More Tragic Passings
On February 12 a 23-year-old Chevron Yeshiva talmid, Yonasan Miller, z”l, drowned in the Jerusalem Hills’ Bir Zayit. Yoni was a son of Rabbi Yosef and Chemda Miller of Givat Shaul, Yerushalayim.
Also, a 25-year-old bachur, Gedalia Gruntzweig, was struck and killed in Crown Heights by a city sanitation truck last Sunday morning. Crown Heights Hatzalah arrived on the scene and found the victim pinned under the truck. Paramedics attempted to save the young man’s life, but were unsuccessful.
Machlokes In The Eida Chareidis
The machlokes between factions in the Eida Chareidis concerning the graves at the Golovnititz construction project in Beit Shmesh has reached a climax. The ravaad, HaRav Moshe Sternbuch, shlita, believes that there is no issue of graves at the Golovnititz construction site. Rav Sternbuch released his p’sak after investigating the matter in depth, ruling that for as long as construction was taking place in adherence with his guidelines, there is no fear of compromising kevarim. However, Asra Kadisha, headed by Rabbi Dovid Shmidel, never accepted this and the organization continues its protests and efforts to halt the construction. The sikrikim have been enjoying the machlokes, doing their best to feed the dispute.
The gavaad, HaRav Yitzchok Tuvia Weiss, shlita, has sided with those who believe that the construction is interfering with graves. Although Rav Weiss has recently come out strongly against attacking talmidei chachamim, stating that doing so is far worse than compromising kevarim, it appears that extreme members resort to their own methods of protest by defaming Rav Sternbuch.
On February 12 Rav Sternbuch announced that if Rav Weiss attends the protest against the ongoing construction at the Beit Shemesh Golovnititz construction project, he would suspend himself from his position. The gavaad indeed attended the protest (though he remained in his car), prompting Rav Sternbuch to announce his resignation. Two dayanim followed suit, announcing their alliance with the ravaad. Badatz members HaGaon HaRav Yaakov Mendel Yurovich, shlita, and HaGaon HaRav Naftoli Hertzka Frenkel, shlita, visited the ravaad at home and informed him that they are following his lead. But they asked him if he would reconsider his position in order to maintain achdus in the Eida.
Rav Sternbuch’s resignation resulted in harsh pashkavilim against him from sikrikim.
There seems to have been a great deal of disinformation surrounding Wednesday’s protests in Beit Shemesh and Jerusalem’s Kikar Shabbos, including pashkavilim that the Toldos Aharon Rebbe, shlita, and the Dushinsky Rebbe, shlita, urged non-participation. Other pashkavilim stated that HaGaon HaRav Dovid Soloveitchik, shlita, planned to participate but later opted out.
A shlichus of rabbanim from Toldos Aharon and Dushinsky visited Rav Sternbuch’s home in an effort to persuade him to retract his resignation from the Eida Chareidis. Rav Sternbuch explained to the delegation that his resignation is for the good of the Eida.
This resignation has split the Eida Chareidis. The Satmar Rebbe of Williamsburg has sided with the gavaad while many dayanim have sided with Rav Sternbuch.
The Satmar Rebbe of Kiryas Joel, shlita, arrived in Eretz Yisrael on February 19 to discuss matters with Rav Sternbuch. Following the meeting, Rav Sternbuch indicated he would remain in his position and not resign after all.
Criminal Sanctions For Bachurim
The Shaked Committee on military draft reform recently approved criminal sanctions against bachurim who do not enlist for Israel’s military draft. HaRav Aharon Yehuda Leib Shteinman, shlita, describing this as “an awful chillul Hashem,” called for a large demonstration in protest. It has been 15 years since an unprecedented one million-man protest – organized by Rabbi Menachem Porush, z”l – against Israel’s Supreme Court rulings. But now, gedolei Yisrael are calling for a million-man atzeres against the new haredi draft law.