Thursday, February 13, 2014

"Torah-Hating" Secular Jew Fights For Torah Study

Ayelet Shaked is a secular Israeli. She is a partner with Naftali Bennet in Bayit Yehudi. She heads a committee to equalize the burden of military service in Israel, i.e. to bring charedi yeshivah students into the IDF. As far as spokesmen and leaders in the charedi world are concerned, such as the editor of Mishpachah magazine and various charedi Rabbanim (including some purportedly moderate charedi rabbanim in my own neighborhood), all this must mean that she is a Hater of Torah.

Yet this week, Ayelet Shaked fought for certain yeshivah students to be able to continue their studies for an additional two years. According to an article in Arutz Sheva:
After two days of voting and debate in the Shaked Committee, chairwoman MK Ayelet Shaked (Jewish Home) has successfully passed a law that will allow students in Zionist yeshivas to continue their studies until age 23.
The committee, which is tasked with creating a law on army service for hareidi men, had decided that hareidi men should be allowed to study in yeshiva prior to enlisting in the military, but should be required to enlist by age 21.
Many committee members initially said the age-21 cut-off should apply universally, meaning that long-term students in Zionist yeshivas would be required to enlist at the same age. Shaked and others fought that approach....
The committee ultimately voted to accept an alternate proposal according to which students at Zionist yeshivas will be allowed to delay enlistment until age 23. A select group of 300 students will be allowed to postpone enlistment until age 26.
The vote indicated a significant change in the committee’s position, and marks the first time that authorities have officially recognized the importance of Torah study.
Why would a secular, allegedly Torah-hating Jew fight for yeshivah students to defer their enlistment for even longer? The article explains the position of Shaked and her supporters:
Nearly all students in Zionist yeshivas do eventually enlist, they said, and students at pro-enlistment schools should not be punished for low enlistment rates at other yeshivas.
The students in question are learning about the importance of enlistment in yeshiva, and therefore do not need the threat of sanctions to motivate them, they argued...
Shaked expressed satisfaction following the vote to accept her proposal. “Religious Zionists contribute more to the country than any other sector of society,” declared Shaked, who is secular. “It is good that Members of Knesset realized that, and allowed students to continue their important Torah study – knowing that the study leads them to contribute to society, both through their learning itself, and through their army service and many years of reserves service.”

So there you have it. Ayelet Shaked is most certainly not a "hater of Torah." She values Torah immensely - when it is a Torah that is connected to Am Yisrael and Eretz Yisrael. Even in the Yesh Atid party, MK Ofer Shelah said that he has great respect for Zionist yeshiva students because 80 to 85 percent of them serve in combat units.

Bayit Yehudi and even Yesh Atid are not "haters of Torah." Almost nobody in Israel is a hater of Torah. People are haters of selfishness, of ingratitude, of a system in which one sector is financially subsidized by the rest of the country while refusing to share the difficult burden of army service and simultaneously being ungrateful to the extreme. Yet such a system is in any case the antithesis of traditional Torah values and directives. A Torah of love, of being a part of Am Yisrael, of making sacrifices for other people, of valuing the contributions made by others - the way Torah is supposed to be - that's a Torah that everyone loves and respects.

(Thanks to reader Yonah Saunders for forwarding this news to me.) 

22 comments:

  1. That would be Mercaz, wouldn't it? Hesder Yeshivas go in at 20, as do "yeshivot gevohot" like Shavei Chevron and Itamar and Maalei Gilboa, right? So this law is for Mercaz. Fine, I know some people who will be very happy with this law.

    OTOH, how in the world can you distinguish a "Zionist" yeshiva from a non-Zionist yeshiva? If a yeshiva decides that they want to conform to the requirements such that they also get to defer to 26, and then join the army, how do they go about doing so? Do they need to hire some "Zionist" rabbis? Do they need to start teaching R' Kuk? Seriously, how do you make a law like that??

    But I agree, she is not a hater of Torah, and neither is Lapid, nor Dov Lipman nor the vast majority of Israel.

    It is very hard to create intermediate steps that would be functional.

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  2. The orthodox/charedi should not think despite Ayelet Shaked being a secular Jew diminishes her from having a Yiddish-er cop in anyway, as is evident among many secular Jews.

    If theory proves true, she has outwitted her charedi opponents big time.

    A young man at 18 years of age has a more of an attitude thinking he knows everything and the like, and has less responsibility then someone at the age of 23 when he would feel a greater sense of responsibility and not wishing to jeopardize his future as much with foolish behavior.

    Making the 18 year old more difficult to draft, it would be simpler to leave him wherever until he is more mature and easier to deal with.
    Very clever very smart.
    Five stars for Avelet the next female MP of Israel.
    o

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  3. "and even Yesh Atid are not "haters of Torah." Almost nobody in Israel is a hater of Torah"

    LOL. Yeaa right. Ein Atid certainly are haters of the Torah and its funny (and sad) that some either do not get that or purposely support their agenda. As long as someone doesn't declare that Din Torah triumphs any secular man-made law, they are basically on the side of the erev-rav.
    Do you need a list of the evil actions Ein Atid is doing? Not only them but from within the State from the beginning their were/are elements who fight against the Torah of Am Yisrael, from day 1.

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  4. Also you cannot be selective in the claim of "Milhemit Mitzva". Protecting Jews is a great thing, sure, but the army doesn't only do that. It also puts Jews unto unnecessary risk in trying to protect its enemies instead of fighting against them as need be. It also is a place where the people in charge are secular and in many places and instances of bad influences upon the young soldiers. That is a major problem. You cannot just address people not serving or wanting to serve without addressing the behavior within the army, of which was commanded to be a Holy army and an army of Halacha and not of secular man-made law.

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  5. If the goal of Yesh Yatid was not destroying Yeshivot system and not secularizing Haredim via army service, why would they left Arab out? They could do at least national service.

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  6. For the sake of intellectual honesty it should be mentioned that the dominant view amongst Yesh Atid members is to reject deferment for Hesder Yeshivas.

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  7. I cannot believe how naive you come across as in this piece. The reason why Shaked agreed to this has nothing to do with whether she is a lover or hater of Torah, but with the fact that this bill needs the support of HaBayit HaYehudi in order to pass. The Zionist Rabbinic leadership are looking out for their own by demanding the adding of this amendment to the proposed law in exchange for their acquiescence to its passing. They do not need the backing of the Chareidi parties to pass it, and are therefore not extending this allowance to them. This is pure self-interest and party politics as usual, not an indication of anyone's valuing of Torah Study.

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  8. Great post. I embrace your conclusion wholeheartedly:

    "Almost nobody in Israel is a hater of Torah. People are haters of selfishness, of ingratitude, of a system in which one sector is financially subsidized by the rest of the country while refusing to share the difficult burden of army service and simultaneously being ungrateful to the extreme."

    I wish your balanced approach was the dominant one in our society of extremists!

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  9. Have to agree with some of the commenters here. Your dislike of Charedim is causing you to look at their opponents naively, with rose-colored glasses. I notice the general on the committee, quoted in the Israel Today piece, now wants to go after "dozens" of Chabad guys doing shlichut, which he called "evading army service." So a few dozen guys "evading" the army are so important a target to go after? And this right after the sneak move with the Israeli high court last week. And all of this has nothing to do with anti-religion, right?

    I'm not saying there's no problem with Charedim. There plainly is. But the enemy of your enemy [to use a phrase] is not always your friend. If you think Lapid & Co. are great lovers of Torah, and they all respect Mafdal, and they like charedim too but just want them to serve in the army - then you're not seeing things clearly. You always try [wrongly] to stifle your dissenters by saying they're not entitled to an opinion if they don't live in Israel. I think the opposite is true. Sometimes being too close to something prevents you from having a clear picture of it. That you live in Israel, and in Beit Shemesh, and have been in the midst of charedi excesses, is causing you to see things distortedly. Try to look behind the pretty faces and soothing words.

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  10. DF,
    You dont have to be a hater of Torah if you're not a lover of it. It could very well be that Lapid is accepting of other lifestyles as long as they don't present a threat to his own. Or for example if these other systems gain from him by milking the system.

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  11. Warren Burstein said...
    "and even Yesh Atid are not "haters of Torah." Almost nobody in Israel is a hater of Torah"

    LOL. Yeaa right. Ein Atid certainly are haters of the Torah and its funny (and sad) that some either do not get that or purposely support their agenda. As long as someone doesn't declare that Din Torah triumphs any secular man-made law, they are basically on the side of the erev-rav.


    So anyone that doesn't agree with your PoV is a "hater of Torah". By that wide definition, yes, there there are going to be lots of "haters of Torah", probably everyone from MO to the left.

    Also you cannot be selective in the claim of "Milhemit Mitzva". Protecting Jews is a great thing, sure, but the army doesn't only do that. It also puts Jews unto unnecessary risk in trying to protect its enemies instead of fighting against them as need be.

    By this reasoning each person can exempt themselves from the Army based on political disagreements. Since there are always going to be political disagreements, everyone is exempt until Utopia is established. This seems unworkable.

    It also is a place where the people in charge are secular and in many places and instances of bad influences upon the young soldiers. That is a major problem. You cannot just address people not serving or wanting to serve without addressing the behavior within the army, of which was commanded to be a Holy army and an army of Halacha and not of secular man-made law.

    And then those that try to set up Charedi units are criticized for some other reason.

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  12. IT WAS CLEAR FROM THE STARTFebruary 14, 2014 at 6:34 PM

    And meanwhile here's what your hero, Dov Lipman, has been up to.
    --------------------------------
    MK (Yesh Atid) Dov Lipman is presenting a bill that was formulated in consultation and cooperation with Chief Rabbi David Lau. The bill seeks to get tough with recalcitrant husbands, and this includes imprisoning the husbands in a regular prison, not the Torah Wing, denying them mehadrin food, and prohibiting them from making telephone calls other than to their attorney or rabbinical pleader. Lipman already signed 14 MKs to the bill including a number of MKs from Bayit Yehudi"

    ---------------------------------
    "What do you mean, Dov Lipman is a great guy, he's not a left winger, he LOVES the Torah world, he's not a self-obsessed egomaniac at all, he's a true-blue talmid chacham!"

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  13. Who are the haters of Torah and who are the lovers of Torah. This is an extremely challenging equation to conclude. Therefore let us analyze this equation from a rational point of view.

    When his time is up and the Zionist secular Jew goes up to heaven i.e. the world of truth, he will be asked, "What did you do for Yiddish-kite, for Am Yisrael?" What can he answer. He can say only the truth. He must say.

    "I worked the land plowing and harvesting, for it is saturated with my sweat. My blood too was spilled in the wars in defense of its people. My sons gave their lives for Israel, my daughters too served in aid for Israel. I have sacrificed and toiled all my life in the rebuilding and prospering of Hashem's holy land making it possible for all my fellow Jews to return in security to their homeland the home of our forefathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. All this I had done for Am Yisrael."

    OK, not bad, but lets compare it to how the charedi Jew will respond. What can be said when in heaven the world of truth other then the truth.
    His answer therefore must be.

    "I have had long payot all my life, never cutting them not even an inch.
    I wore a shtreimel which was made by causing tza'ar baalei chaim and which I paid over $3000.00 for, even though I had never worked a day in my life, a black hat on the weekdays, and a long black coat, even if I do not know the meanings of why we wear these garments.
    Seating in the Yeshiva/ Beis HaMidrash learning halacha fabricate by the Gedolim that goes against the views of Chazal, the Rishonim and the Acharonim, i.e. man-made halacha.
    Spitting on dati-leumi elementary school girl's.
    Perpetrating massive fraud in the recent elections in Bet Shemesh.
    Demonstrating by destroying my fellow Jew's property when we have a court system in place and our own MK reps. to argue our grievances peacefully.
    Spitting on the mothers, sisters, daughters, and wifes of our fellow Jews who refuse to give up their right as full paying passengers to seat at the front of the bus. etc. etc. etc.
    But my biggest achievement was Cursing my fellow Jewish secular Zionist and all those who make it possible for me to live in security in the land of Israel and those who pay their taxes that make it possible for me to receive my monthly government stipend.

    When comparing the two it is clear who are the haters of Torah and who are the lovers of Torah.
    o

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  14. Let's not get carried away. The Torah is not always a "Torah of love." The Torah has firm opinions on all sorts of subjects -- not all of which makes your average secular Jew happy. Or must Torah values always give way before secular ones in the interest "peace between brothers"?

    Now, even when one fights, one can fight dirty or fight with dignity and respect. But I think the Torah most certainly requires us to go way beyond "love" in this day and age of societal decadence.

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  15. Lazar said...
    If the goal of Yesh Yatid was not destroying Yeshivot system and not secularizing Haredim via army service, why would they left Arab out? They could do at least national service


    To me, this always is the most absurd objection. Why should Charedim join when Israeli Arabs are exempt? Are you looking to make all Charedim into the equivalent of the Neturei Karta? Can you see a difference between the possible loyalties of Israeli Jews and Israeli Arabs?

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  16. I wouldn't take a thing Shaked says at face value.

    Last week she most despicably sold the lives of thousands of Israelis to Big Tobacco.

    She actually said, in the Committee of Economic Affairs, that we cannot significantly lower the smoking rate, because it would affect the (tobacco) industry and small businesses.

    This is an actual quote, (you can download the source from the Knesset site here bit.ly/1caDjjy)

    אני לא מעשנת, אבל בין זה ובין לפגוע גם בכלכלה גדולה של עסקים קטנים, של "פיצוציות" או איך שקוראים לזה, וגם בפרסום – עלינו לנהוג באחריות. אני חושבת שההחלטה של משרד הבריאות משקפת באמת אך ורק את עמדת משרד הבריאות, אבל עלינו חברי הכנסת מוטלת האחריות לבדוק את כל ההשלכות על המשק.

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  17. Who are the haters of Torah and who are the lovers of Torah. This is an extremely challenging equation to conclude. Therefore let us analyze this equation from a rational point of view.

    When his time is up and the Zionist secular Jew goes up to heaven i.e. the world of truth, he will be asked, "What did you do for Yiddish-kite, for Am Yisrael?" What can he answer. He can say only the truth. He must say.

    "I worked the land plowing and harvesting, for it is saturated with my sweat.
    My blood too was spilled in the wars in defense of its people.
    My sons gave their lives for Israel, my daughters too served in aid for Israel.
    I have sacrificed and toiled all my life in the rebuilding and prospering of Hashem's holy land making it possible for all my fellow Jews to return in security to their homeland the home of our forefathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
    All this I had done for Am Yisrael."

    OK, not bad, but lets compare it to how the charedi Jew will have to respond. What can be said when in heaven the world of truth other then the truth.
    His answer therefore must be.

    "I have had long payot all my life, never cutting them not even an inch.
    I wore a shtreimel which was made by causing tza'ar baalei chaim and which I paid over $3000.00 for, even though I had never worked a day in my life, a black hat on the weekdays, and a long black coat, even if I do not know the meanings of why we wear these garments.
    Seating in the Yeshiva/ Beis HaMidrash learning halacha fabricate by the Gedolim that goes against the views of Chazal, the Rishonim and the Acharonim, i.e. man-made halacha.
    Spitting on dati-leumi elementary school girls.
    Perpetrating massive fraud in the recent elections in Bet Shemesh.
    Demonstrating by destroying my fellow Jew's property when we have a court system in place and our own MK reps. to argue our grievances peacefully.
    Spitting on the mothers, sisters, daughters, and wifes of our fellow Jews who refuse to give up their rights as full paying passengers to seat at the front of the bus. etc. etc. etc.

    But my biggest achievement was never expressing sincere gratitude to my fellow Jewish secular Zionist and all those who make it possible for me to live in security in the land of Israel and those who pay their taxes that make it possible for me to receive my monthly government stipend.

    When comparing the two isn't clear who are the haters of Torah and who are the lovers of Torah.
    o

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  18. @David Ohsie
    Can you see a difference between the possible loyalties of Israeli Jews and Israeli Arabs?

    I can, but this is irrelevant. Israeli Arabs get all benefits of citizens. They are learning in colleges, becoming doctors and even judges. If you can trust an Arab to be a surgeon in Haifa hospital, why could he do national service prior to becoming a doctor?

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  19. About the age thing: the army pays married men more. Allowing the age to be that high would cost the army a lot of money.

    Creating more Chareidi units would adversely impact the role of women in the army.

    Expanding National Service by orders of magnitude would create an additional gov't bureaucracy

    Yet not having any law on the books, which is the case right now, is pure chaos.

    I hope and pray that whatever law they create is efficient, enforceable, and affordable.

    "Fair" would be also be good, but I'll settle for "explainable"

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  20. About the age thing: the army pays married men more. Allowing the age to be that high would cost the army a lot of money.

    Creating more Chareidi units would adversely impact the role of women in the army.

    Expanding National Service by orders of magnitude would create an additional gov't bureaucracy

    Yet not having any law on the books, which is the case right now, is pure chaos.

    I hope and pray that whatever law they create is efficient, enforceable, and affordable.

    "Fair" would be also be good, but I'll settle for "explainable"

    ReplyDelete
  21. Lazar said...
    @David Ohsie
    Can you see a difference between the possible loyalties of Israeli Jews and Israeli Arabs?

    I can, but this is irrelevant. Israeli Arabs get all benefits of citizens. They are learning in colleges, becoming doctors and even judges. If you can trust an Arab to be a surgeon in Haifa hospital, why could he do national service prior to becoming a doctor?


    Still not sure how this is relevant. An Israeli Jew will refused to serve in the IDF or even national service until the Israeli Arabs are made to do the same? That makes them Neturei Karta (and I don't think that they are).

    And let's face it; defacto Israel is a Jewish state. I'm happy that Israeli Arabs are given equal rights to the degree possible, that Arabic is an official language, etc. (and I'm sure many commenting here are not), but the state is geared to the needs of Jewish citizens and to a degree Jews abroad. It does not bother me if the the Israel Arabs don't have the same exact service requirements, even if not all of it is based on potential conflicts of loyalty. The key is to keep a unified state with loyal citizens.

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  22. I more or less agree with Yehoshua Ducker. I think the exemption for Hesder students is a disaster. It makes the Religious Zionists look like they are out to get the Haredim and looking out for their own petty interests. It’s a Chillul Hashem. (Disclaimer: I learned at a hesder yeshiva, but I dodged the draft by not being an Israeli citizen.)

    ReplyDelete

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