Rav Yitzchak Sheilat’s Open Letter to Charedi Brothers

[Editor’s note: People are slowly becoming aware of the growth of harsh resentment of charedim in the Dat-Leumi community, which has sustained an outsize proportion of the war-related suffering. This is tragic, at a time that so many people, observant or not, have internalized the need to see all of us as bound together as a unified Am Yisrael. While some of the rhetoric has been harsh, this is not universally so. I was impressed by both the tone and content of R. Yitzchak Sheilat’s open letter to charedim. Naively or not, I can hope that his words will stimulate more thought in our world, and even lead to people reaching out to the more seasoned bnei Torah in the DL world (and there are many!), who are our brothers not only as acheinu bnei Yisrael, but as part of the world of limud Torah.]

An open letter from the Rosh Yeshiva of the Hesder Yeshiva of Ma’aleh Adumim (Rav Yitzchak Sheilat)

To our brothers who tremble at the word of Hashem (Charedim), the guardians of the Torah, yeshiva and kollel students, may Hashem live upon you.

As someone who knows and greatly appreciates your devotion to the study of our holy Torah, even amidst pressure and avoidance of luxury, with pure fear of Hashem and with toil in Torah day and night, I have come to tell you a few things about the matter that is currently convulsing the Jewish people, at a time when the enemies of our people all around have raised their heads, saying “let us wipe them out as a nation” etc. I am sure that words spoken from a loving heart will reach the ears of truth seekers. Our holy Torah has truth written within it.

The Mishnah in Sotah (44b) is known to everyone who has studied and learnt, “but all go out to [participate in] an obligatory war (milchemet mitzvah), even a bridegroom from his room and a bride from her chuppah”, and this is ruled as a halacha in Rambam Hilchot Melachim 7:4. And the words “even a bridegroom from his room and a bride from her chuppah” also appear in Sotah 10a, and the Gilyon commentary there cites the Aruch: “and all the more so, talmidei chachamim”. On this basis, the Keren Orah on 44b writes: “In an obligatory war, all go out, and even the talmidei chachamim are required to leave their studies”. And in the Yerushalmi (8:10): “Leit revi ber’vi” (there is no exemption for a scholar, son of a scholar), which the Penei Moshe explains to mean: “Even a rabbi the son of a rabbi goes out.”

The definition of an obligatory war is explained in the Rambam (Hilchot Melachim 5:1): “What is an obligatory war, this is a war against the seven [Canaanite] nations, and the war against Amalek, and [a war to] save the Jewish people from an enemy that descended upon them”. And so too in the aforementioned Yerushalmi: “An obligatory war, such as where they descend upon us”. And in Eruvin 45a: “And in a town near the border, even if they did not come with murderous intent, but rather for hay and straw, they go out to fight them with their weapons and they desecrate Shabbat”. Rashi explains: “A town that separates between the border of the Jewish polity and that of the gentiles, they go out to fight [the gentiles], lest they capture it, and having done so, the rest of the land would be easy to conquer”.

Everyone knows what happened in the cities near the border, Sderot and Ofakim, on Shmini Atzeret of this year.

Fifty years ago, during the Yom Kippur War, I sent a question about the laws of a military camp to Maran HaGaon R. Yosef Shalom Elyashiv zt”l. In his answer to me (printed in Kovetz Teshuvot 1:243) he wrote: “And we are dealing with an obligatory war”. That’s how obvious it was for someone who was (rightly) described as “the posek of the generation”.

Some want to say that the concept of obligatory war is only applicable when [the Jewish people are ruled by] a king. They should please look at the end of the Ramban’s additions to the Sefer HaMitzvot and they will find that the Ramban writes explicitly that for an obligatory war there is no specific need for a king, but rather a judge or “whoever has the people under his authority, to send them out to wage war” is sufficient. That is, any government that has the power to force them to go to the army can send them to fight an obligatory war. And so is implied by the Rambam in Hilchot Terumot 1:2.

Some cite the words of the Rambam in the last halacha in Hilchot Shemita VeYovel as precedent. With all due respect, this is baseless. The Rambam is speaking in ethical terms (as he typically does at the conclusion of his halachot) regarding “each and every human being” and he says that Hakadosh Baruch Hu will provide sufficient sustenance for him in this world (and the Radvaz there writes “and not that he should cast himself on the community”, see there for his proof), and the Rambam doesn’t mention war at all in this halacha.

I would like to refer to two further “social” reasons heard from Torah students: it is true that this is an obligatory war, but the entire leadership of the country is not conducted according to Torah and mitzvot, and this makes us feel alienated. And furthermore, if we enlist in the army we may be influenced by the secular atmosphere and decline spiritually.

I am ashamed to hear such reasoning, but I would still like to ask: if there was a situation where it was impossible to procure etrogim in Jerusalem or Bnei Brak, and it was only possible to get hold of etrogim on the streets of Tel Aviv, where there is no modesty (tzniut) and perhaps non-kosher food is sold etc., would a Torah student give up the mitzvah of arba minim, simply to avoid going to Tel Aviv? I am sure that he would go, and would find a way to manage, and not give up the mitzvah. And is it permitted to give up on the mitzvah of “do not stand by your neighbour’s blood”? And is it permitted to transgress “who is to say that your blood is redder than his, perhaps your fellow man’s blood is redder”? Here we are speaking of your fellow man’s blood in its literal sense!

My brothers, yeshiva and Kollel students. I repeat that I truly appreciate your devotion to the Torah, but you should know that yeshiva students who combine military service with their studies study Torah with great diligence, and they also produce great Torah scholars who are well versed in Shas and Poskim. It may be that you have sharper and more knowledgeable scholars, we do not disparage that, God forbid; we have something to learn from you, but you also have something to learn from us, to bear the burden with one’s fellow man, to belong to Klal Yisrael, to be a Torah student and fear God and fulfill one’s duty to God and Israel even where the atmosphere is uncomfortable.

I oppose the law that would force yeshiva students to join the army. I expect you to understand that the current situation is impossible, unfair, and, most importantly, it is against the Torah. The change should be made out of good will, gradually, and with the application of logic. There are many ways, different avenues of military and national service, and the like. I am not a politician, and I leave this work to politicians. The time has come for the community who trembles at the word of Hashem (Charedim) to say: Here I am.

[Ed. note, again: Kudos to Joseph Faith of London for providing the translation of the original from the Hebrew. For readers who want more on this, a future episode of Two Rabbis, Three Opinions (with my co-host, Rabbi Simi Lerner) will explore the issue with Rabbi Hillel Goldberg, talmid chacham, scholar, and Editor of the Intermountain Jewish News. Watch for it on Spotify and all the usual podcast hangouts.]


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124 Responses

  1. Happy says:

    This is a good letter. We need more of Torah-based arguments, and less of the inflammatory hateful rhetoric, which add nothing to the conversation. Of course, this doesn’t mean that chareidim will agree with these arguments. Obviously, they will feel that their rabbis are much more authoritative than Rabbi Sheilat. But if ever a compromise can be found, it is important to have a real conversation.

  2. סמארטפון says:

    You’ve changed your angle from the general population being against the chareidim draft dodging to narrowing it to the chardalim. The Ashkenazi elites of tel Aviv are proud of not serving so you dropped that argument. The chardalim have more legitimacy to their claims, yet they too fall flat.
    Why don’t you go meet with Rav Dov Landau and Rav Moshe Hillel Hirsch? Rav Hirsch speaks a fine English. They aren’t afraid to engage and answer the tough questions. Instead of serving as a useful idiot for those who seek to conform chareidim society to their own ideals get the truth from the leaders of the Torah world. Honestly, what’s stopping you. Rav Sheilat may be a great scholar but he’s not a man d’omar in this discussion. Societal change will be led by chareidi leaders, not soapbox lecturers. If you’re passionate enough, you’re not too old to clean the latrines or work in intelligence, go sign up.

    • Great idea! But I beat you to it. I did have the private conversation. Weeks ago.

      • Leiby Wasser says:

        Can you divulge what was said in that private conversation?

      • Curious mind says:

        And? I’m sure they didn’t insist on speaking off the record. Who’d you visit and what did they say?

        No, Rav Osher Weiss doesn’t count because he’s not a manhig eida.

      • 1) Why would you assume that they would speak on the record? That has not been my experience 2) R Asher Weiss is most definitely the manhig of an explosively large eidah! It doesn’t have a name, but it is huge and multi-national. Doesn’t take much more than seeing the variety of Yidden who wait outside his door mornings after shacharis to demonstrate that

      • Dovid says:

        Resentment against others, whether responsible or not, is unfortunately frequent during times of suffering. More unfortunately is when the anger is directed towards those within their own fold who, in the view of those harboring the resentment, apparently didn’t respond satisfactorily to the suffering.

        The “poet” Bialik ym’sh scorned and acidically wrote about the Yidden in Russia when after pogroms they ran to the rav with shailohs if their wives were still mutar to them. That was his first course of resentment as opposed towards the Cossacks ym’sh who perpetrated the pogroms.

        There is “category” of opinion expressers who when confronting the suffering of Churban Europe direct their resentment towards many categories among their fellow Jews, but somehow the real perpetrators ym’sh appear to escape their wrath.

        Chalilah that there should be a pattern being followed here.

      • Not sure that Bialik deserves a ym’sh. There is evidence that he firmly turned his back on what he had earlier written, when he saw a next generation completely disengaged from Torah. Reportedly he began wearing tefillin again before his death. Maybe learning in Volozhin did him more good than people realize

      • william gewirtz says:

        Bialek certainly does not deserve y’ms. First, he was chozer be’teshuvah much more than 1 hour before his death. Second, (next to) no Jew deserves that after their name

      • Maybe. We need the history buffs to weigh on how the term was used in the past. Yemach shmo, as well as the less-commonly known epithet תנק”ב for תהא נפשו קבורה בגהנום

      • Shades of Gray says:

        Relating to the use of the term “yemach shemo” about a Jewish person, the story is told about Rabbi Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld:

        “He never failed to censure those who profaned Hashem’s Name. Yet, he would not hesitate to criticize those who referred to them in inappropriate terms. When someone added the imprecation yemach shemo, may his name be obliterated, to the mention of a certain Jew who was probably the religious community’s most virulent enemy, Rav Yosef Chaim protested, saying, “I am not in the habit of saying yemach shemo about any Jew.” He explained that he derived this from the laws of Yibum, levirate marriage. According to Jewish law, if such a Jew were to die childless, his widow would not be allowed to remarry unless she either underwent Yibum or Chalitzah, release from her Yibum requirement. Since the Torah’s stated rationale for Yibum is that the deceased “name not be obliterated from Yisrael,” regardless of his religious beliefs, how can we say yemach shemo about any Jew?”


        The Mishnah in Yoma(3:11) does apply the pasuk in Mishlei, “But the name of the wicked shall rot,” to Jewish craftsmen who did not share their knowledge to produce certain items for use in the Beis Hamikdash.

      • Dovid says:

        Perhaps ym’sh for Bialik was excessive, especially if he expressed charata about his content. Thank you for pointing that out, and firebrand terminology should be used carefully and judiciously. With no intention of “doubling down”, perhaps ym”sh is still unfortunately warranted for the Hamas apologists who are identified as members of our fold.

      • Dovid says:

        Supposedly, everyone likes seeing feedback about their comments. However, given the choice, I would have preferred feedback about the comment’s key point about misdirected anger as opposed to the more peripheral topic about proper use of yimach shmo.

    • william gewirtz says:

      2 points: 1) between 2002 and 2016 i consulted with several well-known high-tech Israeli firms. Ashkenazi elite that I met in various executive positions all, without exception, including many members of the TA elite, served in various branches of the IDF. 2) Read the many important changes in traditional Jewish communities described in multiple books/articles by the late Prof. Katz and you will be dissuaded from the myth that change occurs primarily top-down. In particular, read Ha-Goy be’Shabbat, covering amira le’akum.

      • Steven Brizel says:

        Perhaps in the wake of 10/7 the Israeli equivalent of the best and the brightest will also think rethink about their approach to national security especially the over reliance on technology a smaller IDF and a static defense as nearly critical mistakes in strategiy and tactics that were shown as such by the grunts on the ground History tell us that learning from mistakes is critical in how wars are fought and won

      • Moshe Shoshan says:

        Katz’s socialological arguments on these matters are often quite problematic. in either event, major changes in every society and movement require leadership. Where is the leadership for this charedi revolution?

      • william gewirtz says:

        eventually, leadership is required; however, the impetus and original efforts are bottom-up.

    • David says:

      Somehow, no one who differs with the standard chareidi opinions is ever a man d’omar. I agree that nothing will come of this letter, but it’s noteworthy in and of itself, in that it offers a respectful, grounded opinion, free of hyperbole and hate. It’s an example of the way a non-chareidi person should look at the issue. As for the chareidi population, I’m afraid that nothing can make them change their minds on this issue, as on so many other issues.

    • Moshe Shoshan says:

      First. R. Sheilat is not chardal and does not identify as such. He is Rosh Yeshiva of Maaleh adumim, which is quite mainstream DL and if anything is left of center on many matters. But yes the more people are comitted to talmud torah in the non-charedi world, the angrier they are. My son has lost *at least* five months in the beis medrash that he will never get back, because charedim refuse to send send anyone to the army.

      Second, We have heard what R. Landua and R Hirsch have to say. They have nothing but distain for the army, the current war effor. If they have more to say off the record, it doesnt really matter. they are essentailly “דברים שבלב”
      The problem is that no talmid chacham in the charedi world, is willing to take on publically the serious halackic and haskafic critiques made by towering talmidei chachamim in the DL camp, including not only Rav Sheilat bur R. Rabiniovtich zt”l , R. Aharon Lichtenstein zt”l Reb Avrom S. zt”l and R. Yisrael zt”l and neither will they acknowledge the well attested statements of R. SZ Aurebach zt”l and even more forcefully, Rav Gustman zt”l who unequivcally stated that there is a chiyuv to go to the army, even yeshiva guys.

      The only way the charedi world can deal with DL critique is to pretend that we dont exist or point to our higher (though not nearly as high as charedim would have you beleive) drop out rates. But this is besides the point. We are not asking charedim to become DL, we are just asking them to serve in the army and work, as did a very large pecentage of chareidim prior to 1977 when there we only a few hundred yeshiva draft exemptions available. At that time most chareidim also went to chinuch aztamai schools which gave basic secular education.

      The failure of charedim on any level to seriously engage these arguments or in any way examine their fundamental assumptions leaves us in the DL world thinking that in fact the contemporary charedi world’s worldview and policies are not rooted in a coherent reading of classical Torah sources, but merely on blind faith in “Daas torah” which itself, as it is understood in the charedi world, also cannot be supported by classical torah sources. (I am embaressed when charedim use cite the pasuk אל פי התורה אשר יורך, in this context, as any בר בי רב לחד יומא should know that chazal and the rishonim did not understand the pasuk to endorse anything close to the current doctrine of daas torah.)

      WE in the DL/MO world were raised to beleive that we are part of a broader community of שלמי אמוני ישראל and that if anything it was we who needed to justfy our “novle” in the face of charedi critiques. At this point we are not even sure that the charedi world is truely committed to the core ethic values of the Torah or to traditional halakhic discourse, in cases where they conflict with with their life style and politics.

      • Dr. E says:


        You write a sharp but spot-on piece. To pick up on a couple of your points:

        Your son has lost 5 months of learning in the Beit Midrash. Within the Chareidi community, the premise is that the value of Torah study of any Chareidi is automatically superior to that of any Dati Leumi soldier or baalabus who is koveih ittim. Taking that to its extreme conclusion, a Chareidi bachur who is only capable of learning maybe 20 minutes a day (or week) is automatically entitled to a lifelong exemption. Yet, a Hesder talmid who wants to learn 3 full Sedarim a day (or a Mechina Talmid who is getting his critical foundation in Machshava and Tanach) still has to leave the Beit Midrash and put his life on the line to defend the country–while the aforementioned Chareidi bachur is seen protesting in the street against the Draft, eating cholent and getting ready for Purim, Pesach and a 6-week Bein Hazemanim*. Isn’t that making an implicit cheshbon, taking some significant liberties in prioritizing the Torah of one Jew over the other?

        *Trigger alert: The optics of that coming up will likely be disturbing. After all, Chayalim might get an occasional 24 hour reprieve to go home, just to sleep in a bed, do their laundry, and take a shower. Yet, we will hear of Chareidi bochurim who need a well-deserved break and that justifies their running around on vacay, because the Winter Zman was one month longer this year. The ubiquitous “equality of Mesiras Nefesh” argument will be so obviously absurd.)

        The other point is that the Chareidi world cobbles together a bunch of intellectually weak arguments to reverse-engineer and rationalize the resistance to having bochurim serve in the IDF or any national service. They rely on legacy meiselach from the Chazon Ish, Brisker Rov and others together with out-of-context passages from the Rambam and elsewhere. I heard a recent podcast where a Chareidi Rov was interviewed. He was challenged on the continued applicability of the Chazon Ish’s comment from many years ago. Incredulously, he said that the only thing that can change that “psak” is a Gadol today of the Chazon Ish’s caliber. When he could not come up with any modern-day candidates, he just said that it’s unfortunate and shrugged his shoulders. He was implicitly accepting the reality of DL soldiers continuing to make the ultimate sacrifice, now and in the future. Sort of incredible chutzpah. But, that comes from the binary posture of unzerer and yenim.

        Rav Landau and Hirsch came out with a counterproposal for a quota of bochurim going to the IDF. But, there was a carve-out exemption if any bochur expresses an interest learning full-time. Big surprise. In America, we have a rich history and precedent of draft dodgers during the Vietnam War filling the rosters of Yeshivos, who had no business being there. So practically speaking, it will be the same-old same-old.

      • Happy says:

        Reb Moshe, you complain “that no talmid chacham in the charedi world, is willing to take on publically the serious halackic and haskafic critiques made by towering talmidei chachamim in the DL camp”. You don’t say which arguments you are referring to specifically, but the chareidim are constantly pointing publicly to the flaws of Modern Orthodoxy, and both secular and religious Zionism, such that I have no idea what you are talking about. If your point is that the chareidim don’t treat your talmidei chachamim as serious opponents, but make somewhat light of them, that is unfortunately true, although sometimes justified. But in the end of the day, it is clear that a good deal of the DL world has a radically different value system and conception of the Torah than the chareidi world, such that they are essentially two different religions (I wrote about this here ) and so it is entirely natural that people of a different religion than you wouldn’t take your religious authorities and “critiques” seriously.
        One more point. You say
        “We are not asking charedim to become DL, we are just asking them to serve in the army and work, as did a very large pecentage of chareidim prior to 1977 when there we only a few hundred yeshiva draft exemptions available. ”
        But throughout your entire comment, you treat chareidim as an enemy, as a different religion to yours (which I agree they probably are, as I said), and then you think you are qualified to determine what they should or should not see as a threat to their religion. No. It doesn’t work this way. As a chareidi, I can tell you that the threat to the chareidi religion from army service is very, very real and tangible, whereas you, an outsider, dismisses it with a drop of the hat. I shouldn’t have to say this, but dismissing people’s valid concerns is never the way to make progress. However, I suspect that a good deal of people have no interest in making progress, but are looking for an outlet to vent their frustration and hatred.

      • Moshe says:

        You ask “which arguments against the chareidi worldview” I am reffering to. Well first and formeost, R. Sheilat’s which was published here. But as I noted in an earlier comment here, many major DL talmidei chachamim have made similar arguments over the years and are regularly making them now. R. Tamir Granot has made several recent statements, covered on Slifkins blog. Of course, Charedim love to criticize DL and other Zionists. Some of these critiques are actually legitimate and are widely discussed in the DL world. Many DL rabbis agree with many of the critiques and seek to deal with the issues they raise. But I have yet to see any serious charedi spokesperson respond in a credible way to substantive halakhic and hashkafic challenges raised to their positions. In indeed, charedism is rooted in the mesorah, they should be willing and able to explain themselves. Certainly, when it is pointed out that some of the classical sources that Charedim love to quote like the Rambam on how non-Levim can become like Leviim and the concept of la tasur are being blatantly distorted and misinterpreted. In general, it has been my experience and that of many other DL who seek to engage chareidim on these matters that Charedim are unwilling or incapable of discussing the core assumptions of their worldview and whether or not they can be supported by classical torah sources, historical precedent from earlier Torah centered communities or just plain common sense. On the other hand, they cannot seriously discuss the pragmatic, political, social and economic implications of their life style in a coherent manner either. Botton line, if you cannot explain yourselves to people who do not already accept your basic assumptions, why should anyone listen to you? Especially since from any rational perspective your community is parasitic, not contributing to the material welfare of the wider society while using its pollical power and the threat of social upheaval (even in times of war) to drain the society of critical material resources, to the extent that it endangers the very survival of that society. Since your arguments in the name of God are prima facie selfserving, why should any one even believe that they being offered with sincerity. Bottom line, your position is indefensible, halakhicaly, morally, socially and economically.
        And this is the real problem, Charedim cannot acknowledge or seriously engage any substantive criticisms, because they threaten to undermine you entire worldview. It is similar to how most Orthodox Jews respond when encounter Bible Criticism. But Torah Mi-Sinai, is the core of Judaism, recently evolved charedi norms and lifestyles are not.

      • Happy says:

        Reb Moshe, originally when you wrote that “But I have yet to see any serious charedi spokesperson respond in a credible way to substantive halakhic and hashkafic challenges raised to their positions”, I was extremely puzzled, since there is an incredible amount of such material, as I’m sure you are aware. But reading through your comments and the previous comments, I think I understand what is going on. You are simply not interested in listening, but going on long tirades about the selfish chareidi parasites. So of course you have not seen credible responses, as you automatically shut your ears and have absolutely no interest in responses or discussion at all. I can also say I have not seen credible responses to the serious and substantial chareidi criticism towards Modern Orthodoxy and both secular and religious Zionism, but what would that statement contribute to the conversation? It’s the type of thing that you say when making it clear you have zero interest in discussion in the first place.

      • Moshe Shoshan says:

        It is very easy for you to say, I am not going to engage with you because you have already made up your mind. You don’t know me and are drawing conclusions about me personally on the basis of a few blog posts. I have formed opinions on these matters of the course of my life, based on my experiences reading and study of Torah. I dont hide behind a pseudonym, you can check me out. I am always ready to reexamine arguments and evidence.

        Could you please refer me to anything written by a charedi leader which engages arguments of the sort that R. Sheilat raises. I am looking for a defense of the charedi worldview and ethos, of any part of it from the ground up, starting with coherent readings of classic Torah source that we all agree are authoritative? That, for instance defends the claim that anyone who is learning in a yeshiva is automatically patur from milchemes mitzva. I am aware of no such works. I would be truly interested in reading such a defense.
        Regarding challenges to MO/DL, they too should be responded to seriously and I think they have been, and if you contacted serious rabbonim from that commnity they would give you serious answers. But they are not relevant at the current time. No on is asking you to become DL. And no one is demanding that you continue to support us financialy and even in the current national security crisis refusing to agree to any cuts with out any. No one is demanding that you send your children to fight and in some cases die so that we can live safely in Eretz Yisrael. And no one is threatening major social upheavals once again in the midst of a war, should their demands not be met. We dont owe you any justifications for our postion beyond or argument that as a community you should serve in the army and particpate in the economy. we owe you no answers. But as long as you are benefiting from the suffering sacrifice and death of others, you own them explainations.

      • Happy says:

        Reb Moshe, thanks for engaging.
        You say, ” am looking for a defense of the charedi worldview and ethos, of any part of it from the ground up, starting with coherent readings of classic Torah source that we all agree are authoritative?”
        First of all, what do you mean by the chareidi worldview and ethos? Do you mean the general outlook of emphasizing Torah and Mitzvos over everything else? Chareidim would point to the Chumash, the Gemara, and all classical sources until this day. Do you mean the opposition to secularism? Chareidim would point to those same sources. Is there any question in your mind that the entirety of the Torah is opposed to Secular Zionism, or Reform Judaism? But presumably, you mean something more specific. I can guess you are referring to two things: 1. Mass kollel and 2. Opposition to army service.
        Regarding #1, it’s clear from many sources that Chazal saw mass kollel as the ideal, even if it couldn’t be practiced because of economic conditions. I refer you to this article of mine which has a few of the many, many sources. In both Israel and Chu”l, chareidim tend to stay in yeshiva for extended periods, both because it is the ideal, and because it is necessary in this generation to counter the influence of secularism, but in Israel it tends to be longer because of the army issue. Which takes us to #2, the army issue-
        You ask “for instance defends the claim that anyone who is learning in a yeshiva is automatically patur from milchemes mitzva.” If you are asking in a strict halachic sense, see Rav Chaim Kanievsky in Derech Emunah at the end of Shemittah v’Yovel who writes that ת”ח are exempt from war just like שבט לוי (who were exempt even from כיבוש הארץ which is the prime example of a מלחמת מצוה), and brings several sources for this. In the strict halachic definition of מלחמת מצוה, it is not even clear that there is such a thing as מלחמת מצוה without a king (see the לשון of the Rambam in מלחים ומלחמות פרק ה and the end of the hakdama to ספר המצוות), and ק”ו in a secular government.
        If you mean in the moral sense of sharing the burden, then you shouldn’t be using the halachic term מלחמת מצוה. But in terms of sharing the burden, chareidim are doing more than their share by following the Torah and Mitzvos, as opposed to about 70% of the Jews in the country who are secular or “masorti”, and whose sins put all of Israel in danger (this is clear from countless Torah sources).
        If your point is that they should share the burden even more by doing army service like the datiim, chareidim correctly feel that mass conscription of their boys to the army would be a destruction of their chinuch system (which I’m sure secularists would be all too happy about, and is probably the main reason for their demand), and therefore decide that this aspect of sharing the burden is not worth it.
        Finally, you say ” We dont owe you any justifications for our postion beyond or argument that as a community you should serve in the army and particpate in the economy. we owe you no answers.” No, you claim to be representing Judaism, and not only that, you are demanding that we change our chinuch system so we can participate in the army, and so you absolutely do owe us plenty of answers. I have seen many books trying to justify the Modern Orthodox worldview and ethos, but all of them weak apologetics.

  3. mycroft says:

    People are slowly becoming aware of the growth of harsh resentment of charedim in the Dat-Leumi community, which has sustained an outsize proportion of the war-related suffering.

    The resentment between the two communities has been around for decades-the current war has merely exacerbated the feelings that have existed certainly for well over half a century.

    • Moshe Shoshan says:

      I dont know where you live, but the level of anger and disgust in the Israeli DL community againt charedim has exploded exponentially since the war began. The fact that figure such a R. Sheilat, who by temprmant wasnever interested in polemics haredim felt the need to write such a public letter shows how extreme the situation has become. Similarly R. Haim Navon, who useually devotes his collomns to attacking the evils of”post modernism” and “progessive ” and advocating for “conservative” values, wrote a devasting piece last week, addressing this issue. re chareidim who serve in Zaka he wrote “it all very nicem when did we agree to a deal where we get killed and you get toidentify our bodies.”

      • mycroft says:

        I wrote “” merely exacerbated the feelings that have existed certainly for well over half a century.”

        The resentment is not new -it has been exacerbated by the war.

  4. mb says:

    Oh give me a break! They won’t give you ear, they’re certainly not going to listen to Zionist treif

  5. joel says:

    Certainly a worthy effort. I’m guessing a change management consultant would put together an ongoing program to effect the desired change. One part of it would be to recognize the organizational structure and get the leadership (Gedolim) on board and communicating the policy change. The other would be to recognize that this is not a purely intellectual exercise for many, and identify the levers of a non-intellectual type, which would get people to give up their own self-interest for that of the community.
    bsorot tovot

  6. M Halberstam says:

    I have always believed that the attempt to silence dissent by making it treif to express dissenting opinions is simply illogical and dangerous.We live in a world of real people. Moreover, the notion that people are more impartial the more observant they are is similarly illogical.

  7. Y.H. says:

    I would like to comment on one point in this letter which I feel was a bit dismissive of a serious concern that is felt in the Chareidi community. Rabbi Shilat compares the issue of secular influence to that of purchasing an esrog in Tel Aviv. A more accurate comparison would be living in an apartment with numerous secular Jews for many months in order to purchase an Esrog. I doubt that many would do that. (This is not a minor point.)
    I would raise one more issue as well. Though Rabbi Adlerstein can certainly correct me, as he has spoken to Chareidi leadership, it appears to me that maintaining a separate Chareidi “culture” is a major obstacle in this issue. This goes beyond specific individual concerns of negative influences. Failure to address this, and the apparentdisregard for this acute concern, will not lead to progress.

    • Sure. And the answer may be in reverse engineering DL chinuch, i.e. how do they do such a good job teaching enthusiastic mesiras nefesh for the Jewish nation? How could we incorporate elements of it in some of our new “progressive” schools so that kids grow up with a sense of living on the inside of the nation, rather than separate and apart?

      • Gavriel M says:

        “And the answer may be in reverse engineering DL chinuch”

        Go to any (yes, I do mean *any*) DL wedding and look at the siblings of the bride and groom. You will see OTDs. Because OTDs are so numerous, they are completely accepted, so long as they do not become ‘leftists’ or marry a goya. ‘Reverse engineering DL chinuch is literally the exact thing orthodox Jews want to avoid.

      • The point of reverse engineering would not be to clone the results in the charedi community. It would be to see how they educate their success stories in their incredible mesiras nefesh, and love for the Jewish nation

  8. Zev says:

    It is a bit peculiar that Harav Sheilat Shlita would quote R’ Elyashiv’s view that an attack like the Yom Kippur War is an “obligatory war” which demands that Chareidim join the army, when at the same time I am not aware that R’ Elyashiv ever sent a missive that Chareidim do so during the YK war, or following the YK war. I can’t tell you why, that is what is being debated here, but Harav Sheilat’s very proof disproves his argument, at least in R’ Elyashiv’s view.
    Rabbi Adlerstein, might I suggest that since this issue obviously troubles you (and many others) profoundly, you should personally go to speak to the leaders who advocate the present Chareidi position. There are thinkers, profound ones, in the Chareidi world who probably could exposit and do justice to the position. R Yonason David comes to mind, he is an American, a Chaim Berliner, R’ Hutner’s son-in-law, and is a rebbi to many students of Machshava. I don’t know what his personal position is, maybe he will share it with you. Ask the talmidim of R’ Moshe Shapiro what he told them over the years, maybe he shared with them some strong views and their basis. R’ Aharon Lopiansky is a contemporary of yours, perhaps he is your friend, his stimulating, illuminating shiurim and writings are accessed by people from across the religious spectrum, I cannot believe he would not have something intelligent to share. These are just some of the people who come to mind, I am sure I don’t have to inform you, you know these people.
    The point being, if you are raising these crucial issues in a public forum, if these issues give you little rest emotionally and intellectually, I believe it behooves you to not only present them, but also to ask the people who can explain them to you. They do exist.

    • 1) There are a lot of “Maybe they have something to say” statements there. Something more substantive would help. 2) Yes, R Aron Lopiansky is a friend. Yes, he does have what to say 3) Why would you think that I haven’t spoken to people and/or that they don’t have the same concerns?

    • MK says:

      I have never spoken to Rav Yonason David about IDF service but I can absolutely assure you that he does not believe that every Chareidi man should be sitting and learning his entire life. Same for Rav Hutner ZTL.

      There was a brilliant young man who was learning at Shalavim. A mentor of his was pushing him to switch to the Mir. He brought the young man to Rav Elyashiv and explained that he is an illuy with amazing potential in learning.
      Rav Elyashiv asked the bachur if he is learning well at Shalavim? The boy answered in the affirmative.
      RE’s response (heard first hand)?
      “So why should you switch?”
      Today that fellow knows Kol Hatorah Kulah!

    • Moshe Shoshan says:

      Yet these individuals and the rest of the chareidi leadership are silent. You say “there must be answers… They do exist.” This is statement of faith. If here are answers they are from some reason being kept secret. Perhaps the emperor has no clothes.

    • Caren May says:

      A majority of people are emotionally, mentally & intellectually puzzled by the מלחמת מצוה that is being battled presently, & largely ignored by a large sector of the Charedei world.
      Statements like, “It’s an Israeli war, if there was no state, we’d be living in peace!”…ludicrous to lack facts, history and background info.
      “Our kehilla of Charedim are not needed in the IDF, there’s a surplus of soldiers”…. Some more fake news to bolster an old narrative.
      And the best…..”Everyone religious who joins the IDF loses their frumkeit”….. they end up losing it on Rechov Yaffa instead..

      • Dovid says:

        Caren May — could you please identify the source of those quotes?

      • Caren May says:

        Some of these quotes were used by Rabbi Breitowitz when on the podcast with Rabbi Scott Kahn. (Reasons that Charedim are not willing or interested in joining the IDF)

  9. william l gewirtz says:

    Frankly, the innovation creating a non-normative position on (IDF) service among Hareidim, should help explain the conservative poskim, who similarly produced non-halakhic positions in the previous century.

    IMHO, Hareidim volunteering to serve in other roles should be an immediate first step in a (partial) return to the overall tzibbur.

    Sadly, as Prof. Katz AH demonstrated, the way forward will not come top-down; as a result, the process of change will be slow and painful. The CR’s recent missive is a sad example of what we will have to endure.

  10. lacosta says:

    haredi daas tora is not going to change . the opinion of the rest of israeli society [from hiloni thru DL ] won’t either. all the latter , represent 80% of knesset , more than enough to pass whatever anti-haredi sanctions they want.
    Maybe the hareili community need to decide what kind of sanctions they can live with as a consequence . one can imagine variations on the themes of ending welfare , ending government funding for haredi mosdos , giving up voting rights [ like a ger toshav , limited rights limited responsibilities ] , jail in lieu of induction. [hiloni society probably doesn’t want the prison system converted to the world’s largest yeshiva ].

    Probably the Aguda in US should start thinking in terms of how many hundreds of millions they would need to raise to replace Rabbi Medinah’s 10’s of millions…..

    • Avi says:

      not ‘maybe’. The anger and resentment towards the chareidi sector is immense. I have no doubt that, after the war, sanctions like you outline will be applied. i agree that imprisonment will not work but financial pressure will be brought to bear.

      • william gewirtz says:

        Successive governments have created the problem feeding the Hareidi appetite in return for poiitical support; that will no longer be tolerated by a strong majority of the population

      • Dovid says:

        “that will no longer be tolerated by a strong majority of the population”

        That statement, and its varying paraphrases, has been said, and repeated, and repeated again, ad infinitum, for decades.

      • william l gewirtz says:

        OCTOBER 7th was sui generis; this will not be forgotten

  11. Steven Brizel says:

    This is an excellent letter and is very similar in its positive approach to that of R Rimon whose excellent sefarim are replete with exhortations of Ahavas Yisrael and who relates that he also sought guidance from RYSA
    ZL and other Charedi Poskim and R Pfeffer as well on this issue

  12. יהודה ישראל says:

    קודם כל, עובדות. הרי לא מתקרבים בכלל לכיבוש והתישבות של עזה ולא לגירוש האויבים מא”י, והס מלהזכיר אפי’ הרעת תנאים לרוצחים האסורים ושחרור היהודים החטופים בידי מערכת המשפח. רוצחים ידועים חיים בשלוה במדינות שונות! במקום לעצור אבנים ממגנים, במקום לעצור טילים שמים כיפת ברזל, במקום להשיב הרתעה מציבים מחסומים במדרכות, וכו’. השלטון ממשיך לשים בטחונם בקנה רצוץ של אמריקה, ממשיך עם גירושי היהודים, עצירת הבניה, מניעת הגנה עצמית כמעט כמו מקודם, וכו’.

    במקום שהראשים יקיימו בעצמם ד’ מיתות בית דין בדרך כפרה, הם עוד ממשיכים כבראשונה. מה הפלא שלא מסתייעא מלתא?

    לכן נראה שאין שום חיוב השתדלות להשתתף בסבבי לחימה של “כאילו” ותחת אותה הנהגה של דוגלי הכלה, ניהול הסכסוך, משנת הטפטופים, תבוסתנות וכו’ שגרמה ואפשרה את הטבח, הנהגה שלא למדה שום לקח ולא חזרה בתשובה, אלא אדרבא.

    מי שוטה ישמע להם בקרוב להפסד ורחוק לשכר? וכי העיקר להילחם כאשר תעשניה הדבורים? ז”ל רש”י גיטין נ”ו א’: בריוני, “אנשים ריקים ופוחזים למלחמה”.

    במקום להלין על מי שלא נופל לצבא שלהם, יש לעזור למי שנלכד בידי הרשעים לקבל פטור!

    ואפשר לומר שכל הפיזור והגירושים משום קירבה וחנופה לאמריקה או אהבת הקרב והניצוח, וכמ”ש בגמרא פסחים סוף קי”ח ב’, פזר עמים קרבות יחפצון, מי גרם להם לישראל שיתפזרו לבין אומות העולם קריבות (וי”ג קרבות) שהיו חפצין בהן. “קרבות” אפ’ לפרש לשון קירבה לגוים ואפ’ לפרש לשון קרבות ללא תכלית, וכפי’ מהרש”א.

    סכלות זו היא ממלכתיות, ויש להמליץ מלשון מעביר בנו למולך. עיין סנהדרין ס”ד א’, “מפני מה תפסה תורה לשון מולך כל שהמליכוהו עליהם אפילו צרור ואפילו קיסם”. ממלכתיות לא בתורת ע”ז (כלשון הרמב”ם, ואין ראוי לישראל שהם חכמים מחוכמים להמשך בהבלים אלו) אלא כמו מלכות וכשוף, “שחושב בעצמו שהוא מועיל לו אם ימליכו עליו ויעביר את בנו לפניו”, כלשון חי’ הר”ן.

    ושוב אבהיר, בודאי חובה וזכות להגן על עם ישראל (מדינת “ישראל” כוללת גם ערבים “ישראלים”…), אבל בהנחה שא”א, בינתיים, לשנות את ההנהגה, אין לקיים את המצוה באותה מסגרת שהפכה לרועץ.

    וז”ל תוספתא סוטה ספ”ז:

    כל השומע דברי כהן במערכות ואינו חוזר לסוף שהוא נופל בחרב ומפיל את ישראל בחרב ומגלה אותם מארצם ובאין אחרים ויושבין בארצם כו.

    הצל לקוחים למות וגו’! השותפים בהתאבדות עתידים ליתן את הדין.

  13. Steven Brizel says:

    R Sheilat wote a great letter. R Rimon has been working on an organization that will create unity among Chayalim from all sectors after their army service is over so that Israel does not revert to the angry and destructive rhetoric that marked Israeli politics prior to 10/7.

    • David says:

      R Adlerstein, why the need to reverse engineer DL chinuch?? They do such a good job at inspiring their kids not just to mesirus nefesh for Am Yisrael, but also beautifully rounded middos, serious and mature thinkers, wonderful lomdei torah – why not simply join their ranks? Why the obsessive need to stay “charedi” in the first place? And if you’ll tell me something about being medakdek kula k’chamura etc, if I have a close relative in Yeshivat Har Hamor – that yeshiva is full the “neo-charedim” that you are seeking!! They are super-frum, no smartphones, with totally “charedi values” just believe in going to the army as part of their spritiual growth (in fact, apart from their dress, I am at a loss to see the difference between them and the black hatters altogether).
      TBH I’m incredibly frustrated by all of this, why on earth create something new – when it already exists exactly the way you want it! Why do you feel the need to “keep wearing the charedi hat”? Why not join them and cultivate the growth of their model community?
      So, dont “reverse engineer” the DL community (which sounds a little patronizing and “uppity”) – copy them entirely, lock stock and barrel. Why deviate at all from the system they have already (successfully) created??
      Im asking a question directly to you, why not say enough with this, my ideal community actually lies elsewhere…?

      • This is a GREAT question, and it deserves a considered answer. I’ll be happy to provide it – but not in the middle of a war. I can’t see it being helpful to the effort to hold on to (and even nurture) the positive vibes that are present in so much of the country. Hold me to it after the war ends, BEH; I’ll be happy to comply in a venue that can be calm and respectful. For the moment, suffice it to say that there are some nuances regarding chinuch of kids, and of how to prioritize the goals that we do hold in common.

      • David says:

        R Adlerstein – you write in response to my post that “I can’t see it being helpful to the effort to hold on to (and even nurture) the positive vibes that are present in so much of the country.” But R Adlerstein, you are perfectly ok with a (self-)critique of charedi society, in the midst of war. Do you not think that showing the imperfections of DL chinuch, will help us understand (not exonerate) the charedi POV? Wont “seeing both sides” bring us together? Meaning, the purpose is not to be disdainful of DL but just to point out its weaknesses so that we can begin to understand what is going on in the charedi head?
        Without this critique, charedim are made to look like perfect imbeciles. As a charedi, it behooves you to defend them (at least a little). I’d like to see an article in Cross Currents answering the questions presented in R Sheilat’s letter. It is irrelevant whether you agree to their defense or not, I know there is a defense out there – who will step up to be the defendant??

      • I have to take issue with two points. One, a self-critique of the charedi world can help charedim who are so disposed to try to reach out, or at least better understand, their brothers in the DL world. That is good in the middle of a war. Pointing to what charedim regard as weaknesses is not good in the middle of a war. You have to anticipate that when people are criticized, 80% become defensive and ignore the real issue. That just exacerbates tension.

        Two. I object to the word “critique,” – without criticizing you for using it. 🙂 We must learn to see positions that we disagree with passionately as just that: alternative positions. They needn’t be “critizized.” They can be accepted as representing a different POV

  14. Avoda zara says:

    Chardalim are offended by chareidim not serving more than by the liberal tel Aviv elites widely flaunting their lack of service with a chip on their shoulders. They view military service as a religious obligation and the community that is more religious than them views that position as untenable. Hence the pain.

    • “more religious than them” Hmmm. There’s a loaded phrase, if I ever saw one.

      Now, let’s see which halachos are done with greater hiddur by charedim vs. the bnei Torah of the DL. Nosei b’ol chaveiro? Achrayus for Am Yisrael? Kivush ha-Aretz (a d’orayso according to Ramban)? Taking care of almanos and yesomim? Bikur cholim (of which there are all too many in hospitals today, recovering from their injuries in battle)? Levoyas ha-meis?

      Dunno. Seems to me that you are using a different scorecard

      • Steven Brizel says:

        Scorecards IMO and WADR are not the proper measure-yes-Charedim have enlisted in greater numbers and have participated in providing tremendous Chizuk and Chesed during this war, but one can maintain that those Charedim both in the US and Israel who think that life can go on as normal without even realizing that there is a war raging or without any Hakaras Hatov for the State or the IDF are simply not in the same emotional foxhole as the members of a unit on the front who are responsible for the defense of Klal Yisrael and each other in the most basic sense of that term. Being Noseh BOl Cjhavero is wonderful-but one can argue that it is clearly not on the same madregah as being Moser Nefesh iBchol Meodeacha as members of a combat unit are on a daily basis and who are trained in the most basic sense of the term to be Moser Nefesh for the members of their unit, truck, helicopter, tank and are under surveillance by Drone or humanint. Somehoe, in too many communities in the US, one sees Tehilim being recited everywhere, but why not Avinu Malkeinu, which is recited in the RIETS Beis Medrash or other shuls, which the CS recorded as being very appropriate during times of warfare? Having a Yarchei Kallah in Yerushalyim with participation in any Chesed and Chizuk IMO was particularly poor optics -The Rambam points out at the beginning of Hilcos Taaniyos and in Hilcos Teshuvah 3: 11 never to view current events as not reflecting Hashgacha Pratis and of the terrible impropriety of not being part of the greater Tzibur while you are doing Mitzvos.

      • I believe that I made the very same point in a previous post!

      • Steven Brizel says:

        R Tosef’s remarks however and for who ever they were intended gave reinforcement to those elements in the Charedi world that lack Hakaras hatov for the state and the IDF and were ammunition for the political ambitions of the secular left but more tragically undermine the Chizuk and Chesed efforts from many within the Charedi world .if you were in the IDF in Gaza would such comments make you think that R Yosef was as at least in the same emotional foxhole as the secular Israeli in the same squad tank or engineering unit ?

    • Steven Brizel says:

      Tradition Magazine just published a letter from a Hesder Yeshiva RY whose son was niftar Al Kiddush HaShem both in response to the unfortunate remarks of R Yosef and as a challenge to the secular Israeli establishment to set up frameworks whereby Charedim can serve in the IDF as opposed to using the issue of non service as the Israeli version of what Americans call the “race card”

    • Moshe Shoshan says:

      actually Tel Aviv has one of the highest rates of service in general and combat in particular. Except Givvat Shmuel, all of the top cities are secular. The charedi cities are dead last.

  15. Steven Brizel says:

    I think that we are seeing increased Charedi enlistment as an individual realization that we are all on the same boat which is part of a major rethinking of pre 10/7 of previously held non negotiable views throughout the Jewish community This welcome and long overdue reassessment in the same manner as that which was part of the reaction to the near debacle in 1973 should also be take place within the elites of Israeli society as well which sold out Israeli ingenuity for American arms and which produced a generation of officers more worried about burnishing their resumes for a political career than in fighting and winning a war as documented in two of many articles in Tablet While the issue of draft service can and will be resolved it should not be used as a political weapon to avoid discussing the tactical and strategic mindset that led to a near disaster on 29/7

  16. Steven Brizel says:

    For those who think that things should remain the same in the IDF brass as a result of 10/7, see herehttps://www.tabletmag.com/sections/israel-middle-east/articles/general-who-believes-in-winning-wars and here https://www.tabletmag.com/feature/yoav-gallant-profile-armin-rosen You dont win wars by playing by rules set by losers and by preserving the will of the population that supports the will of the enemy to fight-that s why winners blockade , engage in unrestricted submarine warfare and bomb all targets -to wear down the ability of the enemy to fight. You don’t make deals with or feed your enemy or rebuild an enemy country during warfare.

  17. Shades of Gray says:

    “we have something to learn from you, but you also have something to learn from us”

    There were two recent examples in Mishpacha which can serve as a model for this type of thinking. In “The Enduring Gifts of Our Fallen, Hy”d,” Jonathan Rosenblum wrote about Hesder yeshivos:

    “I keep coming back to the nearly unfathomable emunah of the fallen and their families….That is typical of the way emunah and bitachon are constant subjects in the Hesder yeshivot. On an overnight stay in Mitzpeh Rimon last winter, I davened Shacharis in the local Hesder yeshivah. One thing that struck me was that the private bookshelves on each desk were uniformly filled with sifrei hashkafah, both contemporary and the classics.” 


    In  another Mishpacha article, “Behold  a People,” Gedalia Guttentag wrote about the national-religious world:

    “Yedidiah Eliyahu’s story is just a drop in the ocean of the spiritual strength that has poured from the dati-leumi public over the last five months…They’re a generation of soldiers who stole time in Gaza to keep up with daf yomi and daven Shacharis, and fought as they lived — to bring honor to Hashem’s name…This is the great hour of the national-religious world, but, on the defensive yet again about the draft law which threatens the yeshivos, the chareidi world in Israel and beyond has been slow to recognize the unfolding story. We should call it what it is: authentic Jewish heroism, both physical and spiritual. Acknowledging that does nothing to alter the fact that the Torah learned in yeshivos and kollelim is the guarantor of Jewish national survival.

    …But even as the Torah world steers its own independent path, we can recognize the gadlus hanefesh on display in the next beis medrash.”


    • ChanaRachel says:

      Sorry, but for those of us “living” the war (at its peak, we had 4 sons/sons in law [fathers of 15 kids in total] called up for reserve duty in active combat roles. Most have dates to be called back), the above comments -especially the last 2 sentences- are extremely condescending

      • Shades of Gray says:

        “the above comments -especially the last 2 sentences- are extremely condescending”

        The Mishpacha articles were written as sincere praise of the Dati-Leumi world, but I can understand why you might not see it like that. To give some additional context, though, Gedalia Guttentag was responding in some of what you mention to Defense Minister Gallant’s statement regarding ending draft exemptions.

        R. Harry Maryles’ take on the Mishpacha article in question may be of interest. In his post titled “Looking a Gift Horse in the Mouth,” he responds to criticism of Gedalia Guttentag’s article by another blogger(who has a daughter that is an IDF commander). Although R. Maryles has some of his own criticism of Guttentag’s article(I also commented on his post about a hashkafic disagreement of my own with the article), overall, he sees it as praiseworthy:

        ” It’s not that I disagree with [the other blogger’s] criticism. But to water down an amazing expression of Hakoras HaTov to the Dati world and recognizing the level sacrifice and Kiddush HaShem they are making – is not only wrong but counterproductive. To the best of my knowledge Guttenatag’s comments were most pro Dati comments ever written by a card carrying Charedi columnist. It should be recognized that way and fully applauded.”


    • dl says:

      “Gadlus hanefesh” – shouldn’t that description be reserved for the women who bring up 6 kids, earn a living and take care of the house? No other people in history have ever successfully achieved that.

  18. RefoelZev says:

    “Gilyon commentary”
    He means the commentary on the margin, which is the Mesoras HaShas. There is no commentary called “Gilyno”

  19. Shaya Karlinsky says:

    I am not sure to whom this should be directed. But the honest solution, which encompasses all that Rav Shilat writes, as well as the needs of the army, and continued strong Torah learning in the “standard” Yeshivas. I worry that neither Yair Lapid, nor the extreme elements in the charedi world would view this positively.
    There should be required service – army or National Service – for all that are not learning full time, with real systems in place that are appropriate for charedim, while maintaining deferments for all who are truly learning FULL TIME. This will provide the army with the additional manpower they need. This will have the charedi community participating in the need to protect Jews in Israel in a time of war and danger. And this will maintain a significant number of full time Torah learners, necessary both as the spiritual dimension needed as a complement to the military need, as well as maintaining Israel as the Torah center of the world – something that was not true until the number of army deferments was significantly increased post 1977

    • MK says:

      “And this will maintain a significant number of full time Torah learners, necessary both… , as well as maintaining Israel as the Torah center of the world –
      With all due respect, which is very significant, I don’t see that the present hashkofa that ALL, who can, should be engaged in life long / long term learning, is necessary for EY to be the Torah Center of the world. The major Yeshivos and Kollelim would suffice.

    • william gewirtz says:

      i assume no members of the 2.5 tribes who settled on the other side of the Jordan were learning full-time. I also assume those studying Talmud academically would receive the same exemption.

      But seriously, where do find such a halakha? Milchemet mitzvah, requires everyone!!

    • Moshe Shoshan says:

      Rabbi Karlinsky
      This would be a good start, but as final deal, not just Lapid nearly everybody would oppose such a deal, with the exception of some charedi leaning mesotatiim and a segment of the DL. It is far to late for that. The chareidi wolrd has abused the blanket exemptions for yeshiva students instituted by the Begin government for generations now. There is no reason to believe that such blanket deferments would not continue to be abused, and there is no way to enforce this with out serious cooperation from the entire chareidi world,. Furthermore learning long term in Yeshiva used to be the preserve of the elites. Now charedim view it as birth right to any male born into one of their families. Very few non-charedim at this point will support an automatic exemption fior any kid with the ziztfliesh to sit still for three sedarim a day. There most that could happen is a fixed number of say a few thousand exemptions for the best learners. (this system would no doubt become corrupted, but I think people would still be willing to get behind it) If the rest of the guys did at least some army service after a good number of years inthe BM and thenmilluim, under a Hesder that could be arranged, the yeshivas would still be full. Clearing out the dead wood in the system would only raise the level of learning. I have heard from many in side the system, the level of learning in the Israeli Charedi Yeshivos is not what it used to be.

      I have thought that perhaps there could be a sytem where every one get to defer three years to learn and then in order to stay out of the army there would a be a serious category of Toraso Umnaso, available in only certain talmidim, for the true masmidim, at least 70 hours a week, unless you are sick, no bein hazmanim regular exams admister with supervision of DL rabbonim on signifcant amounts of material. Automatic giyus for three years if you are found in violation, Theese are tough conditions, but still much easier than a lot of ecombat units. Such a person I think man would agree could reasonably ask for a ptur and would not make a mockery of the value of Talmud Torah as the current system, in which being a yeshiva bocher is a self defined identity and not a vast responsibility. but none of this is going to happen as long as the charedi world and leadership resists all change. I still have not seen any sign that that can happen.

      Israeli society has changed forever (we hope, if we go back toout old ways we are really finished). The Charedi commmunity needs to understand that and adapt to that change, or we will all face disaster/

      • too tired says:

        FWIW, when I was an avrech in the Mir in Yerushalayim, I was part of quite a large chevra of Americans who fit all of your criteria, save for the DL supervision. For serious bnei torah in EY, bein hazmanim only becomes a reality when there are multiple children home from school who must be attended to. So we’d learn 10 hours a day instead of 14.

  20. joe socher says:

    This is depressing and undermines the entire basis of “daas torah”:

    Yitzchok Adlerstein March 12, 2024 at 2:26 am
    Great idea! But I beat you to it. I did have the private conversation. Weeks ago.

    Leiby Wasser March 12, 2024 at 2:46 pm
    Can you divulge what was said in that private conversation?

    Yitzchok Adlerstein March 13, 2024 at 12:50 pm
    Regretably, no

    What help is “daas torah” is the gedolim are not willing to publicly state their views for fear or political blow-back?
    Are you are left with is “daas” of askanim.

  21. Shimshon says:

    Around 90% of the army is not in combat positions who never are at elevated risk of being killed. These calls for shared participation and sacrifice are not about being in the army, but rather about clamoring for Charedim to die in greater numbers so that their emotional anguish is assuaged somehow.

    If 100% of Charedim were drafted and 0% were to face combat, would they be assuaged? No, they wouldn’t. Because the argument they present is at its root emotional, not logical. It is also very dark and macabre.

    • ChanaRachel says:

      In response to your comments:

      1- Could you reference the 90% of the army being in non-combat positions? The number seems high, but I was not able to find a source.

      2- Even if this were true, there are plenty of non-combat roles that are still associated with elevated risk. To give two recent examples- several female “lookout” soldiers תצפתניות were killed in action on October 7th during the Hamas infiltration, although they are not considered combat soldiers. Soldiers in the north under Hezbollah bombardment are certainly in danger even if their roles are as “non-combat” soldiers involved in (for example) logistics support, tank repair and many other jobs.

      3- Other than the possible higher-than-average participation of DL soldiers in combat, participation in combat versus non-combat roles is not determined by community, but rather by individual (and even the claim that Tel Aviv natives don’t serve, or don’t serve in combat, has been debunked). The army “job” is assigned on an individual basis. So were Chareidim to start serving in large numbers, I would assume that their proportion in combat would be similar to that in the rest of the population.

      4- The army is short soldiers (especially but not only combat soldiers), as exemplified by the increased length of mandatory service, increased age at which miluim ends, and cancellation of deferrals for Hesder and Mechina students. Drafting Chareidim could help fill some of these gaps.

      • Shimshon says:

        I have a son who was called up in January, as these media-amplified statements about an alleged shortage were getting started.

        He, along with 600 others in his cohort, reported for duty. They were given tasks and did some training and twiddled their thumbs. After 17 days, the lot of them were discharged. They, and my wife and I, were all mystified. Everyone expected to be deployed. After all, THERE IS A SHORTAGE!!!

        I do not know what this shortage is that you speak of. I don’t care what the media or politicians say on the matter. They are all confirmed and pathological liars. My experience trumps their words.

        Personally, it is much more sensible that these calls for drafting charedim are the entire point of what is likely a manufactured shortage. You allow yourself to be manipulated. That’s your problem, not mine.

    • dl says:

      Not sure if you missed it but a large number of army casualties on October 7 were not combat soldiers, just those unfortunate enough to be on bases close to Gaza. Non combat soldiers have also been killed in terrorist attacks and targeted while in uniform.

      What do you mean “clamoring for Charedim to die in greater numbers”? Greater than what? Are you aware of any Chareidi casualties in this war?

      And what is “emotional” about the gemara in Sota and the Rambam?

      • Shimshon says:

        I know someone personally a Charedi family who has a son who was severely injured.

      • Shimshon says:

        Regarding the gemara, who declared this to be a milchemet mitzvah? Did you report for duty?

    • Moshe Shoshan says:

      You have a very poor understanding how the IDF functions and at times disfunctions. What I can tell you for sure is that my son has had his return to Yeshiva deleyed thus far by 4 monthsm and it will probaly be more, because the army simply doesnt have enough trained “Tankistim” to replace him and the other Yeshiva guys in his pluga. There is direct relationship between my son not being able to learn full and charedim refusing to send even guys who are not learning full time.

      This is not about an irrational emotional need. It is about the fact that Eretz Yisrael Niknet beyissurin and the chareidi world want to like in EY and let other people suffer the yissurin. in order to do so they also prevent others from learning Torah. The pain caused to those who are suffering and not learning, is quite rational and moral.

  22. dl says:

    I am not sure why we are resorting to parallels or trying to find ways to keep exempting Yeshiva students from the army. The sources quoted above including the gemara in Sota and the Rambam show absolutely unequivocally that everyone is obliged to fight in a milchemet mitzva without exception. Yes, that clearly entails risks including one which is far greater than being subject to outside influences, namely death, but that is what we are asked to do. Either we follow the Torah and halacha regardless of the risks it obliges us to take, or we are creating a new religion in which our personal or communal sensitivities can sometimes override it. The latter approach has been tried already in the last two centuries and has not worked out so well.

    • DavidF says:

      “The sources quoted above including the gemara in Sota and the Rambam show absolutely unequivocally that everyone is obliged to fight in a milchemet mitzva without exception.”

      Except that they don’t because they’re entirely taken out of context. It’s shocking that so few have bothered to notice this little inconvenient fact.

      Is this a מלחמת מצוה? Very likely or almost certainly. Yet, even a מלחמת מצוה has rules and regulations in terms of how it’s conducted and almost none of those rules are followed by the IDF.

      Here’s an explicit pasuk about how a war is conducted: ספר דברים פרק כג
      (טו) כִּי יְדֹוָד אֱלֹהֶיךָ מִתְהַלֵּךְ בְּקֶרֶב מַחֲנֶךָ לְהַצִּילְךָ וְלָתֵת אֹיְבֶיךָ לְפָנֶיךָ וְהָיָה מַחֲנֶיךָ קָדוֹשׁ וְלֹא יִרְאֶה בְךָ עֶרְוַת דָּבָר וְשָׁב מֵאַחֲרֶיךָ:
      The IDF certainly tries to be more sensitive to religious soldiers in recent years than in years past, but they are a very far cry from והיה מחניך קדוש. Female soldiers – not a hallmark of a Jewish army! – are everywhere and how that impacts the קדושת המחנה is no secret.

      When the IDF is ready to align with all the rules of a מלחמת מצוה, I promise my kids and grandkids will be the first to volunteer.

      • dl says:

        Please elaborate on the “context” that the Rambam has been taken out of. If he is not saying what everything thinks he is, what is he actually saying?

        Yes, there are rules for how to conduct a war. But is there any source that says that if they are not followed, you are exempt from turning up? And if that is really the issue, how can you expect to influence the army to follow them if you never go near it? Has anyone approached the army and told them that they can get 60,000 new recruits tomorrow if they promise to follow the rules of war as set out in the Torah?

        It’s very nice to offer that your kids and grandkids will be the first to volunteer if the army follows the rules but that precisely misses the point. In a milchemet mitzva, it is a “chova” to join and you don’t get to choose if you want to volunteer or not. Exemptions are only for a milchemet reshut.

      • Steven Brizel says:

        Have you ever learned R Rimon’s sefer on how to be a Ben Tprah in the IDF-there is an entire Perek that deals with Tznius, Yichuc, etc. If you learned the sefer, you might at least apprecoiate the tremendous Kiddush HaShem that any Ben Torah can achieve by serving in the IDF

      • Steven Brizel says:

        Tell that to the Kedoshim, HYD of the hesder yeshivos who as depicted and described in Mishpacha strove hard at being not just observant but also Bnei Torah Talmidei Chachamim and Yirei Shamayim not just in the Beis Medrash but also under threat of ambush, in a foxhole, tank , APC or D-9 in Gaza

      • Dovid says:

        My understanding of DavidF’s comment is not necessarily rejecting the opionion that we are experiencing a Milchemes Mitzvah, but rather expressing a concerning about glib expressions of divrei halacha without enough concern of halacha integrity. Also, even if it doesn’t pass the litmus test of “Milchemes Mitzvah” there still might be many practical reasons to be involved.
        Disregard to accuracy also unfortunately occurs when leftists (on the most part) pompously declare “V’Ahavtem es HaGer” as a mitzvah obligating territorial compromise, financing Arab schools, etc. There may be numerous practical reasons to consider those ideas, but leveraging the pasuk is fraud.

    • nt says:

      The question isn’t about this particular military operation. The question is changing Israeli policy going forward in perpetuity, to draft bochurim going forward, long after Charbot Barzel is wrapped up. That has nothing to do with milchemes mitzvah.

      • dl says:

        Dovid, I agree with your understanding of DavidF’s comment. My question to you and to him is how do you read the mishna and gemara in Sota and the Rambam . They seem very straightforward and unequivocal and that is how as all the RIshonim and Acharonim understand them. All I have heard so far is vague expressions about “context” and “halacha integrity” without any actual explanation of how these sources could be understood differently and on what basis.

      • Moshe Shoshan says:

        The point is, that what the current war has brought home to us is that Israel is always in a state of needing to ready for a potential milchemes mitzva. In the modern world, the only was you can be ready to fulfill that mitzva is do basic army servie and millium. further the army is engaged in a perpetual mitlchmes mitzva as our enemies are allwas aseeking to destroy us. the idea that this michemes mitzva will end in the forseeable future, is absurd.

        The is univervesal halakhic agreement among the poskim who have consider these matters, (which inlcudes some who would be indentified as charedi) that a certain degree of chillul shabbos, necessary to keepiing the army running is required as pekuach nefesh, even if there is not a specific direct threat to indiviual people. When my son spent last Seder night on the Gaza border, doing half of his supershort seder in his his tank, durring one of th emini wars between wars. there can be no doubt that htis was milchemes mitva and a requirement of lo saamod al dam reicha, no less than his current service in Azza. We shudder to think what would have happened if he had still been sitting in that Gaza border position on Simchas Torah. A funeral was just held for Capt, Daniel Peretz, a young Yeshiva educated officer, who we now know gave his life fighting of the terrorists on simchas torar, very near to where my son was stationed. The idea that Daniel Peretz was not involveds in a milchemes mitzva on Haoshanna Rabba, but only the next day makes no sense. Once again the halakhic arguments in defense of charedim on this matter, do not meet the standards of a sevara that could be said by a talmid in the shiur of any serious rosh yeshiva and not be immediate dismissed as krum.

        As for RAW- I agree %100 percent. From a DL point of view his perspective is infinitely beter than that most charedim rabbonim, but he still “doesnt get it”.

      • ChanaRachel says:

        It has everything to do with Milchemet Mitzva.
        If Israel were to G-d forbid have a multi-front war, with Yehuda&Shomron, the north, and Gaza heating up to full-fledged conflicts all at once, I’m not sure the 350,000 reservists called up in October would be sufficient. ..and reservists cannot be held indefinitely.
        A group of *trained* Chareidi reservists, who could reinforce the ranks of the army could -I assume- make a huge difference in such a war.
        Unfortunately, full combat training takes 18 months, hence the need for some sort of serious Chareidi enlistment.

    • dl says:

      Shimshon asks “Regarding the gemara, who declared this to be a milchemet mitzvah?”

      The answer is the Rambam “What is considered as milchemet mitzvah? The war against the seven nations who occupied Eretz Yisrael, the war against Amalek, and a war fought to assist Israel from an enemy which attacks them.” I think it’s pretty hard to deny that we are in the last situation.

  23. Steven Brizel says:

    This is in response to the following comment and respomse:
    “No, Rav Osher Weiss doesn’t count because he’s not a manhig eida.

    Yitzchok Adlerstein March 13, 2024 at 6:02 pm
    1) Why would you assume that they would speak on the record? That has not been my experience 2) R Asher Weiss is most definitely the manhig of an explosively large eidah! It doesn’t have a name, but it is huge and multi-national. Doesn’t take much more than seeing the variety of Yidden who wait outside his door mornings after shacharis to demonstrate that

    R Asher Weiss is a manhig of a very large eidah that crosses hashkafic boundaries . How many Gdolim do you know that can speak to RIETS RY, are consulted by the Mossad and many Chayalim and who gives shiurim at Agudah’s and Shivti’s Yarchei Kallah events? R Asher Weiss has extraoridnarily broad shoulders and has spoken very clearly and emphatically about the need to support the IDF in as many ways as possible.

    • nt says:

      He also in countless shiurim (I’m a regular listener) tells yeshiva audiences to focus on their learning, and take it as seriously as the soldiers take the battle, because it is in their merit that the battle could be won. He definitely would not support drafting yeshiva bochurim.

      • Steven Brizel says:

        True-but on the links from Headlines that I posted R Asher Weiss was very critical of RY who claimed that no hakaras hatov was due to the IDF any more than someone else doing a job and of the mindset that feared that Charedim would regard the Chayalim as riole models and cause a mass exodus from the yeshivos.

    • David says:

      Did Rav Asher Weiss send his son to the army? Any of his grandchildren? Why not support the IDF by sending his own children to fight?

  24. joe socher says:

    >The IDF certainly tries to be more sensitive to religious soldiers in recent years than in years past, but they are a very far cry from והיה מחניך קדוש. Female soldiers – not a hallmark of a Jewish army! – are everywhere and how that impacts the קדושת המחנה is no secret.
    This is a good point and certainly it is true that kedushas hamachaneh can be improved. However, you don’t cite any evidence that a violation of these rules exempts anyone from participating in a milchemes mitzva. One does not necessarily follow from the other.

    • DavidF says:


      I’m not writing a halachic treatise here, and this was only one proof out of many that could be made. There is one bottom line that cannot be ignored – this is not the army that the Torah had in mind. Are the soldiers Jewish? Absolutely (for the most part.) Are many of them exceptionally pious and religious and moser nefesh? Absolutely. Are they heroes? For sure.
      Is this the Jewish army required for a מלחמת מצוה? Absolutely not.

      • Yossi says:

        People have posted that the מלחמת מצוה requires that charedim join the army. I don’t think it’s a question of exposing themselves to outside influences-I think they truly see the army as a place of exposure to עריות and leaving observance, and I think they believe that DOES exempt them even from a מלחמת מצוה.

        Not saying those assumptions are necessarily correct, but can anyone show that if they are correct, that they are NOT exempt? Not a rhetorical question.

        Or to put differently, wouldn’t they indeed support leaving the country rather than putting themselves at risk for those things?

        And while there can be some national service that can avoid those things, I don’t think that’s the main issue. The main issue seems to be that people want to see the charedim participate fully.

        לשיטתם, I don’t see how they can.

      • joe socher says:

        “one proof out of many”
        Actually there was no proof at all, and no response to the call of the question.
        Let’s make it concrete: Menashe was over on avoda zara and shefichus damim, etc., and caused the majority of Jews in his time to sin. If neighboring countries had invaded EY duing his time would it be a milchemes mitzva to expel them? If not, prove it from a halachic source.

    • dl says:

      What does this pasuk about והיה מחניך קדוש mean? It is tempting to assume it is talking about separating men and women because it says וְלֹא יִרְאֶה בְךָ עֶרְוַת דָּבָר but the Rambam doesn’t understand it that way at all and puts it entirely in the context of that passage which is about personal hygiene in the camp (Hilchot Melachim 7,15). Nowhere does he say that women are forbidden to be in the camp based on this pasuk or any other. You can hold yourself to a stricter standard regarding separation between men and women in your personal life but you can’t use it as excuse to avoid national responsibilities that is not halachically mandated

  25. nu nu says:

    Is the Rambam this Rabbi is speaking about so clear cut? Rabbi Berkowitz doesn’t seem to think so https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tusXyZcxTr4

  26. Leib says:

    It’s hard to understand how the Dati leumi community could harbor resentment towards the Chareidi community. Resentment by definition means that one is given something that another is not. Every one of the DL boys could have avoided conscription exactly the same way Chareidi do, but by their own choice, on ideological grounds, the DL join the army.
    R’Shilat’s halachic arguments about this are on very shaky ground. A milchemes mitzvah is defending a sovereignty based on Torah. In other words ,when G-d gives us the land. The secular state of Israel does not meet this requirement in any shape manner or form, and it is insulting to imply otherwise.
    R’ Shilat quotes The Ramban that “whoever has the people under his authority has the authority to send them out to wage war” and immediately offers his own interpretation “that is, any government that has the power to force them to go to the army can send them to fight an obligatory war”. Did any boys who historically avoided conscription into the Polish, or Russian armies (these armies were fighting the Germans who were out to kill all Jews after all) violated this mitzvah then? Defending the Land of Israel in its current state is no more an obligation than defending a foreign nation that happens to have a large Jewish population. Therefore, there is no more mitzvah in our case than there was for a Jewish American to join the U.S. army during WW2 (where many actually did).
    Ironically if complaints against the Chareidi sector were coming from a secular perspective, on grounds of equal society, then there would be an argument (albeit a false one because anybody who so much even identifies as Chareidi is exempt based on the Israel’s declaration of independence at the founding of the state. The secular were forced to concede that in order to get their state). But to gaslight the Chareidi by gently calling them brothers and claiming to respect them (words we never heard before from them), and then applying a “halachic” angle is preposterous.
    And if R’ Elyashiv said that the YK war was an obligatory war obviously that was rhetorical. R’ Elyashiv did not send any boys to the army during that war.

    • mycroft says:

      In other words ,when G-d gives us the land

      After original conquer-7 nations etc-when did it happen-not in time of 2nd Beis Hamikdash-are you saying no defensive milchemet mitzvah then.

      • Leib says:

        You answered your own question . The war against the Romans in the second temple era would be a perfect example of milchemes mitzvah. They were defending a Torah-sanctioned sovereignty founded by Ezra.

    • Dr. E says:


      Surely you cannot be serious. Are you somehow admiring that Chareidim who are not full-time learners know how to work the system to get an exception and that DL are somehow naïve and don’t take that out? Is avoiding the army really the end game? Indeed, there is a higher value out there. It’s called Pikuach Nefesh. So, even if you don’t subscribe to a religious and/or moral imperative to serve and protect Am Yisrael, this Milchemet Mitzvah ups the stakes a bit. I would challenge you for a mareh makom for your premise of “a milchemes mitzvah is defending a sovereignty based on Torah”.

      As for why Rav Elyashiv did not send any boys out to war. First, his influence in 1973 was not what it was toward the end of his life. Second and more significantly, he had no such Yeshiva at his disposal from which to send any boys. So, your point on him is a non-starter.

      • Leib says:

        “So, even if you don’t subscribe to a religious and/or moral imperative to serve and protect Am Yisrael, this Milchemet Mitzvah ups the stakes a bit”

        You confuse me. Aren’t those words contradictory? Is the imperative religious ( i.e. milchemes mitzvah) in nature or not?

        As to your point, I’m befuddled where you saw in my words that I I intimated that Chareidim are “working the system”. All I said is that for the same reason they are exempt , so are the students of Hesder yeshivas exempt. Except that the latter choose to enlist ( and I’m not even getting into a theological debate on the merits of this issue) thus negating any room for resentment .

      • Dr. E says:


        Not sure why you are befuddled. But, let me straighten things out for you. Milchemes Mitzvah is in fact a religious imperative, but the circumstances that make it an imperative need not be “religious” per se. Think about the woman who is drowning and the “chassid shoteh” decides that she is not dressed modestly enough and therefore discounts the religious imperative to save her life. The difference here is that the term “shoteh” would be too kind of a descriptor.

        On your point of comparing the Torah learning of DL and Chareidim, “hadra kushya l’duchta”. If the Torah learning of DL (especially, but not exclusively, those who are the real deal) is indeed also important to Chareidim, then they would be engaging in a Yissachar-Zevulun arrangement to have the Chareidi non-learners (and learners) to allow the DL bochurim to return to the Beis Medrish. I challenge you to help make that happen during the upcoming 6-week Bein Hazemanim. The resentment which you feel is misplaced will only be accentuated by the optics of Chareidim not being in the Beis Medrish during Bein Hazemanim while the DL pulled from Yeshivot and Mechinot are fighting Hamas and Hezbollah in Rafah and in the North.

      • Moshe Shoshan says:

        There is no reason what so ever to reinterprete RYSE’s psak as homiletical- a very danegous move that if not used judiciously threatens the enitre edifice of a halakha
        in 1973, there were less than a thousand spots for exmptions for Yeshiva bochrim. At the time, when there was still a great need for the Torah world to rebuild it self after the Shoah, this policy of limited exemptions, had wide support even among many chilonim, notably Shimon Peres. Many many Chareidim served in the IDF at the time. Most likely RYSEs children had a Yeshiva exemption under a very diffient system and wider situation than aplies today. Did they leave the BM durring the war to help on the home front? I have no idea.

        At the time RYSE was a dayan on the rabbanuts Beis Din a hagadol, know for his close relationships with Rav Kook and especially R. Herzog, to whom he had served as his righthand man and by whom he learned, along with many of the leading Talmidei chachaim of Yerushalayim in R. Herzog’s legendary friday morning Yerushalmi Chabura. RYSE was respected accross the board for his carefully ballence rullings on the BD. His attitudes towards Zionism were preumsably similar to those in his Yerushalayim circles like his mechutan RSZA and his Shver, R. Aryeh Levin ztk”l. not Zionist, but certainly not anti Zionist, an even potentially quite sympathetic to Zionism. There is no reason to beleive that the time he would not have ruled the YK a milchmes mitzva.

        This allbegan to changeat around that time when RYSE began to undergo a radical transformation genrally attriubted to his conflicts with R. Goren who became Rav harashai not long before the war. RYSE be came a sworn enemy of the rabbanut and especially of the heter mechirah, insituted by R. Kook and R. Herzog. The extraordinary nature of the fact that rejected any and all degrees of legitmicacy of the psakim of these two gedolim, whom he knew well and clearly had revered, cannot be under estimated. He also became no as an extreme machmir. As long as RSZA was alive, only a small group of followers went according to his psakim.

        It is a grave mistake to reinterpereate the early RYSE in light of the later one.

      • mycroft says:

        They were defending a Torah-sanctioned sovereignty founded by Ezra.

        Ezra never had political sovereignty-during 2nd Temple period less than a hundred years . Can hardly say Torah was followed by most Jewish governments.
        Ezra Hasofer is responsible for much of what we do-he did not have political sovereignty. Note we call him Ezra Hasofer

    • Steven Brizel says:

      This is the exact opposite of Hakaras hatov and you should seek mechilah for your remarks by spending time among the Kivrei Tzadikim in Har Hertzl

    • dl says:

      “The secular state of Israel does not meet this requirement in any shape manner or form, and it is insulting to imply otherwise.” The “secular” state of Israel has given more money for Torah learning than any institution or individual in history. If you place Talmud Torah at the center of Judaism then no previous government ever comes close. This “secular” state has also had chareidi parties in the government for most of the last 30 years. That is far more religious influence than the kings in the latter part of Bayit Shani and Bayit Rishon who were unanimously condemned by the Chachamim for totally ignoring the values of the Torah and even supporting avoda zara

  27. MK says:

    You are probably right regarding those who learn as seriously as the soldiers fight. The question is regarding the many (most?) who do not.
    Who is to say that their learning provides more protection than a Hesder talmid who fights and uses every free moment to learn?

    • william l gewirtz says:

      The argument that talmud torah provides equivalent protection to that of a combatant is a recent innovation with minimal (to no) support in our tradition..

  28. Shades of Gray says:

    Along the lines of communities learning from each other as mentioned by Rabbi Sheilat, there was a unique panel discussion held at Congregation Bnai Jacob Shaarei Zion in Baltimore in 2019 which was sponsored by Mizrachi and some Baltimore shuls. It was titled “Strength in Diversity: The Complementary and Conflicting Flavors of Torat Eretz Yisrael” and featured Rabbi Moshe Taragin of Yeshivat Har Etzion and Jonathan Rosenblum.

    Rabbi Moshe Hauer began the program by asking both speakers to begin speaking about what they liked about each other’s community and later asked the panelists to speak self-critically about their own community(Minute 50). R. Hauer referred to Jim Collin’s “Window and the Mirror Leadership Model,” whereby outstanding leaders look out the window to apportion credit to factors outside themselves when things go well, and look in the mirror to assume responsibility when things go poorly. My own reaction to this panel was to think of Ibn Ezra’s comment on the term “yafli” used to describe the nazir’s act of vowing, which means wonder (pelah), as the nazir’s commitment to self-control is so rare as to be called wondrous. It likewise struck me here as very original and a breath of fresh air that each speaker was asked to begin speaking about what they liked about the other community and to self-critically look into the mirror regarding their own communities. See link to recording of the program:


    R. Taragin’s praise of the Israeli chareidi community was later described by Jonathan Rosenblum in Mishpacha, excerpted and linked below:

    “He was given no more than five minutes to prepare a talk on the contributions of the Israeli chareidi community. Yet he had no trouble speaking eloquently about the subject, to the degree that I began my own talk by thanking him for having reinforced my pride in being part of the chareidi community… Rabbi Taragin’s ability to acknowledge and even celebrate the virtues of a religious community other than his own reflects a mindset that the Israeli religious world should embrace….And I cannot stress enough how uplifted the audience felt by watching representatives of different communities relate to one another with respect.”


    In a later Mishpacha piece, Jonathan Rosenblum also wrote of his discussion of the virtues of the dati-leumi world at the program :

    “The second point I mentioned was the combination of commitment to Torah and to Klal Yisrael, with the latter often manifested in joining elite combat units….The chareidi world is rightly concerned about the impact of IDF service on both a bochur’s religious observance and growth in Torah learning. But that should not keep us from expressing admiration for those who grab every possible moment to learn in the midst of IDF training or even battle.”

    He also pointed to the emphasis the national religious yeshivot and ulpanot place on internalizing a deep faith, the level of tzniyus found in Rabbi Taragin’s community, and that the Rambam’s dictum that one should strive never to be dependent on others is fully observed in the Dati-Leumi community. At the same time, he concludes: “These praises did not cause me for a moment to question the derech I have chosen for myself, even if they did suggest ways in which I might strengthen my own avodah.”


  29. Steven Brizel says:

    Those on this list of who contribute should learn the weekly shiur of R Asher Weiss who this week deals with the issue of Chayalim in Gaza or the north who can only hear the Megilllah once -which is preferable the nighttime or daytime Reading Then see R Zilberstein’s comments about acting in a sensitive manner especially on Shabbos to the family next door where fathers or sons due to IDF service are not hone for Shabbos with their families

  30. Steven Brizel says:

    WADR I think R Asher Weiss follows the tradition and a long list of Gdolim who while not bring Zionist appreciate the importance of a sovereign State of Israel and the IDF. Thee is a significant difference between that perspective and the views advocated by those who no need for Hakaras Hatov and worse

    The ET has recently published a special volume on Milchama with Halachos of Milchama along with entries from the ET on the Halachos of Ahavas Yisrael Onnas Devarim and Machlokes as well as a very important Hakdama by R D A Steinberg a tremendous Talmid Chacham who stated that all of the above are a necessary Tikun for the rhetorical excesses that left us all so divided as of 10/6

  31. Steven Brizel says:

    For those interested see the article in the OU Kashrus Pesach guide on Kashrus in the IDF.

  32. Steven Brizel says:

    As one who has always admired the best elements of the Charedi and MO/RZ worlds I have been inspired by the post 10/7 Achdus in Israel spanned every sector of the country.The current bill by the Charedi parties on the issue of the draft deferment of Charedi men threatens to reopen this very sore subject ,is simply inappropriate to be discussed during wartime ,assumes in an almost childish fashion that no Charedi male has enough moral self confidence to function in any environment outside of the Charedi world without completely losing his commitment to Torah and Mitzvos and clearly does not contribute to the Achdus of Klal Yisrael

  33. Benshaul says:

    One cannot ignore the pain of the Dati-Leumi Community, and i think any reasonable person is in awe of their commitment, dedication and sacrifice. Unfortunately, there have been less than wise voices in the Charedi world who have made intemperate and foolish comments.

    For the most part, many in the charedi community, don’t believe that those who are aren’t learning should not be serving in Tzahal. However, unless the army can commit to a fully frum environment -Without any compromises- it wont happen.

    Others on this post have noted the compromises that the Dati-Leumi world is willing to make to join the army, or the statistics of the loss of religiosity from that community -after joining Tzahal.
    I cannot comment on this, as i have no data to confirm the statistics. As to the compromises -it certainly seems to be true, as we have all heard the complaints of the Dati -Leumi Rabbonim regarding the integration of women ,issues with shabbos, kashrus, kol Isha , and a host of complaints. Yet to my knowledge notwithstanding the issues, they continue to join the army.
    I presume, (and am happy to be corrected if i am wrong) that the Value the Dati-Leumi world places on army service and their Zionistic beliefs, override those concerns. And from that perspective -one can appreciate the sacrifice and their need to make the best of it.

    The charedi world -does not have that zionistic belief, and sees no religious value in service in tzahal. The sole motivation is because of the national need and sense of needing to share the burden of the country. As such, the charedi world will never give in on those who are truly learning full time, and will insist on a proper environment for the others.
    I don’t think this is a surprise to anyone, and the army leadership knows it as well. the fact that it hasn’t happened makes the charedi world quite suspicious of all this talk etc.

    Two final points -everyone keeps lumping all the charedim into one category. however that isn’t accurate. there are charedim in the army, there are various chassidic groups whose members go to serve -albeit at a later date, and various circumstances.
    So really the issue is with those in Yeshiva and kollel. Fair enough, if my numbers are correct -that totals 65000 ; 40000 bochurim, and 25000 avreichim.

    We keep hearing about milchemes mitzva and all that. i am not getting into that debate. One thing seems clear is that when chazal discuss the fact that each shevet had to conribute both to the army, and an equal number of lomdie torah to match the number of those serving.

    we are far below that number! Halevia we had that many learning Torah Full time.

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