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Hasidic Jewish youths studying

{Originally posted on author’s website, Emes Ve-Emunah}

It is almost as if Torah Study in the Charedi world has degenerated into some sort of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Shocking as though this statement might be one would be hard pressed to see it any other way. It is worshiped to the exclusion of all else. Literally. Nothing else matters.


While some areas outside of Torah study may be permissible, (like supporting one’s family by working) they are certainly not of much value and practically ignored by Charedi leaders and their surrogates in the Kensset. It is the study of Torah that they entirely focus upon – almost ignoring everything else.

Lest anyone think I am exaggerating, all they need do is listen to an interview of MK Rabbi Moshe Gafne of the Charedi political party, Yahadut HaTorah. This is the party that Charedim are required to vote for if they want to retain their Charedi credentials. Rabbi Gafne was interviewed on the Israeli radio station Kol B’Rama (KB). It was conducted in Hebrew and can be heard at the website Kikar HaShabbat. It has been and translated on YWN. Here are some selected nuggets from that interview:

Moshe Gafne explained from his perspective there is no such thing as ‘working Chareidi’.

Gafne: I do not accept the categorization. There are those who opt to leave yeshiva and join the working community.

KB: Are they called chareidim?

Gafne: No they are no(t). I do not accept this. It does not exist. One who does not learn in kollel and works has left.

…There are children who are not accepted for one reason or another. Sometimes because the parents work, at times other reasons …

One can go to work and that is fine but they are not the same as those immersed in limud. In the time of the Chassam Sofer there were those who worked and those who did not but the difference is they all adhered to his word, unlike today…

I do not accept the category. There is no such thing as working chareidim and I do not need an asifa. This is the fact.

KB: But these people do not know who to vote for? Who represents them? …Can you admit there is a group that feels Yahadut Hatorah is now their home, that you do not represent them? Perhaps the people Aryeh Deri and Eli Yishai are working to enlist?

Gafne: It is not a “group”. There is no group like this…

KB: Rav Gafne you are avoiding the issue. Is there such a thing as working chareidim?

Gafne: No there is not. There are chareidim who adhere to gedolei yisrael. That is it.

KB: Have you visited the Kiryat Ono Chareidi College?

Gafne: No. It is not my job. My job is to concern myself with the needs of lomdei Torah and that is it. One wishing to attend a chareidi college may but it is not my job. I do not represent academics.

KB: That is exactly the point. That is what they say. You and Yahadut Hatorah does not represent them. Don’t you understand this is how they feel? They are looking for representation.

Gafne: From my perspective I represent them too but not regarding academics

KB: No you do not and that is where we started. They are without representation

Gafne: They must consult with their rav, the same rabbonim who permitted them to attend a college, even a chareidi one. We have to worry about the lomdei Torah for that is our goal and our future. I do not encourage academics and it is not my job…


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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 protected].