Photo Credit: Arutz Meir YouTube screenshot
Rabbi Uri Sherki

The spiritual leader of the Beit Yehudah community in Jerusalem, Rabbi and philosopher Uri Sherki (Cherki), a member of the religious Zionist Machon Meir organization, rejects the calls to bolster the study of Torah during this time of terrorist attacks in Israel. Instead he insists that at this time we must become stronger at hand to hand combat and self-defense, Srugim reported Monday.

During a class Rabbi Sherki was teaching about recent events, he said, “There are attacks, and then they say, gentlemen, we must strengthen our study of Torah, our charity, our prayer. Utter nonsense! (the Hebrew term he used was Shtuyot B’mitz agvaniyot — nonsense in tomato sauce). How is this related to the attacks? If there are attacks, we should be strengthened in Krav Maga, in self-defense and in imposing Israeli sovereignty [in Judea and Samaria].”


Rabbi’s Sherki’s son, Yochai Shalom Sherki was murdered by Arab terrorists on April 15th this year, when an Arab terrorist drove into him and Shira Klein as they waited at a Jerusalem bus stop.

Known for his habitual thinking outside the box, Rabbi Sherki added that “there is dejection. What is the source of this dejection? That we don’t pore over the overall significance of the Torah. We’re seeing a lot of people who learn Torah, and they have no satisfaction! Torah is not reviving them. Why? Because [their Torah] is not whole. It’s not meeting all needs of the soul. It is limited to highly technical and detailed pilpul-Talmudic rhetoric, and does not deal with the overall scope, the meaning of that Torah.”

“The spiritual thing that’s missing here is courage. There is no courage, so we get this agony. Courage is something spiritual. And when you deal with small-minded Torah and suffering comes, you are slack-handed and can’t solves the problem.”

“Instead of organizing a public prayer, demonstrate!” Rabbi Shaerki continued to surprise his students. “It’s more serious, it’s a real answer. It is true Tshuva-repent. Don’t hide behind slack-handed religious activity, which has nothing to do with what’s happening.”

Rabbi Sherki clarified that “it is obvious that we must always strengthen the study of Torah and fear of Heaven, but it’s beside the point.”

Rabbi Sherki went on to say that “someone told me there is a great virtue: when there are attacks, recite the sacred incense passage [in the prayer book]. Utter silliness! The incense passage was recited at the time of a pandemic, that’s brought by Rabbi Isaac Luria (the ARI zl). During Rabbi Luria’s time they did not know how to handle an epidemic, there was no antibiotics, so at least they recited the incense passage. But when it’s something that’s in your power to do, what’s the point in your reciting the incense passage? Bring on the medicine.”


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  1. This applies only when you or somebody else’s life is directly in danger. It does not, however, refer to somebody who has come to destroy property owned by you or somebody you know. In the case of all property damages, one is permitted to demand monetary restitution from the culprit. In lamest terms, sue his/her ass.

  2. There is no denying miracles when you see the State of Israel but you don't want to be so Heavenly minded that you are no earthly good. Hashem will prepare the way but He is not going to drag you by the nose and force obedience; and He is not going to do all the work as we sit by and wait. In Divrei Hayomim we read Jehoshaphat appointed they sing praise to Hashem but the army followed ready for battle.

  3. I am a former soldier and I agree you must know how to defend yourself and others with deadly force when necessary. Hand to hand or close combat learning is a must, but you also must also have a close relationship with HaShem. G-D can and will fight for you but again you must be doing what He wants you to do. In every battle in the TORAH G-D helped the Israeites only when they were doing what he had told them to do. When they went their way and not G-D's way he allowed them to be defeated.
    My answer is you must be in both places, In the will of HaShem and be prepared with knowledge of combat. Shalom

  4. b"H Ralph Moran is closer to it: the Emes is that if we would use some of our energy to entice some of our brothers and sisters to observe Shabbat according to Halakha, we would have peace, real peace as promised by HASHEM. The REAL battle has to be against our own Yetzer hara (of those who would rather die and let others die rathe than keep Shabbat and of those who would rather die than invite a non-observant brother or sister to a Shabbat meal or more….

  5. Utter nonsense! He can say whatever he wants, but that's all it his "his subjective opinion". We Jews know and believe that whatever God does is for a reason, how do we get closer to knowing what he wants from us? We look at he writes in the Torah. It's pretty clear, follow my ways – choose a way of life and you will live, choose…. "
    God doesn't need our help in protecting us. When Sadam Hussain shelled Israel with scud missiles" no defense system" was adequate to stand up against it, but miracle after miracle was seen in does days. It was obvious that God had an umbrella and directed every missile where to land. He doesn't need our help.
    This is not to say that we should not have and train a army and security personnal, we should. God instructed us not to rely on miracles, but we have to keep our heads above the sand and know who's really protecting us. What good is Karav Maga worth if a terrorist drives you over with a car?!?

    But for the general public We do need to strengthen in torah and Mizvot as that's ultimately our strongest shield!

  6. We live – in this world, we are faced with existential threats – in this world. The Torah commands us to live – in this world and to deal – with this world.

    Torah is important, but not to the extent that we repeat the sin of the spies. Something that is happening all the time.

    How often I see poeple that are so steeped in Torah that they do not interact with the world – that, is why it is said that derech eretz comes before Torah !

  7. That is decidedly not what he said @Yoel Rosenberg, he is saying that learnign Torah and Mitzvos is ALWAYS appropriate but to think that that is ALL we have to do is foolish. Clearly we also need to learn to defend ourselves…unless you just want to walk willingly into the crematoria @Yoel? The Torah specifically admonishes (It is a d'Oraisa) Deuteronomy 22:26: Habah l'hargecha hashkem l'hargo — "If someone is coming to kill you, rise against him and kill him first." (BTW, turning the other cheek, is a Christian concept, not a Jewish one! Jews live by a code of law and justice.

  8. Hi Ralph. I think the Rav here would agree with you. His admonition is to those who specifically advocate studying more and more as an antidote, to the exclusion of any practical actions. Obviously, if one can increase their Torah and mitzvoth, and also learn to defend themselves, that's ideal. But right now, in addition to living life according to the Torah, one should focus on acquiring skills for self defense…

  9. Lisa Neuman This is why we have an army and a police force. Nowhere in the world is the citizenry expected to train themselves to perform on the street like a pro. Life is dangerous. And when it's your time to go, it's your time to go. These encounters with terrorists aren't much different than a run-of-the-mill accident. You can't plan for it and you can't prepare for it and you really can't defend yourself against it. It's like an act of God (which it truly is).

  10. I heard him on the Radio saying the same thing. He said, when you are well and healthy, recite the tehillim that it should remain that way. If you become sick however, don't just pray, take medicine. We are in a situation where we need to both increase in Torah and mitzvah AND take matters into our own hands by learning to defend ourselves.

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