Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Rav Steinman: Learning Torah is "Cruelty"

The camp of Rav Shmuel Auerbach maintains that Rav Aharon Steinman is unforgivably weak in his support of the yeshivos and in protesting against the government. The majority of the charedi world disputes Rav Shmuel Auerbach's camp; in fact, Rav Chaim Kanievsky went so far as to call him a  zaken mamre (!). However, Rav Auerbach's camp has the potential to run a campaign in which they can describe Rav Steinman in an extremely negative light. For Rav Steinman has said that learning Torah is cruel and wrong!

Can you imagine? Learning Torah is the very greatest mitzvah of all. Talmud Torah Keneged Kulam! In the history of the Jewish people, ever since Sinai, has anyone at all, much less a rabbinic leader, said that learning Torah is cruel and wrong?!

The facts of the case are undisputed. There was a movement to institute an additional learning session for people in kollel on erev Shabbos. Rav Steinman was against it. He said:
"The time before hadlokas neiros is one of the most hectic times in a home the entire week. It is cruel to leave one’s wife alone at the time to take care of the home and the children."
There you have it. Rav Steinman said that learning Torah is cruel and wrong!

Of course, anyone with half a brain can see that it is immensely misleading to portray Rav Steinman's position in this way. He was not talking about learning Torah in general. He was talking about learning Torah in a very specific circumstance - when you have an obligation to help your wife prepare for Shabbos. It would be wrong and hateful incitement for Rav Steinman's opponents to present this as "Rav Steinman Says Learning Torah Is Cruel And Wrong."

Yet this is exactly what the entire charedi world, in Israel and the US, is doing vis-a-vis the Government of Israel. Mishpacha magazine's cover this week bears the headline "Holy Criminals: Can a Jewish state deem Torah study a crime?" But as discussed last week, the Jewish state has done no such thing. It is not remotely a crime in Israel to learn Torah. It is, however, a crime to evade the universal conscription, whether you are secular or religious, and no matter what you are doing with your time (unless you are charedi, in which case most of your community will continue to receive an exemption).

Nobody is threatened with prison because of what they are doing with their time; they are threatened with prison because of what they aren't doing with their time. To present this as "Learning Torah is a Crime" is wrong and hateful incitement, just like claiming that "Rav Steinman Says Learning Torah Is Cruelty."

If you'd like to complain to Mishpacha, please write to them at editorial@mishpacha.com. (To make your letter more successful, please try to leave my name out of it.)

And if you've got a strong stomach, watch the video below about the rally, produced by Kikar Shabbat. The accompanying soundtrack and editing highlights the appalling consequences of arranging an event idealizing selfishness. Some people who were at the rally are protesting this video, but it's the inevitable outcome of the values that produce such an event. (As usual, if you are reading this via e-mail subscription, you'll have to go to www.rationalistjudaism.com to see the video.)

72 comments:

  1. The sub title of this blog declares that the blog is about exploring the legacy of medieval Torah scholars and various other notes. Instead, it has become a pulpit for spreading your views on Chareidim. To put it more bluntly, it has become a Chareidi bashing blog.

    I'm not sure what your point is with this and, to be honest, I don't really care. You have an issue with Chareidim. OK. We all get it.

    Whatever it is that you're trying to accomplish, why don't you put it all in a different blog and keep this one on topic. In the Chareidi bashing blog you can vent and rail all you want and there can be animated discussion in the comments about what you've said. It'll be wonderful.

    You're doing a disservice to this blog by posting all this stuff here.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Im pretty sure R. Slifkin can do whatever he pleases with the blog, the same way you can go ahead and translate a Noam Elimelech one week if you so pleased (I love your work, by the way).
      Coincidentally, it just so happens to be that many people's notion of a 'rationalist Judaism' eschews the political nonsense and irrationality of the Haredi scene in Israel. Similarly, to use the word "bashing" would lead one to think that R. Slifkin is being unfair, dishonest, and gratuitous in his commentary on the Haredi world (and he has ample personal pretext to do so); however, an impartial reader can clearly admit that his postings (while many, and yes, at the expense of the purely 'Torah' ones of old) are anything but.

      Delete
  2. I did not have the stomach to watch the whole video. Vile, disgusting and loathsome. They portray on-duty soldiers, and PM Netanyahu speaking to the UN about the Iranian threat, as "dvarim betelim," and at one point portray the security personnel at the rally as "yoshvei keranos." An absolute disgrace. Moshe Rabbenu shows gratitude to the river and to the dust of the earth, but these people can't show gratitude to the people who protect them?

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  3. Moshe David, nobody's forcing you to read this. Personally, I think that these issues are not only of extreme importance, but they are also intimately related to the divide between rationalist and non-rationalist Judaism.

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  4. At the very least, tell us what your mission is. What are you trying to accomplish by pointing out bad things about Chareidim? You're obviously not interested in convincing Chareidim to mend their ways. Is it to warn the rest of us just in case we want to become Chareidi? Please let us know what the point is (if there is a point.)

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  5. There are plenty of readers of this blog who are charedi to a lesser or greater degree, or who have associations with the charedi world. I am trying to teach them.

    Also, to reassure non-charedim that Mishpacha etc. does not reflect the values of all Jews.

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  6. Who put out that video? Does it REALLY portray the way most Chareidim think--"..on-duty soldiers, and PM Netanyahu speaking to the UN about the Iranian threat, as dvarim betelim, and at one point portray the security personnel at the rally as yoshvei keranos."?

    Andy

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  7. The Chareidim have literally gone off the rails. The lunatics have taken over the asylum. It's hard to believe the lies, disortions, and hysterical histrionics that they have resorted to, in a vain attempt to gather support for "the cause".


    The leaders are the guilty parties here; they not only permit this behaviour, but they foment and encourage it. Their portrayal of secular Jews, soldiers, PM Netanyahu, and Mr. Lapid is an absolute disgrace. I've said this before, and I'll say it again: By becoming religious 25+ years ago, I had no idea what I would be signining on to.

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  8. The cool guitar lick about 3 minutes into the clip wasn't learned by someone sitting in a beis medrash.

    It's interesting that so many of the attitudes that have seeped into the chareidi world come from the lowest echelons of the non-Jewish world. As someone pointed out, the creator of the term, "Million Man March," is Louis Farrakhan.

    Also interesting that no one in this clip is actually learning Torah. One of them in fact is a boy scattering leaflets across the street.

    At this point, speaking personally, I'm not reacting with dismay or anger. I can't comprehend a culture with these perceptions and values.

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  9. It is disingenuous to portray the argument the way you have. Does R' Aron Leib Steinman say to put yourself in an environment that has no regard for Torah values because your wife needs help?!

    i.e. the issue at hand is not strictly learning or not learning Torah per say, but rather forcing a non Torah lifestyle on the Chareidim. Please don't tell me the army will accommodate. We all know that is not going to happen.

    Your logic is faulty and you either know it and are being insincere, or you don't know it but your hatred for Chareidim is blinding you.

    Either way, take a step back and get a grip.

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  10. the issue at hand is not strictly learning or not learning Torah per say, but rather forcing a non Torah lifestyle on the Chareidim.

    Fine. So say that the issue is that a hesder/ Nachal Charedi lifestyle is non-Torah and unacceptable. But don't say that the Government has declared Torah study to be a crime.

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  11. You should know betterMarch 5, 2014 at 7:55 PM

    Well said, Moshe Dovid. But I don't think the author is interested in your valid observations. He's too busy trying to teach all of us with his intolerance and negativity (you would think such a brilliant thinker would know you catch more flies with honey).

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  12. clarity requiredMarch 5, 2014 at 8:02 PM

    You keep talking about Chareidim being forced into the army.That wasn't the issue at this atzeres at all. The issue we are talking about is , should lomdei torah be forced to close their gemorrah and go to the army, or not.That is the reason ALL factions of Torah learners were there, From Toldos Aron to Mercaz Harav.The working Chareidim were there too,as were most of the baalebatim in rbs where you live. The army for chareidim is a TOTALLY different issue.Stop mixing up the two totally separate ideas. What we are discussing is Torah Learning as a value for which they should get a patur like doctors in America at the Vietnam war

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  13. Oy Vey, Am I the only one that can see the delicious irony in a Chareidim created song, editing it and putting it on 'youtube', i.e. which can be obtained only on the internet, is a non-Jewish, secular forum and is clearly a medium of tv and or film ? I wonder which group dislikes all of these things, but is using them now? Tut, tut.

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  14. "The issue we are talking about is , should lomdei torah be forced to close their gemorrah and go to the army, or not."

    The issue is whether the charedi community should make SOME of its lomdei Torah close their gemara temporarily and go to the army.

    "Torah Learning as a value for which they should get a patur like doctors in America at the Vietnam war"

    LOL. No American government would tolerate such exemptions for upwards of ten per cent of the population, in such a serious situation as constantly faces Israel!

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  15. The unending inability/lack of desire to see beyond dalet amot - from actually calling this criminalizing Torah study (when someone who wants to do ANYTHING other than learn instead of serving in the army has even less leeway to defer) to refusing to have the slightest modicum of hakarat hatov to everything else involved here - bespeaks either a motzi shem ra of Chilul Hashem proportions or a lack of awareness which is pathological and arguably diagnose-able in its
    extremity.

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  16. The difference between the Jew and the Gentile ?

    The Jew is referred to as a "B'nah Israel" - a child of Israel.
    The non-Jews are referred to as "Goyim" - the Nations.
    Even a single non-Jew is referred to as a "Goy" - a Nation.
    Why is a non-Jew referred to as a Nation when the Jew is referred to as a child of Israel ?

    The answer is simple and obvious.
    The Gentile can break off from his people and through his descendants become a complete distinctive Nation in his own right, leaving his former people to fend for themselves in their time of needed support or even become their enemy.

    Whereas a Jew (in the eyes of the Torah) will always remain bound with his covenant, a recipient of the blessings and inheritance which Hashem swore to our forefathers to give to all their descendants.

    Avos 1:14 states, "If I care only for myself, what am I ?"
    The answer to this question should also be simple and obvious.

    RNS quoted the Chumash in the last blog with "Moshe Rabbeinu's declaration, "Shall your brothers go to war, and you remain here?!" Bamidbar, 32:6

    Just to point out that this statement by Moshe was said to the tribes of Gad and Reuvein who wished not to crossover the Yardein to Israel. How much more so does it apply to the tribes who did crossover to Israel.

    In a reference to Moshe, Avos 5:18 states,
    "Moshe was righteous and led the people to righteousness."

    If we are not learning from the Torah, we are not learning Torah.
    o

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  17. This video is much further from authentic Judaism than a million high schools wearing tefillin.

    ReplyDelete
  18. The issue is whether the charedi community should make SOME of its lomdei Torah close their gemara temporarily and go to the army.

    So who will tell the single avreich that "Dov Lipman says that you cant learn anymore,but your friends can"?
    That is hardly the point. The writer of this blog keeps bashing Chareidim instead of the Lomdei Torah

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Rabbi MK Lipman. If you want Torah, show Kavod HaTorah even when you disagree with the politics.

      Delete
  19. Moshe David, I totally support R' Slifkins connection between rationalism and anti charedi ideals. He came to more rational thought as a reaction to non-rational charedi mechanistic mitzva philosophy and I had a very similar experience. I suspect there are a lot of people out there thinking in a similar way and highlighting the where such a philosophy leads is highly instructive.

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  20. The video is sick. I am speechless at the stupidity. What would Israel look like if they were at the helm? Any better than Iran? I shudder to think.

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  21. I just don't understand this galus mentality in Eretz Yisrael. Why shouldn't a Jew want to participate in protecting Jewish lives by serving in the army? If a Yid can be on call for Hatzoloh, is willing to train for ZAKA, or drive an ambulance for Zichron Menachem why wouldn't he want to learn how to protect Klal Yisroel from their enemies? Why do people think this is mutually exclusive from being a Ben Torah? Is it appropriate for a Ben Torah to send others to die on the battlefield in their stead because of the desire to learn Torah? Where is the achrayus? The issue is not limmud Torah, but rather the legitimacy of a governing authority to make decisions that obligate the tzibbur. The caustic tone of the Chareidi community at the demonstration shows that they appreciate the freedoms of democracy but have yet to internalize the cost of protecting these freedoms. It's sad to see the bad attitude of spoiled yeshiva bochrim looking down at those who are moser nefesh mamash for Clal Yisrael.

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  22. What's very interesting about all this is that, with that exception of the Diaspora Chasidim, its only the Israeli Chareidim who don't want to work. The UK and US Chareidim are fine with it.

    Another point I have never seen raised but is obvious to anyone who's been through the Yeshiva system.

    What about all those Bochurim who, for one reason or another, are not using their time properly at all in Yeshiva? We've all been there and seen plenty of guys who just aren't interested in learning. Why does no one agree that these guys should contribute something useful to society? Their Torah -or lack thereof - surely isn't a protection to anyone?

    Am I the only one to be puzzled by this?

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  23. "...but rather forcing a non Torah lifestyle on the Chareidim"

    This so-called Torah lifestyle is an invention, no older than fifty years.

    Sitting in a kolel all day and expecting to be supported from public funds is an anti-Torah abomination.

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  24. Mordechai Gordon said...
    The video is sick. I am speechless at the stupidity. What would Israel look like if they were at the helm? Any better than Iran? I shudder to think.

    Worse, actually. The Iranian government for all its horrible excesses and backwardness works. It maintains a modern, technological, mixed economy despite decades of unremitting economic warfare.

    This is in stark contrast to the Charedi model of subsisting on handouts and low-wage, low-skill work, largely in self-created markets for religious goods and services.

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  25. "...but rather forcing a non Torah lifestyle on the Chareidim"

    This so-called Torah lifestyle is an invention, no older than fifty years.

    Sitting in a kolel all day and expecting to be supported from public funds is an anti-Torah abomination.

    ReplyDelete
  26. I have never heard a secular Israeli say his son is forced to stop learning in college and go to the army. You go to college, army, then back to learn in university if you like. Why are charedim so afraid their children won't come back to learning after army. It is not like they are forbidden to study forever after.

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  27. Moshe Dick writes:
    There is a reaction brewing and the chareidim will be the losers, whatever others may think. Yes, "Moshe David", we are bashing the chareidi leadership for their hypocrisy and total disregard for what the IDF and the soldiers have done,protecting them all those years.
    Lastly,let me use Emile Zola's famous words: "J'accuse" I accuse those so-called Gedolim for their cowardice and self-interest, taking money by the barrellfull from the medinah snd then turning around and refusing to share in its welfare. "J'accuse"' those so-called gedolim for their hypocrisy in keeping the bulk of their bochurim in poverty while they keep their own children in sumptuous apartments and make shidducchim only with the wealthy.
    J"accuse' those so-called Gedolim in lying to their flocks and being "moreh shelo kehalocho" when arguing that only learning is a worthwhile proposition- on other people's backs, of course.
    And lastly, "J'accuse" all of the chareidim in turning their backs on their jewish brothers and sisters and sucking the economic blood from their brothers and sisters,without gkiving anything back.
    A terrible reckoning is coming and I fear for the chareidi world.

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  28. "tell us what your mission is."

    Instead of attacking the messenger, why don't you provide some kind of defense for what is described here?

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  29. I think that the fact that there will be sanctions on the Yeshivos that do not have a high enough percentage of bachurim enlisting gives lie to the premise of your post.

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  30. While chareidim represent less than 10% of the Israeli population today, 30% of Israeli first-graders are charedim.

    So at what point does the system fail? When 30% of the population refuses to serve in the army or be productively employed?? 50%? 80%?

    It is fairly evident that this system cannot continue indefinitely.

    We are taught "Chacham ainav b'rosho" ... so I guess the charedi leaders who can't figure this out are either not the chachamim they pretend to be ... or worse...they know very well that this is unsustainable but don't care

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  31. The description of the video should include a warning:
    May induce vomit!

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  32. Shirat Rosh: Or, worse, that they do care about bringing and end to a State they've never been comfortable with in the first place. That's what all this is about, after all.

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  33. Clarity is right. If we believe that learning Torah is a valuable activity for Am Yisrael then we, as a nation, should be supporting it. People commenting here have the nerve to call people learning Torah and getting money from the government parasites. That's like calling a soldier a parasite because he gets money from the government. If we believe that learning Torah full time has value for our nation then it's a zchus to support the learners.

    If it's at least as valuable to our nation as a jobnick in the Kirya, then why should the Torah learner be forced to leave it to become a jobnick in the Kirya?

    Mordechai Gordon, There may be a connection between anti Chareidi and rationalist Judaism but that doesn't mean it belongs in this blog. This blog is touted as exploring the legacy of the rationalist Rishonim, not as showing how Chareidim are not rational.

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  34. But the rationalist Rishonim did not believe that learning Torah is a service for the nation. Teaching Torah, yes, but not learning Torah.

    (Incidentally, this also responds to your claim that criticizing the charedi approach to army is not connected to Rationalist Judaism.)

    And even if you want to believe that it is a service, it's certainly not remotely a sacrifice on the level of going to the army.

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  35. R' Natan,

    You wrote, "And even if you want to believe that it is a service, it's certainly not remotely a sacrifice on the level of going to the army.

    A person who learns Torah for 10 hours a day is sacrificing at least as much as most of the people who are in the army. He's sacrificing at least as much as an army secretary, economist, pencil pusher, cook, musician in the army band, etc, etc.

    It's true that he's not putting his life on the line like a combat soldier, but then neither are 90% of the people serving in the army.

    And regarding the view of the rationalist Rishonim, not holding of that view does not make someone a parasite! There were plenty of Rishonim who were not of that camp.

    ReplyDelete
  36. A person who learns Torah for 10 hours a day is sacrificing at least as much as most of the people who are in the army.

    No, he is not. He does exactly what he wants to do when he wants to do it. He can go home every Shabbos. He can go home whenever he wants. When he's married, he never has to leave his family.

    It's true that he's not putting his life on the line like a combat soldier, but then neither are 90% of the people serving in the army.

    But 10% are - in fact many more, at least at some stages. And the non-Charedi community is ready to say, we are providing those people. Each family says, My children might be one of those people.

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  37. He does exactly what he wants to do when he wants to do it. He can go home every Shabbos. He can go home whenever he wants.

    But he doesn't. And he works much harder than most of the people in the army. You know as well as I do how difficult it is to succeed at consistently learning day in and day out for 10 hours a day. It is draining. Yeshiva students stay in Yeshiva 3 Shabbatot out of 4. In the army, soldiers go home 3 Shabbatot out of 4.

    So what is it? The freedom of being able to go home whenever you want. A boy who slacks of and goes home whenever he wants will soon find himself out of the Yeshiva he's in.

    You learnt in Yeshivos and you know the truth of what I'm saying.

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  38. I learned in yeshivos for many years. I learned every day from 7am until 11pm. I learned on Friday mornings and Motzai Shabbos. But I did not sacrifice anywhere near as much as my nephews in the IDF. (Aside from the fact that my learning did much for me but nothing for the country, unlike the efforts of my nephews.)

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  39. It depends what your nephews did in the army. If they put their lives on the line, that's one thing. If they did not because they were doing other jobs, then you definitely had a harder job than them.

    You did nothing for country in your view. According to others, you did a tremendous amount for the country.

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  40. Every one of my nephews in the IDF, and my wife's cousins, puts their lives on the line constantly.

    But even those who don't, are still putting themselves out for others, not for their own personal intellectual stimulation and spiritual satisfaction.

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  41. Everyone understands that there are soldiers who are sacrificing more than a Yeshiva student. My point is that most of the people in the army are sacrificing less and Yeshiva students do not deserve to be denigrated because they are not sacrificing more.

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  42. I do not believe that most people in the army are sacrificing less. And I do believe that the Charedi community is wrong for taking a stance as a community that they refuse to provide the manpower for those who (even according to you) sacrifice more.

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  43. Moshe Dovid Tokayer, in the majority of cases the sacrifice is not resulting in any intrinsic objective value for anyone outside their deluded society. If I sacrifice all my time and energy in the pursuit of something that only has objective value to me, I cannot expect anyone else to appreciate it let alone support it or make legal exceptions for it.

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  44. You are right if, and only if, you do not accept the premise that learning Torah provides a valuable service for Am Yisrael. As I wrote in the first post on this subject, it all boils down to this. If we accept that premise, then it follows that the government should be supporting Yeshivos with our blessing. If that premise is not accepted (as you do not accept it) then studying in a Yeshiva is no excuse for not going to the army and anyone in the army regardless of that person's job is doing more for the country than a Yeshiva student.

    What bothers me, is why you disparage the Yeshivos for accepting the view that they are sacrificing for Am Yisrael. Although the rationalist Rishonim may hold otherwise, it is certainly within the mainstream that learning Torah helps Am Yisrael.

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  45. Again: Even if you believe that learning Torah helps Am Yisrael, you still believe that we need an army with soldiers making difficult sacrifices. Why should the Charedi community be exempt from providing towards that pool?

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  46. No one is forced into combat units. You can ask to be assigned to a non-combat unit and, as I mentioned in an earlier post, the large majority of soldiers are performing non-combat duties.

    If someone volunteers for a combat unit, that's admirable. But if someone doesn't, no one puts him down because of it.

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  47. There is no comparison between individuals being assigned to non-combat units, and an entire community refusing, on principle, to send anyone to any units.

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  48. You are confusing two issues. We can and should differentiate between the organs espousing "Chareidi" principles and individuals wishing to spend their days learning Torah on behalf of Am Yisrael.

    You can rail against some of the nonsense that you find in Chareidi newspapers and magazines and you may be right. That's one thing. It is unrelated to the Yeshiva student who wants perform the valuable service of sitting and learning Torah all day long everyday on behalf of Am Yisrael.

    When an individual decides to study in Yeshiva, he doesn't look into HaMishpacha to see what it says. Btw, I new a Chareidi dayan in Petach Tikva who did not allow any newspaper into his home even Chareidi ones.

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  49. Mr. Tokayer,
    The Charedi community needs even a bigger jolt than this blog, be it bashing - is this does the job.

    Natan - Am a huge fan!

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  50. Moshe David,

    The charedi community needs a jolt to shake them out of the slumber and more importantly out of their hypocritical practices. After the outcome of Shaked comitee demanding more is usurping and unethical form any point of view. And Yes if it "Bashing the charedi community" does the job be it.

    @Natan - you are my Hero! Huge fan! Leiby

    ReplyDelete
  51. It is irrelevant whether I accept the premise that learning Torah provides a valuable service for Am Yisrael or not. I happen to not accept it, but what is relevant is neither do the Israeli government nor the majority of the citizens of Israel. It is therefore ridiculous to expect them to make any special considerations for it.

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  52. Moshe Dovid-

    You are asking why the government doesn't recognize the dedication and importance of Torah study. Doesn't almost 40 years of complete exemptions, with stipends for kollel count for anything? The government has COMPLETELY supported the Torah growth of Israel and you pretend as if they haven't. What have they gotten in return? Have you ever been to a gathering or speech that Haredi Rosh Yeshivas have sponsored as a day of thanks for this unprecedented funding? Have you ever heard of a Haredi Rosh Yeshiva telling certain boys that they need to serve in the IDF because they aren't dedicated enough to their learning? Have you ever heard a Haredi rosh yeshiva give thanks to the Medina and the IDF who have made this all possible?
    In fact all we hear are curses and screaming, much like a spoiled child who has no thanks to anyone for anything.

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  53. No, he is not. He does exactly what he wants to do when he wants to do it. He can go home every Shabbos. He can go home whenever he wants. When he's married, he never has to leave his family.

    But this is exactly the problem with the army.The army is an authoritative body that can force you to obey any order or face penalty.So even if the army makes accomodations for the charedim,practically it will be at the armys discretion and it will be able to invoke any operational reason not rescind these accomodations. It is not like at work where you receive instructions from your superiors. Generally you can discuss with your superior and he will listen to you. he needs you also. The army has the ultimate stick of prison or confinement and no carrot. At the end of the day it does you a favor if it listens to you at all.
    So I believe that this is one factor that prevents charedim for going to the army, because at the end of the day the army always has the last word and will change any arrangement at it's whim.
    I was in the army and did miluim. You cannot believe the army and it will break its promises.
    Another thing is that during miluim I did totally unnecessary guard duty and did not feel I was contributing anything, but used as an excuse for the army to receive extra budgets an justify the need for manpower.

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  54. Moshe David, a little pointer. Most jobniks do guard duty - and that is potentially putting ones life on the line . And many also do guard duty on settlements. I myself once did guard duty at a settlement near the Gazan and Egyptian border.

    Then there are those who serve in a semi hazardous environment - technicians that service aircraft for example. They also potentially put their life on the line. Accidents can happen.

    How about the rescue members of a base? Or those that work in the armory?

    Not all jobniks sit in cushy offices. And again, many that do still perform guard duty.

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  55. Regarding the claim that soldiers in non-combat roles are not contributing, this is untrue. No modern, technology-based army can function without all these positions. It is also important to remember that ALL soldiers are given weapons training, and there have been numerous cases where soldiers who were hitchhiking or in other public venues saved peoples lives by neutralizing terrorists with their weapons.
    ( I will now quote Ze'ev Jabotinsky which will no doubt upset some people but I will go ahead anyway: "Jews, learn to shoot!".)
    The claim that armies are inefficient and that there are numerous soldiers who really don't do anything also doesn't make any difference, because there are kollel students who also warm the chairs in the Beit Midrash and don't contribute anything either.

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  56. Moshe David Tokayer-
    Do you really think studying in Beit Midrash is as difficult as doing guard duty for hours in sweltering heat or freezing cold or drenching rain in a dangerous place? Is it as difficult as doing a 30 km march with a heavy backpack in unpleasant weather with a sergeant screaming at you? Really? Do you seriously believe that?

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  57. clarity requiredMarch 6, 2014 at 2:26 PM

    I really admire your ahavas yisroel. Do rationalist Rishonim permit such hatred of other jews.

    Again STOP talking about CHAREIDIM in the army its a total DISTORTION of the topic on hand. the issue is LOMDEI TORAH not Chareidim. If you want to talk about them, publish a separate post ,but that has nothing to do with the rally!!!!!!!

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  58. Rabbi Slifkin wrote, "There are plenty of readers of this blog who are charedi to a lesser or greater degree, or who have associations with the charedi world. I am trying to teach them."

    Even though the logic of Rabbi Slifkin's arguments is compelling, there is also a severe peer pressure among the charedi groups not to break with the party line.

    If the moderate elements among Charedi Rabbonim could be convinced, it would be a lot easier for their constituents to go for army service/community service/secular education.

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  59. The video seems to have been removed. Anyone have another link?

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  60. R' Natan, ignore those who accuse this blog of being a chareidi bashing forum. The fact is that the chareidi world is growing exponentially and all the problems and dysfunctions of that world are spreading out to the rest of the Jewish world. Unfortunately, no chareidi themselves seem to lack the introspection and self-awareness to correct their own mistakes, so the only way the rest of the Jewish world can attempt to stem the tide of their insanity from infecting our lives, is through writers like you who bring these problems to the public's attention, and expose their deceitful practices.

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  61. Mr. Tokayer: No yeshiva student is doing his learning so as to benefit the State of Israel (or anything else). The charedi leaders do not favor full-time learning so as to benefit the State of Israel (or anything else). I can virtually guarantee that. The whole "protects the country" is apologetics for the non-charedi masses.

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  62. avi you can also see the video at http://dai.ly/x1ezwtn

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  63. and it's now also at http://youtu.be/Yp9cQHLIihs

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  64. Moshe Dick writes:
    Moshe Dovid Tokayer , clarity required and others are either not understanding why the chareidim are now universally despised now or they are purposefully misrepresenting what the new law is and what the non-chareidi tsibbur is supporting. NO one- I repeat-NO ONE- is shutting the yeshivos or dragging anyone away from their gemoros (shame on mishpacha magazine for their front cover). The Israeli governments have given more money and allocated more funds to mosdos hatorah in the past sixty five years than all the zedokos put together over he past millenia.Without the support of the government, there would barely be an yeshivos today and certainly no kollelim. For this, they have been despised and attacked for years now. When was the last time a "mi sheberach' for soldiers was said at any chareidi shul? Indeed, when was the last time that any chareidi leader showed some hakoras hatov to the other five million jews who make it possible for them to learn?
    What the new law does is bring some sanity into system. Possibly the majority of the people attedning kollel should not be there and certainly do not merit to be supported. This is what the new law is attempting to correct. To bring the chareidi tsibbur into the normal world, where people work, earn a good living and yes, contribute to the defense of the land.
    The attempt at demonizing the army and saying that no one can stay frum there is a blatant lie. Thousands and thousands of Israelis have been to the srmy and lead very good religious lives. No one is attacking the chareidi way of life.
    The chareidi world is at a crossroads- they either become a constructive psrt of Israeli society or become a cancer amidst them, with tragic consequences.

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  65. The Mesilas Yesharim says we should be like soldiers in our service of Hashem - implying he believes soldiering more intense than the Be is Medrash. Were there no Talmidei Chachamim in Yavesh Gilad?

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  66. clarity requiredMarch 7, 2014 at 8:03 AM

    To MOshe Dick
    First of all you are making it sound like NONE of the chareidim work. Why cant you believe that all the people (or most)REALLY REALLY want to be learning.Now, if that is true, I see NO reason to send them away from their gemorah just because Dov Lipman says that "they aren't good enough"
    Also don't try to convince me for one second ,that Yair Lapid,or his cronies,with that gloating look have the best interest of the chareidim in mind.If he really cared he would notice the many changes taking place in the chareidi world already. This whole act is sickening and anti Torah learning .again STOP mixing up chareidim with torah learning

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  67. I see NO reason to send them away from their gemorah just because Dov Lipman says that "they aren't good enough"

    No, the reason to send them away from their Gemara is that we need to protect ourselves from our enemies. As Moshe Rabbeinu said - "Shall your brothers go to war, while you sit here?!"

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  68. I am referring to the post that says only SOME people can learn not others .No one person has the right to decide which person can and which person should not learn.If you hate torah learning in general then I agree with you,but since you (used to) value Torah at least admit that it is something inmportant

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  69. can you write a post about R' Aharon Feldman trying to influence the ramat bet shemet elections (I read on daattorah that hes giving a talk), he gave a whole shmuz in ner yisrael how everyone in yeshiva has to go to the new York rally against the draft (for which theyre charging $25 a person and will take 8 hrs roundtrip and cause everyone to miss a full day of learning)and now hes going to miss it himself because he went to Israel (I think to try and influence the elections of all americans who live in RBS), does he have some kind of klout with Israeli americans?

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