I could not believe what I was reading. Not that I haven’t heard similar rhetoric before. But somehow this time it got to me more than others. It made me angry!
There was apparently a meeting that took place in Israel prior to the big prayer rally today about drafting Charedim by leaders of all Charedi factions. Rabbinic leaders from all segments of Charedi Jewry in Israel attended. Including those who are at extreme odds with each other about tactics. Differences that were so great that followers of one side resorted to violence against a revered rabbinic leader on the opposing side.
It is extremely difficult for me to understand how any thinking Jew, let alone people who are seen as the greatest leaders of our time by so many… could say the kind of vile and untrue things they have said about those who have been trying to make the draft system a fair one. It is difficult for me to retain my respect for people who say these kinds of things. From Hamodia:
It is not a time to desist, when those from among the government in Eretz Yisrael, directed by the prime minister, rose to rebel against Malchus Shamayim, and intend, R”l, to pass laws uprooting Torah and to impose criminal sanctions on those who are Torasam umnasam, to the extent that they will be thrown into prison.
We fear the terrible chillul Hashem, and the elbonah shel Torah, that this involves. We fear the result and are pained by the continuing harassment directed at the Torah world and the constant efforts to place obstacles before its every step.
How can anyone with a say such a thing with a clear conscience? Let alone rabbinic leaders. Is this not just a wee bit of an exaggeration? Uprooting the Torah? Really? I keep hearing things like this and it gets harder and harder to believe that this has anything to do with Daas Torah – even as Charedim define it!
How they can say any of this when there are probably hundreds of of thousands of religious Jews since the founding of the state that have been drafted into the army; served with honor, and have not left their Yiddishkeit behind. How can they say this when there are probably tens of thousands of Hesder boys who have been drafted since its founding and choose to learn Torah while they serve their country in the most dangerous assignments.
It is hard for me to respect this kind of rhetoric. It is offensive to me. And coming from rabbinic leaders that are so widely respected, it becomes doubly offensive. Because when these rabbinic leaders speak – especially when they speak as one – none of their flock will challenge them.
They have asked the entire world of religious Jewry to participate with them today:
The Moatzos Gedolei and Chachmei HaTorah are calling on all of Am Yisraelwherever they live, in Eretz Yisrael and abroad, to grasp the craft of our forefathers in their hands and to gather “kol haYehudim yachad kol shivtei Yisrael anashim vetaf — all the Jews together, men and children” to call to Hashem strongly — that our Father in Heaven have mercy on us like a Father to His sons. We are hereby announcing that all those who are chareidim lidvar Hashem will come together in an Atzeres Tefillah and mass protest on Sunday 7 Adar II 5774 (error – the 7th is next week, the prayer rally is today – HM). May it be a kiddush Shem Shamayim to counteract thechillul Shem Shamayim carried out by the uprooters of religion.
To make matters worse, there are some Religious Zionist leaders who plan to participate. I don’t know what kind of logic motivates them to participate in an event that is so opposed to their very principles. I guess they believe that Charedim who study Torah full time should be exempt! But even if that’s true, can they possibly believe that every single Charedi Jew that is registered in a Yeshiva should be exempt?
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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