Rabbi Lipman is not opposed to those who have the potential for rabbinic leadership getting an exemption or being supported. It is in fact part of his party’s platform to exempt the truly talented Lomdei Torah and give them even more support than they receive now. He is just opposed to a system that insists that everyone ought to do it to the exclusion of all else – no matter what their strengths and weaknesses are or where their true talents lie.
What about the accusation that the army ruins people (meaning taking Frum Jews and making them un-Frum because of the secular environment)? That has already been answered by the creation of Nachal Haredi.
But I think it is a canard in any case. The only way the army will ruin you is if you already are ruined or close to it. Truly committed Jews will not only not be ruined, but they will come out stronger than they were before knowing that they have done their duty and remained Frum.
I think that is true even for a woman. And I mean actual army service – not Sherut Leumi – the hesed arm of mandatory army service for religious women. That may sound absurd in the face of the way female soldiers are looked upon by religious Jews. I can understand why they think so. And do not want to be seen as advocating religious women signing up for regular army duty.
But it is not impossible to be a Haredi woman and serve – remaining not only Frum – but even Haredi while in service and thereafter. If you don’t believe me, just read the story in Jewish Action about one such woman. Not only did she succeed, but she exploded the myth that the army won’t accommodate Haredi women. They did. She even influenced her colleague female soldiers to become more observant completed her army service honorably.
I don’t know how Rabbi Lipschutz sees this woman. No doubt he would say nebech about her choices and claim “yehoreg v’al ya’avor” (better to die than transgress) for any religious woman to try this. They would become ruined.
Although I do not advocate woman doing regular army service – the yehoreg v’al ya’avor paradigm is no longer valid in my view. Not in this new era of respect for observance by secular parties and with a record number of observant Jews serving in the Knesset.
I think Rabbi Lipschutz would be wise to take a step back and re-evaluate his view of what is happening n Israel. There is no attempt to undermine Judaism at all. Instead of staying blind to this truth he would do well to open his eyes, see the truth, and then try and convince others in his camp to realize that. And thereby not only save his world but add to it by making it more self sufficient and more supportive of the real Lomdei Torah – those whose natural desire and diligence for Limud HaTorah will make them future leaders in Klal Yisroel.
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About the Author: Harry Maryles runs the blog "Emes Ve-Emunah" which focuses on current events and issues that effect the Jewish world in general and Orthodoxy in particular. It discuses Hashkafa and news events of the day - from a Centrist perspctive and a philosphy of Torah U'Mada. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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