What was their response to all that? Aside from a few very positive statements from Gedolim like Rav Chaim Shumlevitz and Rav Nosson Tzvi Finkel, there was – and is – mostly condemnation. They have taken all that Israel has done for them in the past for granted with the attitude of, “What have you done for me lately?!”
I understand that they now feel under siege. I completely disagree with their perspective on this. But I guess if you get used to being treated a certain way, it is not going to sit well with you if some of those expected things get taken away.
But that does not take away the responsibility of a leader in Klal Yisroel to express Hakaros HaTov for what they have always done for them. The fact is that for a great number of these leaders, there is no HaKoras HaTov. Instead they are fighting Israel as though they were living in 1492 Spain. One fellow, Moshe A., got himself arrested as a martyr for the cause. From the Jewish Press:
Moshe A. was following the command of Rabbi Shmuel Auerbach, leader of the Jerusalem Lithuanian Haredim, who declared the effort to recruit yeshiva students “gzeirat shmad,” tantamount to the medieval church’s attempts to convert Jews by force.
They called it a kidnapping by the government into a military prison! I do not believe that Rav Auerbach is in any way living up to his father’s legacy. I don’t know how Rav Shlomo Zalman, his father, would have reacted to the current situation. He probably would have been on board with opposing what the government is doing here. But one thing I am sure of. He would certainly not have reacted the way his son did.
Charedim: Heed the words of the Alter. Without Hakoras HaTov, there is no leadership in Israel. Be keenly aware that what is happening today is the opposite of that.
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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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