I would not accuse him of lying or even exaggerating. That would not be in consonance with his standing as an Ish Emes – a man of truth which is one of the hallmarks of the Soloveitchik dynasty. They are not given to exaggeration either. I must therefore assume that he actually believes what he is saying.
To me that says only one thing. He is so isolated from the world that he believes that nothing has changed since the days of Czarist Russia or the founding of the State! …that any and all support for a Charedi draft stems from the desire to destroy Yiddishkeit by haters of Torah. He simply does not appreciate the sincere arguments made by – not only the bereaved secular mother of a fallen soldier – but even sincerely religious Jews. Some of whom are bereaved mothers of fallen soldiers themselves.
Does Rav Soloveitchik really think that the Jewish Home’s Naftali Bennett – an observant Jew or Rabbi Dov Lipman – A Musmach of Ner Israel (and a hero in my view) have “risen in our generation to destroy the Jewish people”? Is he that naïve? Does he think that the Hesder Yeshiva is a ploy by Religious Zionists to “uproot Klall Yisrael’s neshama from its roots, the yeshivos hakodesh.”
I guess so…
I don’t question Rav Soloveitchik’s right to believe as he does – although I obviously strongly disagree with him. But I do question his right to frame the motives of those who support the draft in such vicious and evil terms.
If I recall correctly Jonathan Rosenblum suggested in one of his columns that in Israel – such comments be taken with a grain of salt. That they don’t really mean it when they say it. It’s just hyperbole to impress upon the listener the severity of their opposition.
I’m sorry. That does not fly in my book. Not when truly sincere and religious people are involved. Not when lives of people who protect the country are at stake. I think such rhetoric does great harm to the fabric of a nation in the throes of constant existential threat.
Which is why I am proud to follow another Soloveitchik who in my view was far greater than this one… my Rebbe Rav Ahron who proudly said Hallel on Yom Ha’atzmaut and whose grandson Yitzchak Zev HaLevi Soloveichik proudly served in the IDF.
In trying to understand all of this, I think the perplexed Rabbi Grylak said it best: “Whatever the case, it’s obvious that something major is going on behind the scenes, and Hashem alone knows what it is.”
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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