The Charedi Draft Crisis: An Alternate History

The following is a document that slipped through a worm-hole from a parallel universe. Nothing in it occurred in the universe we know as our own. But it is something we can think about. Would such a cri de cœur have helped the present situation, and even have averted the funding freeze? Who knows?

KOL KOREH

From the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah

Dear Brothers and Sisters!

We stand before you like Yosef HaTzakik, proclaiming “Es achai anochi mevakesh!/ It is my brothers that I seek.” If there is one point to this kol koreh that we would like you to remember, it is that we long to feel a genuine achvah between us.

In the months following the gezar din of the Black Shabbos, we have watched in awe as a nation that had been so horribly torn apart came together. We saw the mesiras nefesh of those who rushed to protect the Jewish nation from the modern Amalek, and fought and died for Klal Yisrael. We saw the bravery of women who sent their husbands to the front for months at a time, while they had to hold the family together. We watched as hundreds of thousands of people were displaced (and are still displaced) from their homes, and their sources of parnassah remain shuttered.

We watched with a feeling of inadequacy. Although we remain proud of our contribution to the ruchniyus of the Nation, which works in concert with conduct on the battlefield, we recognize that we cannot speak of our figurative mesiras nefesh in the same breath as those who have lost their lives, their health, or who simply showed up to wage the battles that we did not participate in. We did our best to at least demonstrate our overwhelming gratitude, which is why you saw yeshiva students and their rabbeim using their free time to visit soldiers in hospitals, participating in shiva calls, and volunteering to help labor-strapped businesses. Still, we understand that the rest of the country sees these gestures as inadequate.

We do not feel guilty for following the course set for us by our gedolim of the last few generations. But realities change. We realize that the time has come for some retooling. We do not want to live in a country and feel that we exist at its margins and not part of a populations of millions of Jews who share a profound commitment to the Jewish nation. It is too painful to be seen as ungrateful outliers, even though we do not see ourselves that way.

There are issues, however, that are more important than our own discomfort at feeling alienated. We will never relent in our pursuit of the primacy of limud Torah in our communities. We accept with joy the simpler, poorer life-style that this involves. We cannot take chances on the spiritual progress of our children. Having been brought up in isolation from so much of the toxic parts of modernity, there is no question that the way things are at the moment, their absolute commitment to Torah halacha and hashkafah could be compromised by serving in Tzahal the way it is currently run. They are not prepared for it – and neither is Tzahal. (While we are aware that the vast majority of our critics do not hate Torah, and criticize us for reasons that are understandable from their perspective, we are not naïve. We understand that minority retrograde elements exist in general society, and in the upper echelons of the IDF.)

But we regard these issues as challenges, rather than as conversation-stoppers and immovable barriers. Our longing for connection with you makes us optimistic that, b’ezras Hashem, there can be solutions to the challenges. What we would like to see is a group of people who are more interested in finding solutions than making political statements meet with some of us. Quietly. Privately. We have talented thinkers who can keep an open mind without selling their community short. We trust that you have the same. Surely we can find a formula that can set realistic goals and meet them over time, all without destroying our yeshivos.

Please. Please. Help us find a way to meet our needs, while at the same time showing the holy Jewish nation that we are not only partners, but brothers.

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82 Responses

  1. Steven Brizel says:

    One waits snd sees whether the Charedi leadership will engage in the necessary Cheshbon HaNefesh that would be a condition precedent to such a statement

  2. Michaoel halberstam says:

    We find in the Torah that avodos which constitute Chanukas Hamizbeach do not always follow the standard Halohos of Korbonos because they are part of Chanukas Hamizbeach. Limud hatorah is the purpose of Yiddishkeit, But kibbush haaretz is its own type of Chanukas Hamizbeach and all the rules cannot apply. I want to suggest tat that Kibush haaretz and milchamos Haganah are also a KInd of Hanukas hamikdosh vehamizbeach, and rules need to be suspended . In fact this is the Halacha. Perhaps there is a reason why we are reading Theses parsiyos nnd Parshas Hachodesh at this time.

  3. Sid Stadler says:

    I agree with need a solution of both Stat.
    Moshia h is the answer.

    • Moshe Shoshan says:

      “Moshiach” is not an answer. it is a way of abdicating responsibility. We need to hope mashiach will come soon, but act knowing that there chances are, he wont and we need to deal with out problems himself.

  4. Happy says:

    This is a cute letter, and is in fact basically what I suggested here: https://cross-currents.com/2024/02/21/the-day-after-is-now/#comment-499533
    “The rest of the population is in deep pain because chareidim are not serving. Some may even say that this is causing them more distress than the war itself. Going with your marriage analogy, when the partner is in pain, most times, it is not a good idea to offer a solution then and there. Especially in this case, when there is no obvious solution. The best thing to do is sympathize with their pain. Although on a logical level, we believe our path is 100% correct, we cannot ignore the distress it causes other people. We must acknowledge it fully, even as we stand firmly by our commitments. ”
    As I suspected, too many, including the OP, were not satisfied with this approach. They want a solution, and they want it now. But at the bottom of this situation is a nearly inextricable religious kulturkamp, and so the heartfelt plea at the end of the letter “Please. Please. Help us find a way to meet our needs…” is almost certainly in vain, as it ignores the underlying reasons why such a plea would not be made, and even if it was made, would not be heeded. And so I continue to advocate for my original suggestion…In fact, just today we had a guest post on our blog calling for more gratitude to the soldiers.

  5. YL says:

    There are issues, however, that are more important than our own discomfort at feeling alienated. We will never relent in our pursuit of the primacy of limud Torah in our communities. We accept with joy the simpler, poorer life-style that this involves. We cannot take chances on the spiritual progress of our children. Having been brought up in isolation from so much of the toxic parts of modernity, there is no question that the way things are at the moment, their absolute commitment to Torah halacha and hashkafah could be compromised by serving in Tzahal the way it is currently run. They are not prepared for it – and neither is Tzahal. (While we are aware that the vast majority of our critics do not hate Torah, and criticize us for reasons that are understandable from their perspective, we are not naïve. We understand that minority retrograde elements exist in general society, and in the upper echelons of the IDF.)

    This statement would rub many Hesder yeshiva supporters the wrong way. It is insulting to them that their yiddishkeit is “less than” compared to chareidim.

    • Steven Brizel says:

      It is so great that you are such an ardent advocate for the Charedi derech which has much that many of us admire the best features of but one looks in vein for recognition that not everyone is cut out either for the Charedi way of life that not everyone will become a Gadol and that such recognition is lchatchilah not bdieved in fact the Charedi media are replete with Halachic inquiries from Bnei Torah in the IDF to Gdolim such as R Zilberstein R Asher Weiss and R Rimon all of which demonstrate that there are very serious Bnei Torah snd Talmidei Chachamim who are serving

      WADR consider learning R Rimon’s sefer in Halacha in the IDF or the Encyclopedia Talmudis special volume on a Milchama if you really want to have a sense of being Noseh Bol Chavero

      The Enc

      • Bob Miller says:

        Are you implying that “one size fits all” doesn’t work for either learning in Chareidi yeshivot or for serving in the IDF as now organized?

      • YL says:

        I simply quoted Rav Adlerstein and put my short comment on the bottom which I think lines up with what you wrote

      • William Lawrence Gewirtz says:

        Bob Miller, Hazal told us long ago that one size does not fit all. Hanokh le’na’aroh al pi darkho. The importance of limmud haTorah, which emerged after Hurban Bait Sheni, is critical to our survival; it is not doheh other mitzvot, which often take precedence.

  6. David says:

    A good example of a potential partner (who actually was involved in such things) can be found here:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RpB_RXFZp7c

    A refreshing viewpoint!

  7. Bob Miller says:

    People on both sides of this argument in Israel need to develop a better mutual understanding. Otherwise, overtures like those suggested in this piece won’t find a suitably respectful non-Chareidi audience that is willing to look candidly at its own past missteps. Potentially, the non-Chareidi audience could respond by sticking to its own hard line, thinking that opposition is crumbling. Don’t tell me that Mashiach is not urgently needed to bang heads.

  8. ChanaRachel says:

    Such a letter, even if a little condescending, would be a whole lot better than the present situation.

    This evening, my Hesder graduate son, who is home with his family [for now] after 4+ months miluim, including several stints in Gaza, was stuck for hours on Route 4 because of a demonstration by the “extreme” Hareidim against army service. I don’t know how they justify their actions. If pure Torah learning makes one wise, something has gone very wrong.
    The first thing I would want to see is for the the “mainstream” Hareidi leadership (if there is such a thing) dissociate themselves from such behavior.

    • Yitzchak says:

      I was disgusted to run into a הפגנה against גיוס last week at the שער העיר in ירושלים where Litvishe yeshiva bochurim and chassidim were causing mayhem (in which at least 3 Hatzalah ambulances with red lights flashing and sirens blaring were also snarled up, unable to get to the people who urgently needed them). While I am personally Chareidi, albeit towards the left of the community, and I can understand some of the arguments against גיוס, even if I don’t accept them completely, I was ashamed by what these protesters were chanting: “יהודי לא מתגייס לצבא השמד!” – “A Jew will not be conscripted into the army of [forced] spiritual annihilation!”. This is an utterly appalling failure of simple הכרת הטוב to people who have literally lost lives and limbs protecting those whose dedication to the beis hamedrash is not so strong that they can’t take out a couple of hours from learning to act like thugs and hooligans on the highway, and of the entire moral curriculum in the yeshivos. Even if “only a few young hotheads” (halevai!) shouted such nauseating slogans, they got them from somewhere, and it reflects a deep underlying failure to recognise simple true facts on the ground, and makes a hollow mockery of assertions of achdus and “partnership”. I was completely revolted by what I saw and heard.

  9. Dovid Y. Kornreich says:

    From an informal online survey I conducted, it seems one move that would cut the resentment over haredi draft exemption immediately by 50% would be to stop all state benefits to haredim. Getting benefits from the State and not contributing to the State at the same time adds insult to injury.

    • Steven Brizel says:

      https://blogs.timesofisrael.com/one-haredi-mans-view-on-drafting-yeshiva-boys/
      are you the author of the above linked post? WADR I think your take on history is mostly narrative snd a seriously mistaken view on the importance of a sovereign Jewish state with all of its problems that require us to live together and to agree to disagree on certain issues in the wake of the Holocaust as opposed to living in a self imposed ghetto with no confidence that your way of life has relevance to the society that you live in

    • Bob Miller says:

      Which is to say that people are pleased to get their own way. This doesn’t sound like negotiation aiming for a meeting of the minds.

    • ChanaRachel says:

      I would agree with you, at least partially, if the Chareidim constituted a small proportion of the population. Then there would be room to possibly reach a special agreement with them in which no army = no benefits.
      But as Chareidim approach 20% of the population, [and growing], such a special deal is no longer viable, as we need doctors, nurses, high tech workers, engineers, and -yes- soldiers, and we can’t have a huge chunk of the population not participating in any of these endeavors, even if they don’t receive direct resources.

    • Moshe Shoshan says:

      So you would support cutting off all Government funding to charedi insitutions and individuals? The charedi leadership is calling even much more moderate proposals as being motivated by haterd of Torah. Do you take any benfits from the State?

  10. Steven Brizel says:

    https://www.jns.org/the-biden-administrations-war-against-the-government-of-israel/

    Those who urge that the Charedi parties leave the coalition should think about the fact that such an extreme decision would mean that Hamas stayed viable because the Charedim and their leaders as in the Shoah viewed keeping their institutions alive as more important than standing with the rest of KlL Yisrael against an existential enemy

  11. Steven Brizel says:

    The Charedi community should be aware that Biden and the left are manipulating their leaders to end their support and obviously any Chizuk for the war and to bring down the current coalition by helping provoke a crisis about the draft via the HCJ and a militant AG as one of the ways of giving Hamas a reward for the actions of 10/7 . It is all too similar to Shas providing the winning votes for the false promises of Oslo .

  12. Steven Brizel says:

    https://www.jns.org/the-biden-administrations-war-against-the-government-of-israel/ See the link to the X page of the leader of the riots where he clearly states that the draft issue is a false issue designed to bring down the coalition snd that he would rather that Israel be an American colony than to be independent and ruled by the right .All of us should avoid being played as fools by this Administration with incendiary rhetoric both in criticizing the draft policy and defending the same when it is clear that Biden’s support of Israel is rooted in the adage that talk is cheap and that Hamas cannot be allowed to lose this war

  13. mb says:

    The date is noted.
    File away and bring out next year.

  14. William Lawrence Gewirtz says:

    The time has long passed to continue to allow our sacred traditions to be besmirched by hareidim claiming to uphold it. Their behavior is anti-nomian and has no basis in halakha, period. Even their gedolim of previous generations recognized that. There can be no debate with individuals whose behavior is a travesty. It must be ended, by any means necessary.

    Instead of demonstrating that derahehah darkhei noam, Torah is being profaned. We cannot afford to give any respect to those whose actions are mekhalail Shem Shamayim so blatantly. An attempt to reason has failed; it is time to take another approach.

    • Steven Brizel says:

      https://blogs.timesofisrael.com/from-one-haredi-man-to-another/an excellent rejoinder to this article https://blogs.timesofisrael.com/one-haredi-mans-view-on-drafting-yeshiva-boys/

      I think that arguments of this nature and the extremism we see in the streets whether by the left and its hijacking of the cause of the hostages or by Charedim support the view Israel RL would be better offas an American colony rather than an independent state governed by what its citizens decide at the polls who determine what nature the coalitioin should take. Such rheoric by anyone supporting such views in wartime is defeatist

      • WILLIAM GEWIRTZ says:

        I think recent statements like that by the US moetzet are a desecration of our traditions and must be referred to as such. We cannot allow such views to be included within the framework of eilu ve’eilu.

    • Shmuel Raffles says:

      How is your “sacred traditions” older than the Chareidi beliefs which have remained unchanged for thousands of years? “Derocheha Darchei Noam” is not the be all and end all of halachic Judiasm. People of great integrity in the previous generations held very strongly against the existance of the state and its army. The Chazon Ish amongst many others, held that one should risk their lives rather than go to an army that will rob them of their way of life and their ideals. Even if this is not your view, can’t you understand that they are not desecrating Hashem’s name but keeping His word as it was transmitted to them by their great rabbis and teachers? And why can they not demonstrate? Why are the Chareidim the only ones who endure abuse and beatings by their demonstrations, while left wing anti-bibi demonstrations that may often be more violent are calmly recieved and encouraged. In the “democratic” state of israel, should free speech not also be allowed from those who hold different to you? I am not trying to be majorly argumentative, I just fundamentally disagree with the lack of acceptance you are displaying to the ones who sit and learn and fulfill Hashem’s express will in this world, at the same time as you are so happy to accept those who keep nothing of Hashem’s STATED will but you happen to agree with their stance in politics.

      • WILLIAM GEWIRTZ says:

        Nonsense beno shel nonsense. Hareidi beliefs are recent inventions. We pasken Yaffeh talmud torah im derech erertz.

  15. Steven Brizel says:

    Brothers and sisters if you are out in the streets of Israel threatening to tear the state apart during wartime you are aiding and abetting those who are attempting to intimidate the American Jewish community with their vile anti Semitism in their communities

  16. Bob Miller says:

    The tenor of some comments here is
    “If you guys don’t throw up a white flag and admit that the Mizrachi approach was right all along, you’re dirt.”

    • Mark says:

      Sorta like an three man echo chamber by the usual suspects.

      In the meantime, very few Charedim have access to this platform or care to spend their time arguing with the likes of them. They’re too busy raising large families, studying Torah, and building Mosdos HaTorah, and the like. They have no time to run around protesting the far-right maniacs either and don’t feel a need to every time someone tells them that this is the duty.

      They’ll continue to love every Jew and wait for the IDF and it’s leadership to come around on the important issues. Of course, once that happens and they join the IDF, we’ll hear the usual suspects yell about how the Charedim took over the army…just like they took over the neighborhood…

      • Steven Brizel says:

        When a drone attack or wore from Iran RL is launched, don’t even think that Charedi neighborhoods will be spared

    • Steven Brizel says:

      The questikon is far more fundamental-would you rather that Israel be an American colony or an independent country that is a major means of preserving Jewish continuity in the US?

    • William Lawrence Gewirtz says:

      To claim that the current Hareidi position represents that of previous generation of hareidi leaders is simply false. From exemptions for all as opposed to those learning is a major step backward.

      As the Rav ztl famously asserted in Hamesh Derashot: the Hashgakha showed Mizrachi correct long ago. You are not dirt if you disagree, just incorrect.

      • nt says:

        To which the Haredim would reply: History showed the fallibility of the Rav’s leadership long ago.

      • WILLIAM GEWIRTZ says:

        nt, please explain your comment; the Rav ztl’s positions and stature have only grown since his death.

      • Mark says:

        “As the Rav ztl famously asserted in Hamesh Derashot: the Hashgakha showed Mizrachi correct long ago. You are not dirt if you disagree, just incorrect.”

        There are many wonderful talmidei chachomim and gedolim who do not agree with this theory – and yes it is a theory at best – of the Rav about the hashgachah proving anything. This is one of the weakest arguments I’ve ever heard for the correctness of Mizrachi’s position. Talmidim of the Rav love to quote it as if it’s an indisputable fact when in reality, it’s a theory.

      • William Lawrence Gewirtz says:

        Mark, It was convincing enough to the Rav ztl that he left the Agudah for Mizrachi and no longer subscribed to the notion of daat toreh as the Rav did in his hesped for RCOG ztl delivered at the Agudah.

      • There is strong evidence, I believe, that the Rav did NOT cease to subscribe to the notion of Daas Torah. Consider the words of his son-in-law and protege, R. Aharon Lichtenstein z”l: “This concept is generally in disrepute among votaries of modern Orthodoxy, who have sought to challenge both its historical progeny and its philosophic validity. I must confess that I find myself, in principle, more favorably disposed to the idea. I readily concede that the concept, in its more overarching permutations, is of relatively recent vintage . . . I find the alternative view, that gedolei Torah are professional experts whose authority and wisdom can ordinarily be regarded as confined to the area of their technical proficiency, simply inconceivable. Our abiding historical faith in the efficacy of Torah as a pervasive, ennobling, informing. and enriching force dictates adoption of the concept of da’at Torah in some form or measure.” (Leaves of Faith, pg. 296) Additionally, see the Rav’s own words in the Soloveitchik Chumash, Shemos, pgs. 251, 254

        I hasten to add that there are other explanations for why the Rav bolted from Agudah and embraced Mizrachi. (Actually, he didn’t bolt, so much as transitioned. For about a decade, he was prominent in both organizations at the same time!)

      • nt says:

        William, Chareidim consider the current state of YU to be a massive indictment of the Rav’s leadership. I confess I am not myself familiar with the details, but I personally heard a member of Agudah’s Moetzes say, “He created a monster.”

        As to the argument from history: Imagine if you lived several decades after the Chanukah story and criticized the Chashmonaim for taking power and ruling themselves instead of handing it over to a descendant of David. One would probably hear the equivalent response of history has shown that their miraculous victories and continued leadership is a good thing, etc. Except that eventually they became corrupt and fell themselves. It would not be until the Ramban that someone said the original great tzaddikim of the Maccabbees were wrong to assume power. History has yet to render a verdict on the Israeli Medinah.

  17. Shmuel Gorenstein says:

    No. It would not have helped’ It would not have averted.

    • mycroft says:

      Rav Lichtenstein ZTL is the clear talmid muvhak of the Rav and when quoting the Rav clearly is accurate. RAL like everyone is their own person it is a mistake to assume one way or the other that any Talmids words are what his Rebbe would have said. RAL himself mentioned substantial other influences on him, most notably R A Soloveichik and R I Hutner-both clearly had different hashkafot than RYBS. Certainly one can’t forget that RCOG had formal leadership and thus was a manhig for much of Jewry-the Chazon Ish never became a formal leader-thus, not because of any differences in lomdus between the CI and RCOG but according to the Ravs viewpoint one can distinguish what he said in a hesped about RCOG and what he’d believe about Daas Torah in an American context. Note the Rav said about himself in issues he had no special expertise in non halachik matters. Worth pondering but IMO RYBS and R Yacov Kamenetzkyl were quite close in their views about Israel and Zionism despite their different institutional allegiances’

  18. lacosta says:

    It’s like Israel and “ Palestine “. Each sides best offer comes nowhere near the minimum the other side can accept….

  19. Steven Brizel says:

    For those who make claims about Kashrut in the IDF https://oukosher.org/passover/articles/feeding-an-army-kashrut-in-the-idf/ this must reading

  20. Objective view says:

    The who term old is a political red herring because they do not want equality across the board of the entire population because all one has to do to automatically get an exemption is to clear on their ID that they are in Arab or trans.

  21. nt says:

    We watched with a feeling of inadequacy. Although we remain proud of our contribution to the ruchniyus of the Nation, which works in concert with conduct on the battlefield, we recognize that we cannot speak of our figurative mesiras nefesh in the same breath as those who have lost their lives, their health, or who simply showed up to wage the battles that we did not participate in.

    This is absolutely not the viewpoint of the Chareidim. They see their Torah learning as far more valuable to the success of the military operation than any military or civilian endeavours, which is why they cut short their Bein Hazmanim to return to the Beis Medrash early immediately after the attack.

    In fact, it would be hard to imagine a scenario that would do more to confirm Chareidi priors than the attack. If you had asked anyone on Oct. 6, they would have told you that the high-tech border wall and elite IDF was more than enough to stop any attempted incursion. Instead, the entire world was confused as the IDF abjectly failed. It was only the Chareidim with their constant belief that “If Hashem does not guard a city, in vain was the watchman vigilant” who could make sense of it.

    And the message of an attack like this on Simchas Torah was also obvious, and clearly spelled out in the Gemara:

    And it is also written: “My soul hates your New Moons and your Festivals; they are a burden to Me; I am weary to bear them” (Isaiah 1:14). What is the meaning of the phrase: “They are a burden to me”? Rabbi Elazar said that the Holy One, Blessed be He, said: Is it not enough for the Jewish people that they sin before Me, that they also burden Me to know which harsh decree I will bring upon them? Rabbi Yitzḥak said: Because of this curse, there is not a single Festival on which troops did not come to Tzippori to conduct searches or to collect taxes. And Rabbi Ḥanina said: There is not a single Festival on which an egmon and a kamton and a branch bearer, Roman officials, did not come to Tiberias to collect taxes, thereby disrupting the festive celebrations.

    And even though the Chareidim, who were unaffected by the initial attack, could have said “This is not about us, we weren’t the ones spending Simchas Torah dancing at a rave” they instead flocked to do the one thing they believed would help: returning to the Beis Medrash. They could have preached fire-and-brimstone messages of “This is what happens“, but instead they said none of it, even in private.
    So while Chareidim understand that others do not see the world the same way, they truly believe that their actions are in the best interests of Israel at large.

    • MK says:

      “And the message of an attack like this on Simchas Torah was also obvious, and clearly spelled out in the Gemara:

      And it is also written: “My soul hates your New Moons and your Festivals; they are a burden to Me; I am weary to bear them” (Isaiah 1:14).”

      The message is actually the opposite of what you assume.
      The navi is not condemning the ABSENCE of Yom Tov observance.
      He is condemning those who DO observe them but are lacking in other areas, primarily social sins, as the navi goes on to say.
      Those who “were dancing at the rave” were tragically detached from Torah and not the subject of the navi’s rebuke and are not held accountable for their lack of observance.
      If you are so sure that Yom Tov observance was the “reason” for this tragedy, the navi is calling the community of Yom Tov observers to examine their lives.
      And the lack of true “nosei b’ol”, literally “sharing the burden” may be a good place to start, as RYA has done in this powerful essay!
      That would mean that those who are so engrossed in their learning and provide the protection that you describe, should continue but work harder to share the pain and mesiras nefesh of those who serve / lose loved ones. And those among the 60,000 deferred Chareidim who are not, or should not be full time learners, should literally “share the burden” and should be inspired by the Hesder Bnei Torah to serve and to grab every free moment for Torah learning!

      • nt says:

        I am sure you are familiar with the concept of a kal vachomer. Yes, the Gemara describes people whose observance is inadequate being troubled with tax collectors. But all the more so that people who entirely disregard the sanctity of a Yom Tov would be punished.
        Your claim that people detached from observance are not held accountable for lack of observance goes against the entire Nevi’im. The punishment does not come often, but when it does, it is terrible.
        And everyone should examine their lives. The message Chareidim took was the need for increased learning and tefillah, which they are doing. DL does not get a veto over Chareidi Gedolim.
        And for the record, Rav Asher Weiss shlit”a is firmly on the Chareidi side of this debate.

      • mark says:

        While it’s not possible to point at any individual and claim that his or her actions are the cause of our tragedy, it would be foolhardy to claim to a party like Nova festival is a non-contributing factor. Perhaps it wasn’t the fault of the victims there, but the fault of their parents who failed to educate them, the fault of the medinah who failed to educate them, or the fault of the greater body of klal yisroel. Regardless, the Nova festival and the rampant chillul Shabbos and gay pride in Eretz Yisroel, is all part of the admonitions that the Navi warned against. To believe otherwise is to defy logic. It would mean that those who observe mitzvos and dedicate their lives to that ideal, but are imperfect, are the cause of the troubles, but those who eat pork and bow to bhudda are saints. Nope.

  22. Steven Brizel says:

    In the meantime,, it appears that cooler heads in the Charedi world are prevailing despite the rehtoric of last weekhttps://www.theyeshivaworld.com/new s/israel-news/2274028/harav-moshe-hillel-hirsch-now-is-not-the-time-for-million-man-march.html and https://www.theyeshivaworld.com/news/israel-news/2274231/at-the-instruction-of-harav-landau-all-roshei-yeshivos-in-israel-to-hold-emergency-gathering-this-week.html

  23. Shades of Gray says:

    “What we would like to see is a group of people who are more interested in finding solutions than making political statements meet with some of us. Quietly. Privately”

    Would that all purportedly interested in dialogue be interested in examining the effectiveness of their methods.

     “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”  Santayana said it first, and Churchill paraphrased it in a 1948 speech to the House of Commons. But whoever said it, the eternal sentiments are very apt to the draft and other areas of contention from before and after October 7. 

    Unity, after all, served as a bulwark in the three arenas of  military,  diplomacy,  and the vital arena of both general and Jewish international public opinion. Just this February, Netanyahu said on America’s Face the Nation,  “the Israeli people are united as never before,” in response to the hard-ball questioning of  moderator Margaret Brennan including about “massive protests throughout Israel yesterday”(“Margaret, Margaret, hold on, you lob these grenades at me and you keep on moving”). 

    Conversely, disunity is extremely damaging in all three arenas — the last thing needed when “the whole world is ganging up on us,” in Bibi’s words this week. Three ironic newsflashes  regarding the provocations of Brother in Arms in the name of “nurturing dialogue” illustrate the wisdom of Santayana’s adage:

    August 2023:  Male and female activists from Brothers in Arms board a bus connecting Ashdod and Bnei Brak wearing t-shirts emblazoned with the movement’s logo in an  attempt at nurturing dialogue. It devolves into an angry singing match. Ofir Katz, a prominent member of Likud, asked, “what the activists did to the Haredim, isn’t that a horrible thing? That’s not evil? That’s not cruel?” Eyal Naveh, a spokesperson for Brothers in Arms says his group “regrets if the action upset anyone, and apologizes to them.”

    December 2023:  The aforementioned Eyal Neve of  Brothers in Arms said that the arrival of  Religious Zionist rabbis who visited the  headquarters of Brothers in Arms “is the call that we are all brothers and from today we will only follow the light of the flag of broad agreement and an understanding of the fears and needs of the other side. We will no longer allow any leadership to tear us apart from the inside; today we understand that the healing is also found ‘below.'”

    March 31, 2024:   Dozens of protesters from the Brothers in Arms movement staged a demonstration inside Jerusalem’s ultra-Orthodox Mea Shearim neighborhood, calling for Haredim to be drafted to the IDF. There were some reported clashes between local residents, demonstrators and police.

  24. Steven Brizel says:

    While we all discuss this issue with such fervor and threaten the post 10/7 Achdus Biden has shown that all along that he was following the Obama playbook of throwing Israel and the American Jewish community in it’s entirety under the bus while he appeases Iran Hamas and Hezbollah I said in October that his support of Israel was rooted in the adage of talk is cheap snd we should not be played for fools by falling into his desire to break the Achdus that resulted from 10/7.We should be in the streets to show this administration that it’s Olivier have thrown all of us under the bus as opposed to seeking what are our own hashkafic prerogatives which are important but are inappropriate to worry about when Israel and our communities are under an existential siege

  25. Alex R says:

    I think if there had been widespread male and female Chareidi participation in a Sheirut Leumi National service program (non-Army) we would not be having these rifts now.
    תפסת מרובה לא תפסת

    • Bob Miller says:

      I’m not so sure. Among their critics are some who are out to ostracize Chareidim as a principle, and aren’t too fond of RZ either.

      • Dovid says:

        Bob, that’s a significant point. You may remember the public outcry in the wake of the Rabin assasination that blamed the Dati Leumi/Religous Zionists collectively. The Dati Leumi were more than just a little shocked to discover that the Israeli society which they worked so hard to participate in and contribute to did not see fit to reciprocate such admiration. It was also intriguing reading the secularist press wax sanctimonious with seemingly endless demands of “cheshbon hanefesh” ……. from the Data Leumi.

  26. Steven Brizel says:

    The simple fact is that those who promulgate these statements https://www.theyeshivaworld.com/news/israel-news/2275554/moetzes-gedolei-hatorah-of-america-decry-israels-nixing-of-draft-exemptions-for-chareidim.htmlhttps://vinnews.com/2024/04/08/mir-rosh-yeshiva-calls-to-extend-winter-zman-until-3rd-of-nissan/really don’t reallize the poor optics of the same right now or in the past-Meshech Chachmah states in Parshas Yisro that one can take on the persona of a Kohen by learning Kodshim-I would suggest that anyone who is in a yeshiva or kollel that does not send bachurim to the IDF can at the very least take on the persona of a Chayal by learning the Sugyas, Rishonim and Acharonim that deal with Milchama to at least have some Kiyum of being Noseh Bol Chavero as opposed to talking and prattling about their learning is as important as diving on a hand grenade that threatens the members of their squad, tank of APC. or suggesting that one should have the attitude that one can live their life with the seemingly callous POV as if there s no war going on

  27. Natan Slifkin says:

    “We did our best to at least demonstrate our overwhelming gratitude, which is why you saw yeshiva students and their rabbeim using their free time to visit soldiers in hospitals, participating in shiva calls, and volunteering to help labor-strapped businesses. ” If the Moetzes would have said this, it would have been a lie. The charedi community did not “do its best” – only a fraction of yeshiva students engaged in such things, and the charedi rabbinic establishment was strongly against it. Even Rav Berkovits wrote against such things.

  28. Moshe Stern says:

    why not ask you bud Mr Agudah and fellow website mate R Avi to join in— he blamed dati leumi explicity for the attack

    • Steven Brizel says:

      Look at the comments on YW in response to R Hauer’s eminently sensible suggestion-they range from denual to ignorance to callous indifference to hostility in their lack of appreciation for what the IDF is doing on a daily basis Something is rotten in our communities when such a POV is allowed to fester

    • MK says:

      ” Your claim that people detached from observance are not held accountable for lack of observance goes against the entire Nevi’im.”
      You are correct regarding those who detached themselves from observance . Those that danced at the music fest were detached from observance to no fault of their own following generations devoid of any Yiddishkeit. They are not responsible for their lack of observance and, in the words of the Chazon Ish, “should be brought closer with cords of love”.

      • Steven Brizel says:

        Where did I make such a claim?

      • nt says:

        If you learned Nevi’im, you would know that the Jews who went into galus were also set in their ways by ancestors hundreds of years before. There are different levels of responsibility. The Chazon Ish, and the Rambam he is quoting, are talking about how we should deal with them in terms of kiruv. Matters of reward and punishment are up to Hashem. We don’t have nevi’im to know exactly how things work nowadays, but we definitely know that Hashem punishes children who go in the ways of their parents. It’s even in the Aseres Hadibros. And we are commanded to learn the lesson of history to understand how following Hashem’s ways leads to reward and ch”v vica versa. It’s the parsha of Haazinu, plus we say it twice a day in the second parsha of Shema.

  29. Mark says:

    William Gewirtz writes:

    I think recent statements like that by the US moetzet are a desecration of our traditions and must be referred to as such. We cannot allow such views to be included within the framework of eilu ve’eilu.
    Nonsense beno shel nonsense. Hareidi beliefs are recent inventions. We pasken Yaffeh talmud torah im derech erertz.

    Without getting into the question of the relative age of Religious Zionism and Modern Orthodoxy, both fairly recent innovations, it behooves us all to demonstrate at least a modicum of respect to the words of the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah who represent a large swath of the Torah-observant community. To declare their words as “a desecration of our traditions” and to insist that they have no validity and aren’t part of the pantheon of Torah beliefs, is not an expression motivated by intellectual thought, but by pure hatred.

    I’m surprised that CC would tolerate that sort of writing here. One can absolutely disagree, and many do, but this sort of disrespect has no place here.

    • MK says:

      To Steven Brazil
      My apologies.
      You made no such claim.
      My comment was meant for

      nt April 10, 2024 at 12:10 am
      I am sure you are familiar with the concept of a kal vachomer. Yes, the Gemara describes people whose observance is inadequate being troubled with tax collectors. But all the more so that people who entirely disregard the sanctity of a Yom Tov would be punished.
      Your claim that people detached from observance are not held accountable for lack of observance goes against the entire Nevi’im. The punishment does not come often, but when it does, it is terrible.

    • Dovid says:

      Mark, well said.

    • Nachum says:

      The way threads like these deteriorate to snowflake-like “I shouldn’t have to see this!” posts is telling.

    • william l gewirtz says:

      To declare the primacy of limmud hatorah over other mitzvot, is simply an unheard of innovation. The Torah speaks of leaders of the tzibbur who mislead/sin; this is a good example.

      Recent events with all of Israel under attack, the lomdei Torah on vacation, and the country being largely untouched is a demonstration from Above that should be taken to heart.

      It is not hatred, but standing up for Kevod Shamayim.

      • nt says:

        It’s an explicit Gemara in Kiddushin. One does not stop learning for a mitzvah that can be done by others. It is also explained at length by the founder of the yeshiva movement in Nefesh Hachaim Shaar 4. These are all texts the typical high school yeshiva bachur has been taught.

      • Mark says:

        If you truly believe that the stating the primacy of Torah over all other mitzvos is a recent innovation, there’s not much point in continuing a conversation because we’re no longer arguing over facts but fantasy.
        The number of examples in the Gemara where this point is emphasized exceeds anything I can possibly list but for those who are interested in the facts, here are a few samples:
        Megillah 3a – מבטלין ת”ת להוצאת המת ולהכנסת כלה
        Shabbos 31a – אמר רבא בשעה שמכניסין אדם לדין אומרים לו נשאת ונתת באמונה קבעת עתים לתורה עסקת בפריה ורביה צפית לישועה פלפלת בחכמה הבנת דבר מתוך דבר
        Brachos 35b – Even Rabbi Yishmael agrees that Torah is primary, but he still insists on degree of דרך ארץ, but according to most מפרשי התלמוד, Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai’s approach is still the most idea.
        To assert that publicly disrespecting a group of leaders whose entire lives have been devoted to לימוד והרבצת התורה במסירת נפש at the hands of one whose life has been devoted to technology and communications, is somehow “standing up for Kevod Shamayim,” is at best sad, if not terribly brazen.

  30. Steven Brizel says:

    https://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/the-idf-a-torah-true-calling/2024/04/12/
    This article by R Chaim Goldberg is must reading on this issue

  31. Steven Brizel says:

    I think that despite the pooe optics and irresponsible rhetoric that we are seeing change from the ground up as evidenced here https://www.israelnationalnews.com/news/388366 and https://www.israelnationalnews.com/news/388313. WADR, the hadracha suggested here https://vinnews.com/2024/04/11/rabbi-moshe-hillel-hirsch-no-trips-no-interaction-with-secularists-during-bein-hazmanim/ raises the following issues-are cabs and buses off limits and shopping in major stores outside of one’s neighborhood beyond the pale?

  32. Steven Brizel says:

    Anyone who studies history and especially military history knows that you don’t fight today’s battles and wars with yesterday’s equipment and tactics. In Psak, RHS points out very often that which was Assur decades ago may be Mutar and that which was Mutar years ago may be Assur today.This issue is no different The issue is not preservation of Torah in a hostile environment as discussed between CI and Ben Gurion but rather a quiet reaklizatiion that long term learning is properly the province of the few who will become great Talmidei Chachamim and that being a learner/earner and even serving in the IDF is a way of showing that your values should be part of the debate as to the meaning of Jewish continuity in the State of Israel. That realization is underway

  33. Steven Brizel says:

    https://www.wherewhatwhen.com/article/an-interview-with-rabbi-karmi-gross

    In the Jewish Press article I linked to you will see that Yeshiva Derech Chaim a Charedi hesder Yeshiva is mentioned by the author Take a look at this interview with a RY and see how a Kiddush HaShem can develop in such a wonderful Yeshiva that combines very serious learning and IDF service

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