web analytics
July 29, 2014 / 2 Av, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
InDepth
Sponsored Post
IDC Advocacy Room IDC Fights War on Another Front

Student Union opens ‘hasbara’ room in effort to fill public diplomacy vacuum.



Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

My Exchange With An Old Haredi Friend

The impression given that one cannot be a Torah Jew and a talmid chacham while working to support one’s family is an outrageous canard.

A modern-day Jewish warrior in the tradition of Abraham, Moses, Joshua and David.

A modern-day Jewish warrior in the tradition of Abraham, Moses, Joshua and David.

The day before the Manhattan rally earlier this month opposing the Israeli haredi draft legislation, I was contacted by an old friend who now lives in Israel, part of the haredi world. He sent me his thoughts and I responded. The exchange follows, with minor editing and condensing. I have deleted the friend’s name.

Dear Steven,

Ahead of the mass gathering of Torah-true Jewry scheduled to take place tomorrow in Manhattan, I’m reaching out to you, our brothers in America, to share with you the sad truth: here, in the state of Israel, Torah Jewry is subject to religious persecution.

To classify Torah students as “criminals,” subject to imprisonment, is only the latest and most absurd of anti-haredi laws enacted recently by the government. In addition, they have drastically cut education and welfare budgets, aiming to choke our yeshivas and schools, and even our individual religious freedoms, so prized by Americans and citizens of democracies worldwide.

Under the deceptive mantra of “sharing the burden,” the government is responsible for a wave of unprecedented incitement against haredim, thereby splitting the nation. It is no secret that the objective of conscripting Torah scholars is a thinly disguised attempt at social engineering.

Is it conceivable that a Jewish government in Israel is trying to prevent its citizens from living Torah-true lives in the tradition that their ancestors for generations were moser nefesh for?

As you prepare to gather to offer heartfelt tefillos tomorrow, please remember that the train of persecution of lomdei Torah has already left the station and that there is no doubt it is more difficult to stop a train that is already moving than to prevent it from leaving.

We know that the heart of Torah-true American Jewry beats together with its brethren in Eretz Yisrael, and senses that the danger to Torah observance in the Holy Land is a danger to the entire Jewish world.

Sincerely,
[Name deleted]
Your brother in Eretz Yisrael

Dear ———:

It is great to hear from you and I hope you and the family are well, but I must part company with you on this issue, and I will not be participating in the rally. In fact, I denounced it yesterday – even noted (based on a Midrash at the beginning of Vayikra) that there is such a concept of a “Talmid chacham she-ein bo da’at.”

Here is why:

Haredim make a mistake in thinking that only the Lapid-led diehard seculars have a growing contempt for them. The dati-leumi community is also increasingly hostile, because they sense – to me, accurately – that the haredi community is causing hatred for Torah. It is impossible to explain to, for example, my nephew, who learned in Hesder and completed his army service, why his Talmud Torah is somehow inferior to that of haredim. It is not. Perhaps his Talmud Torah is the same, but the haredi world’s “nosei b’ol im chaveiro” is completely absent. That deficiency in Ahavat Yisrael is glaring, noticed, and the reason why the society at large no longer tolerates it.

It is unconscionable that there exists in the haredi world this idea that work and army service are beneath it, and that the rest of society that haredim hold in contempt must support them so that they can sit and learn. I too would love to sit and learn, and have someone support me, but that is not the system Hashem set up.

Odd, indeed, that the Rambam’s clear statement (Hilchot Talmud Torah 3:10-11) is ignored, if it is even taught. But when he speaks of “kavah me’or hadat,” that is exactly what has happened. That construct of the haredi world as practiced today is unprecedented in Jewish history.

About the Author: Rabbi Steven Pruzansky is the spiritual leader of Congregation Bnai Yeshurun of Teaneck, New Jersey, and the author most recently of “Judges for Our Time: Contemporary Lessons from the Book of Shoftim” (Gefen Publishing House, Jerusalem, 2009). His writings and lectures can be found at www.Rabbipruzansky.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

Please use the Facebook Tab below to leave your comment:

13 Responses to “My Exchange With An Old Haredi Friend”

  1. This would kill two birds with one stone:

  2. Znowu bardzo trafne!
    Brawo Rabin Pruzansky!

  3. Dita Gould says:

    The Israeli's have been patient till now.It's high time the ultra religious shoulder some responsibilityfor the upkeep of the country.not just the benefits

  4. A LONG-OVERDUE WARNING TO THE HAREIDIM about their corrosive contempt for their fellow Jews, about how that contempt boomerangs back upon them, and about how their chosen lifestyle causes contempt for Torah.

  5. Rabbi Pruzansky has got it right. I think I am right in saying that a small percentage of Jews would be supported to study in the yeshivot, following the State of Independence of Israel. This was to ensure that their would not be any loss of religion in the new state. But now! The vast numbers of Haredi who are nothing more than parasites on an already stretched economy, is horrendous. And add to that the fact that they are protected by young Israelis risking their lives for them, and it all becomes ludicrous. The Haredi should be made to serve in the military. They live there so they should help to protect their country.

  6. Thank you, Rabbi Pruzansky – well said! I have always been flummoxed by the haredi refusal to even accept national service.

  7. Paul Palnik says:

    this is true of everyone who has contempt for others

  8. Miki Bacsi says:

    I have a solution.
    Send all the Haredim to the two wild-men-garden located in Israel, give them arms so they can defend themselves, and finally they will understand that self-protection is allowed by the Torah. They might even find out that growing their own food is not evil at all.

  9. Orah Peer says:

    Amazing Article,yashar koach:

  10. An important aspect is missing from the discussion: the religious makeup of the army, even in the Nachal Haredi, makes it very difficult for Haredi participation. If you don't understand that, you don't understand Haredi and Israeli society. There is an increasing alienation between the "Medinah" and Hardei society, and the actions by Lapid et al are making it worse. The Haredi world needs to "normalize" meaning they need to go to work. They do not need to go to the army. The army already has too many people who are not fit soldiers. The days of the "people's army " are over. We need a smarter, not larger, army. Read carefully how Gilad Schalit got captured. Not everybody is cut out to be a soldier.

  11. Sometimes the people of Israel, the Land of Israel and the Torah of Israel must be defended by the sword of man. And when the moment comes, everybody is obligated to leave his regular occupations and studies to defend Am Israel. Long live the modern Macabbeans, our Datim Leumim warriors! Maimonides used to say: "We live in the Diaspora because our ancestors neglected the art of war".

    NEVER AGAIN

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Loading Facebook Comments ...
Loading Disqus Comments ...
Current Top Story
Rami Levy in one of his supermarkets.
Rami Levy Quietly Helping Families of the Fallen
Latest Indepth Stories
Young children 'recruited' by the Al Qaeda-inspired Islamic State of Iraq and al-Shams (ISIS) terrorist group for a Shari'a jihadist army in Iraq and Syria.

ISIS poses a great threat to the entire civilized world in general and liberal democracies in particular.

kerry clown

Kerry is preoccupied with pressuring Israel, notwithstanding the transformation of the Arab Spring .

journalism

With no shortage of leftist media that seek to distort the news, what should our Torah response be?

Jewish Home leader Naftali Bennett

Because let’s face it: Hamas obviously can’t defeat the IDF in the field, soldier against soldier

As Peres retires, Israel fights sour legacy: Insistence on setting policy in line with hopes, rather than with reality.

Our capital was not arbitrarily chosen, as capitals of some other nations were.

UNHRC High Commissioner Navi Pillay accuses the IDF of possible war crimes in Gaza again, cutting slack to Hamas.

There is much I can write you about what is going here, but I am wondering what I should not write. I will start by imagining that I am you, sitting at home in the Los Angeles area and flipping back and forth between the weather, traffic reports, the Ukraine, Mexican illegals and Gaza. No […]

Should Jews in Europe take more responsibility in self-defense of community and property?

It is time for a total military siege on Gaza; Nothing should enter the Gaza Strip.

Germany’s The Jewish Faith newspaper ominously noted, “We Jews are in for a war after the war.”

The truth is we seldom explore with kids what prayer is supposed to be about.

Almost as one, Jews around the world are acknowledging the day-to-day peril facing ordinary Jews in Israel and the extraordinary service of the IDF in protecting them.

More Articles from Rabbi Steven Pruzansky
Rolling out the Red Carpet for the Pope's visit to Israel.

There is a certain unwordliness to the pope’s call for a two-state solution, an obliviousness to the reality on the ground.

A modern-day Jewish warrior in the tradition of Abraham, Moses, Joshua and David.

One can’t only take; one must give as well. Giving – not taking – is the essence of the righteous person.

Much of what we know about 19th century Orthodoxy is false, including the provenance of the term Orthodox.

A president who today used the language of FDR or JFK would be derided. If he were a candidate, the media elites would bury his chances of winning the election. He would be a laughing stock to the aimless young people whose uninformed opinions on public affairs seem to matter more than they should.

With the constant drumbeat of articles about “Orthodox” female rabbis appearing in the media almost weekly – essentially the same articles making the same points to the same eager audience, all to make the phenomenon of such “rabbis” seem commonplace – it is important to take a step back and examine how we arrived at this destination.

The Wall Street Journal last month featured a front-page article titled “After These Jewish Prayer Services, Things Come ‘To Life’ at Open Bar,” with the sub-heading, “To Woo Worshippers, Synagogues Compete with Food and Booze.”

In the wake of the presidential election, American Jews must once again ask a fundamental question that seems to defy both societal trends and a clear resolution: why do Jews overwhelmingly support the Democratic candidate, year after year, election after election?

The notion of the “Reagan Democrat” is one cliché that should be permanently retired.

    Latest Poll

    Do you think the FAA ban on US flights to Israel is political?






    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/my-exchange-with-an-old-haredi-friend/2014/03/26/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: