, what profession to choose, and whom to vote for — are questions in halacha and must be treated as such” – opinion of Rav H Schechter

    As one who has heard Rav Schechter speak on several occasions, he has pasken that HALACHIC issues are guided by Daas Torah which can be a majority daas or a minority daas. HASHKAFIC issue has no kesher/connection to Daas Torah. So in discussing the issue of IDF draft or a Tefilla Gathering/Rally/Demonstration there are many components that fall under Hashkafa and not Halacha.

  7. Baruch Friedman says:

    By the way, if we are indeed discussing Reb Moshe’s teshuvah, you might want to be medayek a bit in his words. What does he mean “anyone who has a desire to become great in Torah, in Horaah and in fear of Heaven”? Why doesn’t he just say “anyone who has a desire to learn”? It would seem clear to me that R. Moshe is saying that simply learning does not give one an exemption; what is necessary is a desire and, by clear extension, a clear and realistic sense of working toward the goal of becoming an actual gadol be”torah and horaah.
    Again, I don’t think this should have an impact on the issue at hand because there are other considerations; but leshitasechah…

  8. Yisrael Asper says:

    As far as the issue of Rav Kook it does not seem farfetched that his son would want to see his father not as having included an exemption from the draft for a future Jewish State of Israel. That alone though does not really tells us his position. He according to all accounts I read, died before the State.

  9. Abe says:

    Rabbi Menken: “To be Chareidi means to recognize the authority of Gedolei Torah in all Torah matters, to accept the position expressed so clearly by Rav Herschel Schachter (among others) that basic life decisions are Torah matters and subject to Rabbinic guidance, and thus to subscribe to the guidance of Gedolei Torah, period, full stop. And frankly, to be Chareidi requires a degree of humility. It requires that a person accept his own limitations, rather than try to explain why neurosurgeons don’t understand neurosurgery, why mathematicians don’t know math, or (l’havdil) the Gedolei Torah don’t understand Torah.”

    Rabbi Menken: “Rav Schachter is welcome to believe whatever he wishes, and that will apply to those who follow Rav Shachter. Under discussion is not the drafting of Yeshiva students who follow Rav Shachter, but those who follow the unanimous opinion of Chareidi Gedolim, at least as found in three united Moetzos. His opinion cannot be used to delegitimize theirs.”

    Below is a direct quote from Rav Herschel Schacter shlita (Torah Web. 2007 “Its Just Plain Common Sense”). I believe it illustrates RHS’s actual position vis a vis guidance of Gedolei Torah, as important -but I think “period.full stop” is overstating the case from his perspective. It is laudable of Rabbi Menken to recognize that that Rav Schachter is welcome to believe whatever he wishes, and that will apply to those who follow Rav Shachter. It seems a bit disingenuous of the author to quote RHS (presumably to try and make an impression on those who “follow” him in an apparent attempt to “delegitmize” those who do not ascribe to the opinion championed by Rabbi Menken).

    RHS: “If there are two ways to understand a halacha, one which makes sense and the other does not, of course we should choose the interpretation that makes sense!Yes, indeed, emunas chachomim is a very fundamental principle in our faith: we believe Hakadosh Baruch Hu will give divine assistance to an honest and deserving talmid chochom that he should be above his personal negios in issuing a psak; he will not have an agenda. But it doesn’t mean that we should believe in nonsense. Every exaggeration is by definition not true. It does not correspond to reality. The halacha is very nuanced because the world is very complex. Most simanim in Shulchan Aruch have many se’ifim. You can not cover all the cases in one short statement. The challenge of “lernin” is to be able to formulate the halacha precisely, without any exaggeration leaning in either direction, with “sechel”.

  10. A Thinking Talmid who cares about the Jewish People says:

    “The very idea that one can “debate” halacha with the current Gedolei Torah, people to whose toenails none of us reach in understanding of Torah, demonstrates understanding of neither what it takes to become a Torah scholar of that stature, nor what it means to be Chareidi.”

    If by Chareidi, you mean ירא שמים, I am not so sure. Yes, a talmid of say Rav Aharon Feldman should follow Rav Aharon Feldman. And a talmid of Rav Hershel Schachter should follow Rav Schachter. (Note, Rav Schachter is not just a חכם המגיע להוראה but one of the greatest פוסקים in North America.) But what about everyone on the fence, who perhaps have shaychus to rabbanim from multiple schools of thought? Rabbi Yair Hoffman wrote an article espousing the view of the Moetzes. Is someone not allowed to respond espousing Rav Hershel Schachter’s view?

  11. micha says:

    You are grossly misrepresenting R’ Herschel Schachter’s position. He defined daas Torah as having a feel for the flow of halakhah, the innate sense of how the halakhah ought to be in some topic, rather than only having theoretical knowledge from texts. And in fact, in the talk in question he explicitly LIMITS the authority of advice as the unknowns are less and less related to the halakhah end of the discussion. Rather than talking about “basic life decisions”, RHS is defending halakhah from the redefinition of the process Open Orthodoxy is engaging in. And in fact, the idea you’re attributing to him is one R’ Schachter compares to prohibited acts of magic and idolatry!

    See http://www.yutorah.org/lectures/lecture.cfm/807758

  12. Yisrael Asper says:

    Natan Slifkin said “…With regard the Gemara, it does not say rabbanan or tzurba m’rabbanan, it says talmidei chachamim.” The Tzurba M’Rabbanan were Talmidei Chachamim. They do not exist as a category anymore.

  13. Yaakov Menken says:

    Rabbi Slifkin, despite our personal relationship, if you’re going to call me Rabbi Menken I’m going to have to call you Rabbi Slifkin, or some readers immediately accuse me of a double standard. Nonetheless, if I’m going to hold you to a higher standard then this comment disappoints me.

    I’m glad that you now apparently agree that nobody was arguing that R’ Moshe was referring only to “scholars” or “metzuyanim,” contrary to the claim in your post.

    I suggest you read the comments to Rabbi Hoffman more carefully. I have already explained why it was not readily apparent that you intended to argue with Reb Moshe.

    “For that blanket assertion to have been true, everyone would have to concur.” Where on earth do you get such a thing from?

    As they say, you get to have your own opinion, but not your own facts. You made a factual assertion about what Chazal did or didn’t say which is contradicted by Achronim and current-day Gedolim, as if it were true and undisputed. Either you were not aware of those opinions, or you were not forthright about them.

    With regard the Gemara, it does not say rabbanan or tzurba m’rabbanan, it says talmidei chachamim.

    Rebbe Yochanon, Reish Lakish, Rav Yehudah and Rav Papa, per Bava Basra 7b and 8a, all beg to differ. They all say “רבנן לא צריכי נטירותא” — and there is no one who argues. It is brought down l’halacha by the Rif, the Rosh, the Shulchan Aruch, etc. — the Bar Ilan CD brings up three pages of results.

    You could equally criticize Rabbi Hoffman for critiquing “Rabbi Slifkin’s opinion” when it is really “Rav Shechter’s opinion.”

    You would have to take that up with Rabbi Hoffman.

    You wrap up by saying that it is wrong to use the opinion of non-charedi Gedolim to “delegitimize” that of charedi Gedolim. I honestly don’t understand what you mean by “delegitimize.”

    You are far too intelligent to make this statement. If you don’t think calling their opinion “silly” and baseless (“Chazal say nothing…”) qualifies, then I can’t help you, and we’ll end the discussion here.

    Baruch Friedman writes: It would seem clear to me that R. Moshe is saying that simply learning does not give one an exemption; what is necessary is a desire and, by clear extension, a clear and realistic sense of working toward the goal of becoming an actual gadol be”torah and horaah.

    Are we presuming to judge the motivations of others? To me, it is clear that R’ Moshe is saying that one is an outgrowth of the other: if one intends to continue learning Torah indefinitely, clearly he aims to become great in Torah and Hora’ah and Fear of Heaven to the best of his ability.

    I’ve let others clarify what Rav Herschel Shachter actually holds — I claim no expertise, and didn’t intend to say anything that differs from what Abe and Micha have written. As described on the yutorah.org link to which Micha refers, in the shiur Rav Shachter makes the case that “whom to marry, whom to vote for, what parnassah to choose are all haalchic [sic] shaylos,” as Rabbi Rosenfeld also quoted in his name. I think what I said was actually less absolute than that — “basic life decisions are Torah matters and subject to Rabbinic guidance.” I didn’t say you mindlessly go to Gedolim to let them think for you (as some might misunderstand the yutorah.org synopsis to be saying), I said you make sure your Rav has all the facts and get his guidance, which does appear to be Rav Shachter’s position.

    What I have not let through are several comments attempting to “prove” yet again that the Chareidi Gedolim are wrong, or more particularly that all of Reb Moshe’s foremost talmidim somehow misunderstood the parameters of his Teshuvah and they know how to read it better. This returns to address Rabbi Slifkin’s last point. My thesis was and remains that this argument (which has now been made a dozen times over in responses to R’ Yair Hoffman, and need not be repeated here) is ultimately counterproductive — it simply exposes disrespect for the superior Torah knowledge of Gedolei Torah and attempts to lessen the commitment of the Chareidi community to follow their guidance.

  14. Akiva Cohen says:

    R’ Menken,

    Apparently you classified my comment as “attempting to “prove” yet again that the Chareidi Gedolim are wrong, or more particularly that all of Reb Moshe’s foremost talmidim somehow misunderstood the parameters of Reb Moshe’s Teshuvah, and they know how to read it better.”

    That was not at all my intent, so let me rephrase.

    My question is how you can simultaneously understand R’ Moshe’s tshuva as applying to all lomdei torah in all circumstances and claim that all Chareidi g’dolim held the same view in light of R’ Elyashiv’s psak that רבנן לא צריכי נטירותא applies only in a normal situation, and not when there is a known and present danger.

    As far as I can see, there are only three options:

    1) R’ Moshe and R’ Elyashiv disagree (with R’ Moshe holding the principle applies regardless of external circumstances, while R’ Elyashiv holds that the principle applies only when there is no known and present danger, but not when there is a known and present danger);

    2) R’ Moshe and R’ Elyashiv agree (with both holding the principle applies only when there is no known and present danger, but not when there is a known and present danger); or

    3) R’ Moshe and R’ Elyashiv agree (with both holding the principle applies regardless of external circumstances)

    Number 1 seems to be the most reasonable conclusion – since, as you point out, R’ Moshe’s closest musmachim understand his tshuva in that fashion, and R’ Elyashiv’s position seems clear on its face. But if that is the case, then it would be impossible to say, as you did in your essay, that all the Chareidi g’dolim agree on this issue.

    Number 2 would allow you to say all the Chareidi g’dolim agree on this issue, but would contradict the understanding of R’ Moshe’s musmachim (though not the literal text of his letter)

    Number 3 would also allow you to say all the Chareidi g’dolim agree on this issue, but appears to contradict the express psak by R’ Elyashiv.

    In other words, my question is not on R’ Moshe l’shitaso, or on his musmachim’s understanding of it, but on how you reconcile that understanding with R’ Elyashiv’s psak such that they are in agreement.

    How do you resolve this?

  15. Nachum Boehm says:

    Rabbi Menken, you have staked out an unassailable position. You first establish that you need not defend your position, as you are just following the words of the (Chareidi) Gedolim. You then insulate this already unassailable position by declaring that it is forbidden for anyone, Chareidi or not, to ask any questions on these positions, as to do so is to insult the Chareidi Gedolim. In other words, we follow the Chareidi Gedolim, and leave it for people bigger than us to figure out the justifications for the Chareidi positions.

    This is a halachically defensible position for you to take, and I respect your right to take it. It is in fact the path most Chareidim in EY seem to take.

    But Rabbi Hoffman did not choose to follow this path. Instead, Rabbi Hoffman attempted to JUSTIFY the Chareidi position. Once he did this, he was no longer making an argument from authority (as you are), and he opened up the floor to debate, and now has the headache of having to DEFEND the Chareidi position on grounds OTHER THAN that we must do so as that is the p’sak of the Chareidi Gedolim.

  16. Yaakov Menken says:

    Akiva, your option two is probably closest to correct. The two cases are entirely different, and that is why the rulings are different. Rav Elyashiv was speaking about getting locks on the door when there’s a rash of burglaries in the neighborhood, not whether yeshiva students should abandon their learning when the Army already has surplus manpower. Two completely different cases require two completely different answers. Note that Rav Elyashiv did not encourage students to stop learning and become security guards instead, though that would certainly have reduced the number of burglaries; he said buying locks is appropriate even for them. Note, however, that Rav Elyashiv, like Reb Moshe, held that anyone learning in yeshiva is in the category of Rabanon who do not need protection except in cases of extraordinary danger.

    Nachum, defensible or not, that’s not at all what I said. Who said anything about asking questions? Of course we can ask questions, that’s what learning is all about. But to dispute their decision and attempt to prove them wrong, using Torah sources, is as appropriate as a minimally-educated layman contradicting the consensus of the neurosurgery team at Johns Hopkins. It means the writer simply doesn’t understand their level of expertise. That’s unassailable simply due to logic — no one would choose to let you or I, rather than an experienced surgeon with years of intensive training, operate on their brain. The extent to which a reader does not see the parallel is the extent to which he or she does not understand the Chareidi position.

    I do not believe that when someone attempts to explain the position of the Gedolim, that automatically entitles everyone to opine on what they have to say, certainly not with the tenor espoused by some commenters. Once Rabbi Hoffman took the trouble to quote contemporary sources that explain the basis for their position, I don’t think he needed to engage in a point-by-point rebuttal of what Rabbi Slifkin had to say. I agree with you on that.

  17. Doron Beckerman says:

    It seems that there are two elements to this debate that consistently get conflated, so confusion reigns. For the sake of clarity, it is important to pry apart the issues.

    1) Exemption of learners
    2) Those in Yeshiva who are not learning.

    Major poskim have weighed in on Point #1 and the argument over it is halachic. The preponderance of Poskim support exemption. Rav Neriah, Rav Arieli (of Mercaz Harav), Rav Moshe Feinstein, Rav Waldenberg, Rav Chaim Dovid Halevi have all ruled that Yeshiva students are exempt. Arguing over this point as politics is both demeaning to the Poskim and irrelevant. Besides, point #1 is, to one degree or another, within the consensus of the entire religious community, including the Religious Zionists, since otherwise there is no justification for Hesder, which serves for only 17 months, and certainly not for Yeshivot Gevohot, which serve for a few months – according to the new law at age 23, except for 300 of them at age 26.

    It is also accepted by large swaths of the irreligious community, all the way to the far left, that those learning day and night should be granted exemptions. This point, and only this point, was what Rav Steinman was insisting upon. He did not even insist on not having the 1,800 cap – he only asked that those in excess of this limit not be deemed criminals. He was promised this by Bayit Yehudi and Netanyahu, and they both caved to Lapid’s need to present a coercive bill to his constituents. This will set back the trend toward joining the army. 30 RZ and secular intellectuals, some of whom have literally spent their lives studying Israeli Charedi society, urged the government to do away with the criminalization, which has the potential to tear the country apart, but were rebuffed. The rally was called over a violation of point #1. Religious Zionism split over the issue of attending the rally over this point – coercion of Lomdei Torah to serve.

    The citation of Rav Yaakov Kamenetzky zt”l is completely unrelated to point #1, but to point #2. (This is why the Kamenetzky grandchildren and great-grandchildren largely did not and do not serve in the army, and why R’ Shmuel Kamenetzky backed the rally. Years ago, I spoke to Rav Yisroel Shurin, R’ Yaakov’s son-in-law, about R’ Yaakov’s position on this issue, and he told me R’ Yaakov maintained that those learning need not serve as long as there was legal basis for their exemption. See below.) And I am not at all convinced that the citation of Rav Schachter is pertinent to point #1 – his citation of R’ Yaakov indicates that it is to point #2, as does his statement of “Are they all Talmidei Chachamim?” as opposed to “They are not Talmidei Chachamim, merely studying Torah.”

    Point #2 is a point of contention not between the Charedim and RZ, but within Charedi society. It was not that long ago that Rav Steinman was vilified for his support of Nachal Charedi. On this issue, as told to me by Rav Shurin, R’ Yaakov naturally insisted on ehrlichkeit, which is not congruous with using the Yeshiva as a safe haven. I also spoke to Rav Shurin’s son, R’ Yitzchok Shurin (who is assuredly the grandson to whom Rav Schachter was referring). He told me that R’ Yaakov told him that “fort the medinah needs shemirah and a frum yid has more merits.” Rav Wolbe (Iggeros Ukesavim, Vol. II, pg. 306) states in a letter:

    אני מסכים עמך כי השימוש לרעה בדחיית השירות הצבאי הוא חילול ה’ גדול

    That is all one side of the equation. The other side of the equation is that the army has not been an accommodating place for younger Charedi people. One need only look to Rav Raavad – rabbinic head of Shachar – quitting his post for evidence of this; the army repeatedly broke its commitments in this regard. Over the past few weeks, soldiers were taken to view baptisms, and a Charedi officer was relieved of his post and dishonorably discharged for refusing to be in a position of superior officer to a female. And the list goes on. Rav Amnon Bazak of Gush, no supporter of the Charedi position, recently validated Charedi claims of unsuitability of the army environment. As such, some Charedi Rabbanim consider the draft-dodging to be the lesser of two evils. It seems that this is a decision that must be made in consultation with one’s personal rabbeim who can determine whether a particular person is susceptible to spiritual peril in the IDF. It is to be hoped that it will become moot, for over the next few years the IDF will prove itself sufficiently accommodating in this regard.

  18. Torlev says:

    Perhaps Boruch Friedman touched on this already but IMHO, it seems that Rabbis Menken and Hoffman (and Rabbi Slifkin for conceding this point), have totally misread R’ Moshe’s words. Let’s look at the critical two sentences in the teshuva:
    Sentence #1: “It would appear that the government also recognizes this and one who learns in a Yeshiva Gedolah and is involved in Torah study is exempt from the obligations of the army.”
    R’ Moshe was clearly not stating his own opinion in this sentence, he was simply discussing the Israeli Government policy of 1981 of exempting yesiva bochurim at the time. Any interpretation of this as his psak seems to be “making a pretzel” from his “straight words”.
    The psak to the bochur asking whether he has a duty to leave yeshiva to voluntarily enlist for service appears in the following sentence, albeit with great qualification as to who exactly it applies to: “Therefore, certainly one who has a desire to learn Torah and to become great in Torah and in Horaah and in fear of Heaven, should attend Yeshiva Gedolah and will be a blessing for Klal Yisroel and a great [source of] defense for all of Israel.”
    It seems clear that Rabbi Menken’s claim that “R’ Moshe says that his words apply to “מי שלומד בישיבה גדולה ועוסק בתורה,” “whomever sits in yeshiva gedolah and involves himself with Torah” is inaccurate.

    [Except that it’s clear that R’ Moshe feels that is as it should be, and it’s clear to all of R’ Moshe’s closest talmidim that this was his intent. Remember these are students at a premier Torani (Dati Leumi) high school, most of whom go on to Hesder Yeshivot. R’ Moshe is advising these two bochurim that they should not go to Hesder, that they should continue learning full time instead. And should you think that doing so isn’t Zionist enough, “it would appear that the government also recognizes this.” — YM]

  19. Steve Brizel says:

    FWIW, RHS has given shiurim to Nachal Charedi units.

  20. Steve Brizel says:

    R Menken wrote:

    “Nowhere did I say it is “forbidden” to argue with Reb Moshe. Rav Schachter is welcome to believe whatever he wishes, and that will apply to those who follow Rav Shachter. Under discussion is not the drafting of Yeshiva students who follow Rav Shachter, but those who follow the unanimous opinion of Chareidi Gedolim, at least as found in three united Moetzos. His opinion cannot be used to delegitimize theirs.”

    Isn’t this shorthand for saying RHS is an Adam Gadol, but “nisht unzerer”, and not a Gadol whose POV counts at all?

    [I claim no qualifications to determine who is or isn’t an Adam Gadol, but the Charedi community knows who it follows. –YM]

  21. Steve Brizel says:

    I think that the above quoted passage is highly problematic because it assumes that there is no machlokes within the Charedi world on issues of Halacha. Yet, we know that in any good edition of the Chidushei R Chaim , the CI disagrees with R Chaim, and in any good edition of the MB, the CI disagrees with the MB, even though the CI calls the MB the “Posek Acharon.” If you look at RSZA’s Minchas Shlomoh and Halichos Shlomoh, there are numerous instances where RSZA raises strong questions as to the Piskei Halacha of the CI. If one compares the writings of RSZA in Halacha to those of RYSA, there are many differences. RHS also has contrasted the views of RMF with the views of the CI, Gdolei Acharonim and RYBS on many, many areas of Halacha. Despite the views in the Charedi press to the contrary, there is no monolithic view in the Charedi world that every bachur and avrech, regardless of their lack of progress in learning, must sit and learn forever on a 24/7 basis.

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