Friday, March 7, 2014

A Time To Weep, A Time To Smile

Like many people, I was very depressed this week as a result of the massive chillul Hashem that was the Million-Man Prayer Rally. Here's a letter that I received from a friend:
My son did two years in Yeshiva AND THEN was a lone soldier for 3 years as a sniper, in much danger. Baruch Hashem he came to no physical harm, but having had to kill people very personally (as opposed to dropping bombs) who knows what psychological scars he has.
Since then he has started pre-medical school course at the age of 23, meaning that he won't qualify until aged 30, when his friends are done much earlier. This week, he has very important exams which will define where and if he can get into medical school proper. However, he has to forgo taking these exams as he has army reserve duty. This is the "hidden" burden that the Charedim are not sharing as well as the actual 2 or 3 years service.
I am sure this is a common scenario, but having now experienced it almost first hand and having seen the disruption this causes, it is not surprising that resentment of those shirking this responsibility is extremely high. 

In light of the rally in Jerusalem, the appalling video, and the forthcoming rally this Sunday in Manhattan, many people are in a sad, bad mood. So here's something to make you smile - a video produced in response to Kikar HaShabat's disgrace:

And here's a parody of the flyer for this Sunday's rally in Manhattan:

Of course, it's not true to say that the new law aims to make Yeshiva Students do their fair share of National Service. Even under the new law, charedim will be doing much, much less than everyone else.

UPDATE: I've just heard that there is a counter-rally planned. I don't know much about it - see this link.


  1. If nothing else the video is humorous.

  2. A very nicely done video. I'm proud to have served in the IDF even if it was only for a very short period of time (I was 40 when I was drafted, 25 yrs ago).

  3. Your friend is right. We could maybe overlook the sacrifices, because nothing significant is ever *really* going to be appreciated by anyone else anyway, but to get that same ingratitude time and time again, that's a real kick in the teeth. Then they act offended that we feel resentful, and that is truly the final straw.

  4. A great video; it made me smile but also made me very sad. It emphasized the contribution of many Hareidim who serve in the army, but also made the disconnect with the million man marchers (machers?) that much greater and even more upsetting.

    R. Slifkin- Daat Torah posted an advertisment for a "lecture" that will occur in your home town this motzi Shabbos, concerning the upcoming elections in RBS. The key speaker is Rabbi Feldman of Ner Israel:

    I'm very curious for a report on this milestone event.

  5. How is it a "milestone event"? Rav Feldman's son-in-law is a local kano'i rav, so no surprises there. Not sure how Rav Shmuel Kamenetzky has an informed opinion, he's never even stepped foot in Bet Shemesh, much less spoken to Eli Cohen or any Cohen supporters.

  6. This is a thorough and articulate response to the charedi demonstration:

  7. only wish they wouldn't only have included our frum chayalim, ela kol achenu bet yisrael ha'mashkimim la'amod al mishmar artzenu.

  8. I agree completely with ani yehudi/t sentiment-wise, but unfortunately that would have wound up playing into the hands of the chareidim who oppose army service -- "proof" that being in the army means entering a secular, anti-Torah environment. The video was wonderfully done -- yet another example of the cliche that a picture is worth a thousand words.

  9. I hope that there is some other big story on Sunday so that the media ignore what will certainly be described as a huge anti-Israel rally by religious Jews.

  10. "Milestone event"- I was being facetious. Are the RBS Hareidem that desperate that they need to import American Rabbeim to lend support to their cause?- which I assume to be in support of the incumbant mayor Abutbol? I called it a "milestone event" because it demonstrates how desparate the Hareidim have become, that they will do anything to project a facade of legitimacy, regardless of how pathetic their true intentions really are.

    I am looking forward to a report on this event.

  11. Moshe Dick writes:
    Thanks for posting the wonderful video skewring the original vicious video. The piece of genius is using the original song!
    As far as the item about Beth Shemesh- the chareidim must be very worried politically that they are starting to lose the religious war. They are even importing outsiders to defend their positions. Can you imagine if they lose the election??? Be prepared for vicious attacks and unbridled hate.

  12. not only do charedim not support our chayalim, they actively object, refusing them admittance to their neighborhoods / batei knessiot and batei midrash.

    my small shul in new jersey has two brothers currently serving in the IDF (one of them being trained as a sniper -- didnt realize psychological issues invloved till this article; anyway, he's not a cohen) and one usarmy reservist (quasi baal tshuva, but we support him) who served two tours of duty in balad / iraq and one in bagram / afghanistan.

    the two brothers have a much older brother who learns in kaminetz kollel system. i presume they dont wear "madim" ( = uniforms) when visiting him.

  13. Unfortunately the hareidi "problem" is a direct consequence of the nature of Israel as a Jewish state.

    What does it mean in the long run when a country's immigration policy is based solely on ethnicity? When anyone defined as a Jew can move to Israel and automatically become a citizen, regardless of how unwilling they are to contribute to their country? When it welcomes with open arms those who are opposed to its very existence as a state, but zealously excludes those who are more than willing to do their fare share, to participate in society, to put their life on the line, to call the state of Israel their home, but who don't happen to have the right genes?

    What are the long term prospects for a country with that type of policy?

  14. If you truly want to make a difference and not just be involved in rhetoric join us and show up on Sunday for a peaceful and respectful protest to let these people and the world know that they don't represent the mainstream!!! If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem.

  15. Adam from ManchesterMarch 9, 2014 at 1:58 AM

    I'm afraid I don't agree. Whilst the second video might raise a smile momentarily I think it is descending to the abysmal level of the promoters of the original.
    It is a bit childish tit-for-tat behaviour.

  16. How right you are! I know some people comment that you should stick to the main subject of this blog (rationalist judaism), but I think you perform a valuable service with posts like this. If nothing else, you show that a person can study for years in yeshiva and still have enough common sense, decency, and empathy to see this army issue for what it is. This gives chizuk to those, such as myself, who hear the constant whining and arrogance that comes from the so-called "Torah world", and wonder if there is something about all of this Torah study that turns these people deaf to the basic unfairness of the blanket deferment they are so desperate to maintain.

    I especially appreciate the last paragraph of your post: Of course, it's not true to say that the new law aims to make Yeshiva Students do their fair share of National Service. Even under the new law, charedim will be doing much, much less than everyone else.

    To hear these people shout and cry and whine, to hear how persecuted they seem to feel, you get the feeling they think this "forced conscription" (is there any other kind of conscription?) they speak about is a special punishment being visited upon them for the crime of being haredi. When, in fact, as you point out, even under the law being proposed by "Amelek" Lapid and "Hitler" Bennett, they are still getting quite a few special benefits. Keep speaking the truth - maybe, eventually, some of it will seep through the massive propaganda blanket this so-called "Torah world" has thrown up around itself.

  17. If the below was Abutbol, you and others would be all over it to get him disqualified from running. Lets see how emesdik you are and publish this as a blog and why it should or should not matter

    גלנט 2: האם אלי כהן הוא

    עבריין בניה?
    תחקיר 'בחדרי חרדים' • המועמד החילוני לראשות העיר בית שמש, אלי כהן, מתגורר בדירה הבנויה בין השאר על שטח ציבורי • מדובר בחלקה 35 שעל פי הטאבו אמורה לשמש כמעבר ציבורי לרחוב הל"ה הסמוך • בפנים: צילומי אוויר מהשטח ונסח הטאבו המלא • האם כהן יודיע על פרישה מהמירוץ בעקבות החשיפה? • כהן: "הבית נבנה לפני 60 שנה, ונקנה לפני 26 שנה"
    נחמן גור, בחדרי חרדים 21:40 08/03/2014

    24 |
    לצפייה בתמונות מוגדלות לחץ כאן

    בעוד הבחירות לעיר בית שמש נכנסות לישורת האחרונה, והמאבק בין המועמד החרדי משה אבוטבול למועמד החילונים אלי כהן מתלהט, חושף 'בחדרי חרדים' מסמכים שעשויים לשנות את התמונה לחלוטין, ואולי אף למנוע מכהן את ההתמודדות.

    מדובר בפרשה דומה לזו שמנעה בזמנו מיואב גלנט את תפקיד הרמטכ"ל: הרחבת בנייה - לא חוקית לכאורה - על שטח ציבורי.

    שכניו של המועמד לראשות עיריית בית שמש, המתגורר ברחוב רמב"ם 134 בעיר, לא יודעים שהשטח שצמוד לביתו, ואשר מפריד בינו לבין שכנו ברחוב הרמב"ם - מוגדר בטאבו כשטח ציבורי השייך לעיריית בית שמש, ואשר אמור לשמש כמעבר לרחוב הל"ה.

    הם לא יודעים זאת מהסיבה הפשוטה: ביתו של המועמד לראשות העיר בנוי גם על השטח של השביל הציבורי, וממילא השביל אינו יכול לשמש ליעודו, כיון שהוא משמש ליעוד פרטי של אלי כהן.

    כפי שניתן לראות בנסחי הטאבו המצורפים, חלקה 35 נמצאת בבעלותה של עיריית בית שמש, ואילו חלקה 20 מחולקת לארבעה חלקים והיא בבעלותם של אלי כהן ושל שכנו ח.ל. כאשר על פי נסח הטאבו - הקומה הראשונה של החלקה שייכת לכהן והקומה השניה משתייכת לח.ל.

    בצילומי האוויר של שירות המפות הממשלתי, ניתן לראות בבירור כי הבית בחלקה 20 גולש לעומק אל תוך השטח של חלקה 35, שכאמור, אמורה לשמש כשטח ציבורי. האם חריגת הבניה אכן נמצאת בבית שבבעלותו של כהן? ובכן, על פי הנתונים בשטח והמסמכים המצורפים, ניתן לראות כי הכניסה לביתו של כהן היא מרחוב הרמב"ם - במקום בו נמצאת חריגת הבניה.

    יצויין, כי בנסח הטאבו המקורי של חלקה 35 ישנה הפניה להערה תכנונית "בש 99". אולם מעיון בהערה תכנונית זו ניתן לראות, כי החלקה נשארה במקומה בשטח הצמוד לחלקה מספר 20.

    עורך דין המתמחה בנושא זה, הסביר ל'בחדרי חרדים' כי "לפי הנתונים הכתובים שחור על גבי לבן, כהן הוא עבריין בניה לכל דבר. אלא אם הוא יצליח להוכיח שעיריית בית שמש החכירה לו את השטח, ומשום מה זה לא עודכן בטאבו".

    הפנינו את השאלות הבאות לאלי כהן, לדובריו ולעיריית בית שמש: האם אלי כהן קיבל היתר מיוחד לבנות בשטח ציבורי? ולחילופין, האם עיריית בית שמש החכירה לכהן את השטח או ביצעה עמו עסקת חילופי שטחים? והאם הוא מתכוון לפרוש מהמירוץ בעקבות חשיפת הדברים?

    דובר עיריית בית שמש, מתי רוזנצוייג, סירב להגיב לידיעה.

    דובר מטה אלי כהן: "מדובר בבית שנבנה לפני 60 שנה ונקנה כפי שהוא על ידי אלי כהן לפני 26 שנה. בכל שאלה בעניין נא לפנות לבן גוריון".

    ביתו של אלי כהן. צילום: בחדרי חרדים

  18. > I hope that there is some other big story on Sunday so that the media ignore what will certainly be described as a huge anti-Israel rally by religious Jews.

    Oy! Do those poor Ukrainians need more grief just to distract folks away from us?

  19. Jon said, "This is a thorough and articulate response to the charedi demonstration:"

    What I liked most about Rabbi Bar Hayyim's lecture was the suggestion at the end: that perhaps National Religious rabbis that are accepted in the charedi world, should speak to the Charedi gedolim, to somehow convince them that the charedim shouldn't feel threatened by push for bochurim going to the army, or integrating with the rest of Israeli society. The major hurdle would be to succeed in getting the trust of the Charedi rabbis.

  20. Doug said...
    If the below was Abutbol, you and others would be all over it to get him disqualified from running. Lets see how emesdik you are and publish this as a blog and why it should or should not matter

    He should withdraw because his opponents claim that his house may violate the Beit Shemesh zoning regulations? Have you managed grab a full handful of straw yet?

  21. Rabbi Slifkin,

    A moving letter there & great song and very catchy tune. I put this on at work and my non-Jewish colleagues also liked it (even if they didn't understand the language). What is perplexing is that I have non-Jewish friends who understand that Israel needs to have a much larger army than its size or population warrants, which can only come via conscription, but some of our own people do not.


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