Thursday, April 17, 2014

But At What Cost?

Today I attended a shiur by a Dati-Leumi Rav on the topic of yeshivah students and army service. At one point he told a story about a friend who had lost a son in battle. This friend was particularly bothered by charedim who did not send their sons to serve, to the extent that at the shivah for his son, he didn't want any of them to come. Anyway, after the shivah, the Rav's friend asked him if anything could be done to encourage charedi yeshivah students to at least davven for the welfare of soldiers. "Perhaps if they were all to do so, boys like my son would not be killed!" he said.

And so the Rav went to the leading Rosh Yeshivah in the charedi world that he had a personal connection with, the late and great Rav Nosson Tzvi Finkel of the Mir yeshivah, a very fine and wise person. He asked Rav Nosson Tzvi if it could be arranged for some sort of tefillah to be said. And the answer was a firm no.

Rav Nosson Tzvi explained his reasoning. If the students of the Mir yeshivah davvened for the soldiers, they may come to respect and appreciate what the soldiers are doing. This in turn could lead them to join the army. And this could lead some of them to go off the derech. If that happened to even one student, said Rav Nosson Tzvi, he could never forgive himself. Therefore, he said, they should not davven for the soldiers.

The Dati-Leumi rav's response was that this does not reflect well on the charedi education system if its products are so fragile. But I don't think that that is such a strong or relevant criticism. Instead, I think that there are two other responses to be made.

First is that if one truly believes that those thousands of yeshivah students are doing something very valuable, then presumably one would also believe that the prayers of those thousands of Torah scholars are of great value. If so, then it would seem very selfish to deny those benefits for the welfare of soldiers merely because of the potential risks to the yeshivah students. (Indeed, it is for a similar reason that one cannot accept the argument that charedim don't go to the army because of the spiritual risks involved - it is selfish to insist that only others take risks because you don't want to.)

The second rejoinder to be made is as follows. Yes, by not praying for the welfare of those putting their lives on the line to protect us, you may have saved some of them from joining the army and dropping out of Judaism. But this has come at the cost of severely compromising the Judaism of all the yeshivah students, by educating them to lack basic hakaras hatov and Klal Yisrael consciousness. By trying to save Judaism, you have ended up tragically corrupting it.

77 comments:

  1. Hareidim pray every day for the safety of Israeli soldiers at the same time they pray for the safety of all Jews in Israel.

    Stop perpetrating this red herring against Hareidim.

    ReplyDelete
  2. He really was a "gadol baTorah", a great and wise man. Yet this line of thinking is ... indefensible. On a practical level, on an educational level, on a religious level. That davening for someone and showing appreciation for his efforts will make you drop what you're doing and go join him? And therefore it is better not to daven for them? Is this concept found anywhere in the Torah at all?

    Or maybe that's how it really was in that generation? That's what he saw happening? Nishtana HaTeva?

    And maybe yeshiva students were so few and far between that they needed to be protected at all cost?

    Even so, I do not understand.

    ReplyDelete
  3. "If" they daven...
    "If" they come to appreciate the soldiers...
    "If" some join the army...
    "If" someone goes off the derech...

    1. That's a lot of "if's", to justify not doing something you feel is right.

    2. Charedim go off the derech every day (i.e. no "if's" - it's already happening), and in many cases it's due to precisely this kind of thinking - unjustified fearfulness, leading to religious excesses and extremism, and sometimes being too "scared" to do the obvious right thing.

    In other words, charedi ideology itself causes people to go OTD - how about being a bit more "fearful" of that, instead of being so blindly confident?

    ReplyDelete
  4. I also have trouble believing the story as told, although David's apologetic doesn't answer the point (we also pray for the sick, why specify someone?).

    ReplyDelete
  5. Sorry - the story doesn't ring true, sounds like it has been exaggerated or embellished or maybe made up. Even if Rav Tzvi was against praying for the welfare of soldiers (and I have no idea whether he was or not), wouldn't he have just said that we don't believe in modifying the Nussach Tfilla in the siddur or something similar, rather than such a convoluted answer that would reflect badly on the entire Haredi system.

    ReplyDelete
  6. We specify specific sick people when there is imminent danger, otherwise the general rofei cholei amo Yisroel applies. Same here. We daven "Hu Yaaseh shalom aleinu v'al kol Yisrael" etc for soldiers and every Jew, but when Israeli soldiers were camped-out on the border of Gaza pending possible ground-invasion my son's Chassidish yeshivah made a special tehillim assembly on behalf of the soldiers. Adding a specific daily addendum to the tefillah of international Jewry for all the ages would indeed be making quite a statement, no?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "my son's Chassidish yeshivah made a special tehillim assembly on behalf of the soldiers."

      Which (type of) Chassidish yeshivah? Agudah/Chabad/NK/DL?

      Delete
  7. Adam, Manchester UK.April 17, 2014 at 11:39 AM

    I really really hope that the story is apocryphal. Otherwise another 'great' is diminished.

    ReplyDelete
  8. story doesn't make sense...
    doesn't want charedim to come to shiva... then says maybe if they all davened my son wouldn't be killed... rav nosson tzvi's answer might be something he'd say in a general context (although it doesn't make sense then) but certainly not when dealing with someone personally emotionally hurt... whole thing sounds dubious.


    ---


    but i agree with david meir. the thing that makes people go off the derech is not exposure to the army.

    (i am reminded also of reading an article saying that the solution to kids going off the derech is to invest more effort teaching fundementals of emuna in school. my experience with these so called "emuna" classes is that a few more of them and I'd be an apikorus. faith in judaism is created by seeing the strength and beauty of people living it, not by being handed shallow, pat answers to hard questions. emuna cannot be "taught", not in the sense of being taught in school.)

    ReplyDelete
  9. What does it say about those who pray if by praying for someone else they can lose their connection to Hashem? Doesn't that contradict the whole essence of the idea of learning and praying? It doesn't even begin to make sense.

    They wouldn't be praying for the army, but for those who are serving to live and be well.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I do not understand those who do not find the story plausible. Is there a more plausible reason as to why charedim won't say any form of prayer or tehillim for soldiers? This is the reason.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Plausible reason" = hatred for the "medinah". (Plausible for them.) Thats the true reason.

      MiMedinat HaYam

      Delete
    2. How about a tfillah so that children (and adults) dont go OTD? Closest i can think of is tfillat hashal"ah, said once a year. And birkhat haBanim. Also said once a year begore kol nidrei.

      MiMedinat HaYam

      Delete
    3. How about the tfillah for ne'edarei tzahal (missing soldiers)? Would saying that cause OTD?

      (real reason, besides hatred of the medinah, it was written by a DL, rav of ramat gam.)

      MiMedinat HaYam

      Delete
    4. moshe says
      The simple reason. These soldiers are not frum and dont keep the torah. According to orthodox tradition one is not allowed to pray for their welfare whatever they do to us.

      Delete
    5. Moshe, neither of your statements is factually correct. Additionally, that is not what the story says R' Finkel claimed. And, the fallen soldier in the story was a frum Jew.

      Delete
  11. I agree with David. Let's look for ways to promote Ahavat Yisrael and enough Charedi bashing. I teach at a local Ulpana and indeed have taught in Mamad for 36 years. I am heartbroken by the current witch hunt promoted by the law branding non-army serving yesthiva boys criminals. Yes, induct shababnikim and those wandering the streets NOW. But serious Torah learners AND the IDF together protect our land, Bezrat Hashem!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Who will you consider a serious learner? Btw, i don't know in Israel, but here in the US, i spent time in yeshiva .chashuvah, i saw some serious learners, but i saw more whi are here, because they have to be here. I suppose he should be the same in Israel. Learn the halacha of whigoes to milchamet?
      I lived in different countries, everybody who dodges the draft, he's arrested by tge police, it's the law. When a university student dodges the draft in Israel, he's arrested, so would you telk that they hate the university student. I know that you just repeat what your rabbi said, but it's based on lies. Call me an apikorsos, if it makes you happy. But i quit Charedi camp for those reasons.

      Delete
    2. And I am disgusted by people who sit fat and happy, regurgitating ancient legal arguments in dead languages while spitting on their benefactors.

      Every bite of food these "learners" eat is stolen from someone else's children

      Every night they sleep free from gunfire and explosions is because better men and women risk their lives for these ungrateful creatures.

      The Israeli economy is a wreck, and those who work but cannot make ends meet as well as those who legitimately cannot work starve because of the Charedi religion of indolence, ingratitude and cowardice. Let these self-styled Lords of Creation show Ahavas Yisroel for just a few months once in their lives. Let them earn their bread and be treated like any other Jew. It won't kill them.

      But it might do something worse. It could crack the armor of their smug superiority and teach them that they are men and women like anyone else. They might learn the joys of work and service. Worst of all, they might learn to think for themselves.

      Delete
  12. Rav Natan

    As told, Rav Finkel comes off as being obnoxious. I find it hard to believe that he would state his feelings in such a "in your face" manner.

    ReplyDelete
  13. "But serious Torah learners AND the IDF together protect our land"
    Sorry, but the Halacha does not present that as an exemption for army service. Apparently it is not considered to be of significant protective benefit.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry, but the Halacha does not present that as an exemption for army service. Apparently it is not considered to be of significant protective benefit.

      It depends on what do you consider the source of Halacha.

      Delete
    2. A guess about what you consider as a source of Halakha: the Rosh Yeshiva Union Bnei Brak Local?

      Temujin the Eager to Help

      Delete
    3. It's quite clear from Shulchan Aruch in Hilchos Shchenim (Simon 243) that one would not be exempted from his obligation to serve in the defense forces even if he is a serious learner.

      Only a Talmid Chacham is exempted. For further discussion of the definition of a Talmid Chacham in regard to this exemption see Trumas Hadeshen 342. Read it carefully, it's a very important piece.

      It seems clear that the Halakhic opposition in serving in the army as far as the new law is based on other halakhic considerations (Not rooted in Hilkhot Shchenim). Rather, it is based on an argument of "Shmad" or "Migdar Milsa," possibly some others. There certainly is no room to say that a "serious learner" may dodge the defense forces as far as the normative Bein Adam Lechavero of Hilkhot Shchenim is concerned.

      Delete
    4. Additionally, I am not bothered very much by Rav Sheinberg's response. It was not in a public forum and he was not talking to the Mourner himself. Therefore, the particulars of his answer were unimportant with regard to the feelings of others.

      As far as the choice to not pray because of a spiritual risk, I think that in halakha when it comes to things that are left in G-d's hands, we draw the line that marks the end of Hishtadlus as soon as we see any clear Spiritual issue - it is something that G-d does not want (Based on the given Halkhic system for determining what G- wants) so it cannot be a part of what he expects me to do in order to merit his salvation. Th e same would be truewith Tefilla which, I beleive would not differ from any other sort of Hishtadlus.

      Lastly, as far as evaluating the actual risk of the Bochurim in the Mir being influenced by a prayer for the soldiers. We are a little bit removed from the actual atmosphere that the Mir possessed at the time as well as the composite of the different types of Bochurim and Yungeldit there at the time. Therecore, for this concern I think it would be unfair to criticize Rav Nosson Zvi's approach as one who, presBly undersgood the situation (I think it's fair to assume that he was familiar with the Metzius)

      Having made a solely defensive stand here, I trust that my intellectual honesty, will be thoroughly grilled - Enjoy!

      Delete
    5. See my post above. Based on the approach I set out there to tefilla, it would follow that Rav Sheinberg's statement had little to do with the value of tefilla,but rather with a clear boundary of where G-d does not expect one to daven, and doing so would be unhelpful. There is no parallel to the case of giving physical aid to one suffering from a heart attack which would be a Mitzva Mideoraissa not a mere Hishtadlus. When we speak of something that it is a Mitzva Medoraissa, it is communicated to us clearly through the Halakhic system that in this situation G-d wants you to sacrifice and come close to said spiritual danger in order to perform the mitzva. The Hishtadlus isn't dechuya in the face of the spiritual danger but rather hutra.

      Delete
    6. Dear Nosson,
      How can you say that learning Torah does not protect us? It is a fundamental belief of Judaism that Torah protects us. Do you need sources to prove this basic tenet of Yiddishkeit? I am surprised how someone from can even think this!

      Delete
  14. I think the answer to "if one yeshiva boy goes otd I couldn't forgive myself" is "if one boy dies because your students wern't davening for him..."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How about I could hold my head up with pride "if one child lives because my son did his duty and picked up a rifle" or "if one poor child goes to bed with a good meal because our hard work provided for her"?

      Delete
  15. I felt sickened when I read this. I hope it's not true.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Your friend has a very irrationalist view of Tefila. He thinks that Tefilla cause God to change His will. Therefore he asks for others to pray for soldiers. Whereas Rabbi Finkel (according to this story - though I find it a bit difficult) has a more rationalist view of Tefila. He recognizes that that the purpose of prayer is to correct oneself and to realize that he owes God - and by praying for soldiers he recognizes that they are doing something for him.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I had the exact same thought - that (a) Rabbi Finkel's zt'l argument posits an extremely rational view of Tefila (that it changes the mindset of the pray-er and his relationship with the subject of the prayer rather than magically changing outcomes).

      I think this response also shows the practical failings of the spiritual idea of "Shluchei Mitzva Ein Nozkin". Here in the case of praying/learning/tehilim for someone in danger the risk is ENTIRELY spiritual and yet the Mitzva offers no protection whatsoever! (of course the counter-argument is that there is no mitzva to pray/learn/etc. for the safety of the soldiers, but then Rabbi Finkel's argument is a red herring).

      Delete
    2. I assume then Rabbi Finkel does not say tehilliem for a sick person since it does not chnage gods mind

      Delete
    3. I forgot to ad (b) that Rabbi Finkle does not seem to ascribe much efficacy to prayer. I assume that he would advise his students to help a wounded soldier who had fallen unconscious onto the road, needed CPR, or could otherwise be easily extricated from an otherwise deadly situation with high probability despite the spiritual risk to a yeshiva student helping a soldier. The calculus must therefore be that because prayer has a small chance of helping it's not worth the spiritual risk that would be worth it for physical aid that has a high likelihood of success.

      Very strange.

      Delete
  17. Chareidim do not consider the Zionist State of Israel to be a Jewish State or any greater an entity than the United States or the United Kingdom. (And perhaps a lesser entity.) Chareidim in the U.S. and the U.K. do not say a special prayer for American and British soldiers - not in times of peace and not in times of war. Even though those said soldiers are protecting the Jews of the U.S. and the U.K. So there is no reason for them to do so in Israel when they do not do so elsewhere.

    ReplyDelete
  18. This bubbe maaisa was already published in Shlomo Riskin's book years ago.

    Except that in that story, while otherwise being the same as above, it was about a different Chareidi Godol.

    It's fun passing around this kind of sheker.

    So long as the protagonist is a Chareidi godol.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Rav Natan,
    I would add a third response, one which even most of the Dati Leumi's yeshivot should learn too (and sadly the others are learning it the hard way).
    If your Dereh' is true and you can show it and have all the arguments for it, you don't have to be afraid, quite the opposite it's a great strength. By the way that's was the main argument of Harav Kook for teaching Emunah. But sadly most of the yeshivot in all the migzarim are still maintaining the weak way and spend more time forbidding every other thing than teaching how to tackle any difficulty...

    ReplyDelete
  20. I feel uncomfortable believing a negative secondhand account by an anonymous party of someone known for אהבת ישראל, not this sort of behavior. Would aforementioned DL Rav mind being identified?

    ReplyDelete
  21. I believe the story as told, the burden of proof is on the non-believers.

    The chareidi refusal to daven for the soldiers is also not a red herring. it is bona fide.

    For several decades, the chief Hashkafah decisor of the Litvishe yeshiva population was the late Rav Elya Weintraub, an American-born Litvish mekubal based in Bnei Brak who passed away a few years ago. He had been anointed as such by Rav Schach himself.

    During Operation Cast Lead, there was a large and widespread movement for each woman , chareidi and non-chareidi alike, to receive the name of a specific soldier and to say tehillim for him. When Rav Weintraub heard of this, he gave a shmuess (I have a copy) in which he forbade this practice, and in as clear language as clear can be, proceeded to explain why the soldiers are undeserving of our prayers.

    So I know that the truth hurts, and chareidi bashing is not politically correct, but the fact is that they are taught not to care one whit about the soldiers. I am sure many do care, but it is a fact that caring is not mainstream hashkafah for them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was not calling the story apocryphal. I merely think that aspersions against Rav Nosson Tzvi Finkel should be substantiated in order to be printed.

      Delete
    2. Darling, you don't seem to understand the concept of burden of proof.
      One does not prove one something did not happen, one proves that it did. I can't prove you did not see a blue horse yesterday but I don't need to believe you did unless you have convincing proof.


      I don't know about rav Weintraub, but I do know about rav nosson tzvi and the story doesn't sound correct, at least the way it's presented here. I don't know where in the telephone line the story got garbled.

      Delete
    3. Sweetheart, the salutation was unnecessary.

      The story was told by a live person, and unfortunately, Rav Nosson is not here to refute it. So it more reasonable to believe it is true until proven otherwise. But the truth or non-truth of the story is irrelevant to my point.

      Rav Nosson may have been a tzaddik, but he was in no way at the forefront of yeshivishe hashkafah. He followed the party line and no one is surprised by that. I have presented the party line as expressed in the shmuess at Ponovitche Yeshiva L'tz'irim during the war. It speaks for itself, and it is despicable. I suggest you read up on Rav Weintraub a bit, including the shmuess.

      Delete
    4. You're right, it was out of line. I'm sorry.

      I don't see why it's specifically reasonable to believe it just because the person saying it is alive and the person being slandered is not...

      I think there is a divide among the commenters here. You are focused on whether he might have expressed an - idea - along the lines presented here. I have no problem believing that because, as you mention, it fits with the party line. I have a problem believing that rav nosson tzvi would express himself, in such a scenario, in such a specifically callous way. (you'll argue that it makes no difference how he said it, the core idea is still cruel in and of itself... But it does make a difference, what it says about the person, even when hewing to the party line.)

      Delete
  22. You call Rabbi Finkel "great", and a "very fine and wise person." Leave aside the fact that he was born into his position of Rosh Yeshiva. Leave aside that he never once displayed that he was any more or less learned than anyone else. Leave aside that. Here he flat out refused to even PRAY for a fellow Jew, forget about enlisting or even encouraging enlistment. And yet you give him these high accolades. For what? That Mir expanded under his watch? Big deal. So did every other yeshivah in the world, through population growth. That he had a disability? So do many other people who work for a living, who don't have the benefit of owning the company they work for. Not saying he was a bad man or that he didn't have achievements, but that's commonplace. A "great" man? Dubious.

    This is a perfect example of the inflation caused by the cult of Charedi Gedolim worship. If even the chief Slifkinite himself falls prey to it, woe to us!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. your description of rav finkel's biography and the one provided here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nosson_Tzvi_Finkel_(Mir)#Early_life) are quite different.

      Delete
    2. "Leave aside the fact that he was born into his position of Rosh Yeshiva."

      He was born in Chicago and later married his Israeli second cousin, daughter of the previous Rosh Yeshivah. Presumably his father in law saw something good in him when he agreed that they should marry.

      "Leave aside that he never once displayed that he was any more or less learned than anyone else."

      Wow. You never left him for a moment. Such thoroughness.

      You know enough to write a biography of him. You certainly did not read any of the existing ones. When you do, count how many people melted from his thoughtfulness.

      Delete
    3. Mr. Schreiber, it is not that he had a disability it is what he did despite of his disability and how he used his disability to influence others for the better.

      He was a very kind and generous man (at least to myself and my peers).

      Delete
  23. I am not in any manner connected with the Mirer Yeshiva, I an not a Litvak or similar, however from what I have read about the life and approach of the Late Rosh HaYeshivah Rav Frankel, I doubt he would have responded to the question regarding his students praying for the soldiers of the IDF with such callous indifference and sanctimonious self righteousness.
    We need to accept there is a chasm in approach between those who see the State of Israel being the beginning of the Geulah i.e. Religious Zionists and those who do not.
    The challenge is how do we all respect each other, which ironically maybe the key to the Messianic Redemption

    ReplyDelete
  24. The person who told the story was Rabbi Shlomo Riskin. I repeat that I do not understand why people do not believe the story. What do you believe to be a more plausible reason as to why charedim won't say a prayer or tehillim for soldiers? If you don't have a more plausible reason, then there is no reason to reject this one.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's not the reason he gave, but rather how the story makes it sound like the reason was presented, i.e. Incredibly callously, that people are responding to.

      Delete
    2. I don't know exactly how he said it. But people appear to be responding to the content, not the "tone."

      Delete
    3. Warren-
      Actually Riskin isn't a reliable person. The fact that you said its him horribly takes away the credibility of it being true. He is a Mamlachti and a Yoshka lover.

      Delete
  25. The 2nd son is called a Rasha, why? Because he took himself out of the Klal.
    A chareidi rosh kollel told be during Pesach, that only the Chareidim are the real Klal Yisroel, nobody else is a member of the club. He believes that chareidim do not have to participate in the army because its "efshar al yedai acher", which of course only make sense if you consider the rest of Klal Yisroel to be "acher".

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This, more than anything else, defines the current struggle in Am Yisrael. Is Klal Yisrael everyone, and each of their mitzvot is precious however little they manage to do - or is Klal Yisrael only those that are loyal and committed to the Torah and everyone else is a lost cause at best, and a danger to be avoided at worst?

      Delete
    2. If a chareidy is learning and a mitzvah comes up and another chareidy is available, the first one should not stop learning to do the mitzvah. Why not? Because it is efshar al yedai acher = the second *chareidy*.

      Delete
  26. Shlomo Zalman-
    What was the reasoning given for the prohibition of saying tehillim for specific soldiers? Can we extrapolate to say that it would be prohibited to say a "misheberach" for an ill non-religious Jew?

    It is interesting to note that the prophets never gave up their attempts to try to bring the northern Kingdom of Israel back to the Torah after the split with the Kingdom of Yehudah following the death of Shlomo HaMelech (for example, Eliyahu HaNavi's challenge to the priests of Ba'al at Har Carmel) and that Kingdom attempted to create an alternative Judaism by setting up a rival Mishkan in Beit El and rejected the Kohanim, which one could say was even worse than being simply non-observant.

    I have always viewed the relationship between Am Israel and the Torah as being such that the Jewish people are a NATION and the Torah is their CONSTITUTION. Just as a citizen is bound by his country's constitution even if he doesn't like it, and the citizen who does is bound to all other citizen's even if they do not accept the constitution, but from what I hear here, this is not the view of some Haredi thinkers. If I understand this correctly they view Judaism as merely a "religion" which means those who do not accept this"religion" are essentially non-persons as far as the others in the religious-group are concerned.
    All of this is deeply disturbing to me. This ultimate conclusion we could come to is to finally realize that the gulf between those who do think like and and the rest of us who think in terms of the Torah-Constitution paradigm is essentially unbridgeable.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The shmuess was quote long, and it was so jaw-droppingly horrifying that I cannot do justice to your question in a few lines. But I'll try.

      Saying tehillim for a specific soldier implies that his army service has value, that in some way, it helps to protect Jews. But this is false; only learning Torah protects Jews. Actually, the soldiers must thank us, the Torah learners.To the contrary, we the Toarh learners are saving the soldiers' lives. If any soldier then comes home alive, it is only thanks to our Torah learning, otherwise they would die in battle. They clearly have no zchusim (sic) to protect themselves. From here it should be obvious that saying tehillim for them only serves to justify their impure way of life. Hence praying for them is forbidden.

      Before you scream "no way is this true", I assure you it is, and I have the shmuess to prove it. I sent it by snail mail to an important person from Cross Currents who was equally horrified by it, but attributed it to the polarization that exists here in Israel. I pointed out that this is Da'as Torah in Israel and the American chareidim are bound by it. But that's irrelevant to this topic for now.

      I must say that since that shmuess five years ago, I sadly concluded that l'shitatam, I am not a member of klal yisrael. I have accepted that gzar din. I no longer strive for their acceptance or even tolerance. Consequently, I no longer attach value to their pronouncements or halachic rulings. The latest gang wars between them (mechablim-son'im) have only solidified my attitude. Sad.


      Delete
    2. you wrote (I know, quoting) "They clearly have no zchusim (sic)".
      I would amend that to "They clearly have no zchusim (SICK!)"

      Delete
  27. am reluctant to believe because the story is basically an accusation against R Finkel. As such, I would like to see R Riskin tell his version of the story (we really should have 2 עדים and a live defendant).

    The severity of the accusation: one who does not pray for the safety of Israeli soldiers believes they are safe or their safety is relatively unimportant or is an agnostic who believes Hashem does not hear our prayers or does not direct the world.

    ReplyDelete
  28. would RNZFinkel object to a tfillah for american soldiers (said in many american shuls, in time of war, such as during the first gulf war, the afghan war, etc.). or is he afraid of his students going OTD on that, too?

    ReplyDelete
  29. I am amazed at the story. In many respects, it summarizes some of the themes of haredi Judaism.
    1. It is based on fear of the outside world and a deep sense of insecurity vis-a-vis that world. That is countered by a sense of superiority, self-praise, and smugness which is intended to hide that insecurity.
    2. It is based on illusions, illusions of a glorious past which never existed but which one nevertheless wants to emulate.
    3. It is based on complete hero worship and a slavish obedience to these heroes and leaders. Their lives are glorified, they are perfect, and one must always follow their dictates. Hence Daas Torah.
    4. The followers are praised but they are really just cannon fodder and their well being is not of any real concern to the leaders.


    The sad thing about these four principles is that they form the core of many of the worst human systems that have ever existed. Most dictatorships are based on this.

    It would be interesting to see how these principles compare with a system like that of Kim Jung-il in North Korea.

    ReplyDelete
  30. The person who told the story was Rabbi Shlomo Riskin. I repeat that I do not understand why people do not believe the story.

    1) Because it makes the speaker look bad and we're not supposed to accept stories that make a person look bad based purely on hearsay from one party.

    2) Confirmation bias: if the story is true, then it helps to confirm our pre-existing conceptions of reality. Therefore, if we want to be realists (rationalists?), we need to be skeptical. Another way to say it: if something sounds too good to be true, then consider that it may be too good be true.

    3) My own personal principle is the following: All stories are false. By which I mean that any good story has the corners rounded to make a good story, just as illustrations in the biology textbooks are much simpler than the real thing to aid in understanding. But that means that deriving knowledge from stories,especially their details, is a risky proposition.

    Of course #2 and #3 are merely 2 out of many reasons for the validity of principle #1.

    ReplyDelete
  31. The only time one can make a misheberach for a non religious jew in a charedi yrshiva is if the request is accompanied by a check

    MiMedinat HaYam

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The State of Israel sends many, many checks to the charedi world. :-)

      Delete
  32. I don't find the story at all implausible and I don't think it makes Rav Finkel look particularly bad. It's better than many other reasons given.

    The real reason, though, that no tefilla is said is like others have mentioned: The charedim don't feel that Israel is their country or that they are part of a larger society. They have their own society and care, almost exclusively, about what affects it. That's why they can thank people protecting "their" rally but will not thank people who are miles away protecting them from an outside threat that they prefer to know nothing about.

    They have zero national consciousness.

    ReplyDelete
  33. "Hirsch AlterApril 18, 2014 at 12:08 AM
    am reluctant to believe because the story is basically an accusation against R Finkel."

    "David OhsieApril 18, 2014 at 3:05 AM
    Because it makes the speaker look bad and we're not supposed to accept stories that make a person look bad based purely on hearsay from one party."

    No. What makes him look bad is not this story. It's that the Mir yeshivah, like virtually all charedi institutions, does not pray or say tehilllim for the IDF. And that's beyond dispute. The only thing added in this story is an explanation of his reason - which isn't even as bad as the alternatives.

    ReplyDelete
  34. I presume the students continue to recite Yekum Purkan, with its blessings on those who financially support Torah study? And that none the less, they don't feel obliged to become businessmen?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is in Aramaic, nobody understands what they are saying :).

      Delete
  35. What we are seeing further reinforces the belief I have that the ONLY solution is to recognize the Haredim as a sub-group of Israeli society, that, like the Israeli Arabs, does not recognize the legitimacy of the state and thus should be exempt from military service and would be allowed to work without having performed military or national service. In return, the Haredim would agree to give up control of the Chief Rabbinate, would not promote Haredi candidates to be Chief Rabbis of munipalities that did not have a large Haredi population, would not participate in national debates about the relationship between religion and state and Haredim would not longer be given special budgets, subsidies or tax exemptions that the rest of the population is not entitled to. In addition, they would agree not to be the swing vote in the Knesset on issues of national importance, such as concessions to the Arab states, dismantling settlements, etc.

    I mentioned this recently to a prominent Israeli Rav who is active in public affairs. Much to my surprise, he said the MERETZ actually proposed this in the 1990's and THE HAREDIM REJECTED IT! They WANT there to be mandatory conscription to the IDF which would apply to Haredim WHO ARE NOT STUDYING IN KOLLEL. Thus, they, in effect, want the state to essentionally conscript Haredim to the kollel world, if they don't go to kollel, they would be forced to to to the army.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If they won't fight, give them some sort of alternative national service. But make it longer than regular military service since normal conscripts risk their lives. The alternative service should apply to Arabs as well.

      Getting the Haredim to agree to anything in good faith is a fool's bargain. The Haredi political parties have already shown they cannot and will not do so.

      Delete
  36. I wish to clarify one point I raised in my previous comment suggesting recognizing the Haredim as a separate group in Israel that would be exempt from national military or civilian service on the basis of concience....regarding the proposal that they would no longer entitled to special budgets or subsidies, this would mean they would be entitled to public funding of ONE Haredi school in a town. There would no longer be public funds for separate SHAS Sefardi schools, separate Hasidic schools, separate Ashkenazi Lita'i schools for students whose fathers do work and another separate school for those whose fathers don't work but study in Kollel instead......these different instittutions do exist today. Of course, they would be entitled to set up such separate schools, but they would have to pay for them themselves.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Neither of the following should be too much to ask:

    A firsthand account from Rabbi Riskin

    That people not make unsubstantiated claims against Rabbi Riskin

    Also the default assumption is stupidity or incompetence (no matter how intelligent the parties), not even the most innocent possible malicious intent

    ReplyDelete
  38. mayb they don't pray for the soldiers publicly because it would appear as if they're aligning themselves with the israeli government who has many anti religious idea etc

    ReplyDelete
  39. I see a lot of people have trouble believing the story. I don't. I used to love my yeshiva and admired my Rosh HaYeshiva, even as he disapproved of my going to college (or anyone else going to college, to be honest --- it wasn't because of something specific he saw in me). But I lost a lot of respect for his views (although I still recognize that he is a great man) when he told one of my good friends to stop attending the beis hamedrash in the Yeshiva. His offense? This particular bochur was an engineering student and a dedicated ben Torah. He would sit and learn for hours and lose track of the time, daven with intense kavana etc. When he was studying the beis medresh, talmidim of the yeshiva would approach him and ask him to explain a sugya to them ---- because he knew the answers. And THAT WAS THE OFFENSE. The Rosh Yeshiva had no problem with a ba'al t'shuva who wasn't necessarily strictly observant spending time in the Beis Medresh (at least I assume so, I don't remember one learning in the Beis Medresh at the same time as the incident in question, but from time to time this would certainly occur), but if the bochurim in yeshiva saw a living, breathing example of the fact that someone could be a ben torah while in college --- this ws unacceptable, nd might influeence thme to be less afraid of college. Similar reasoning to the tefillah question.
    Sorry, but the concept that yissocher is supposed to tell his children to NOT daven for zvulen's success because maybe they will come o copy Zvulen and turn into seafaring businesmen is frankly sickening. I can accept that an adam gadol could think something do krum. I neither doubt that he is an adam gadol nor that he can have some krum beliefs.

    Slightly off-topic (but relevant to the last sentence) a friend of mine when I was younger who is now a MAJOR maggid shiur told me something about Rav Yoshe Ber Soloveitchik when I was much younger --- he said "He is a godol batorah, but he has krum hashkafas". I know enough now to disagree wholeheartedly with the second part of his assessment (which I am sure he absorbed from Roshei Yeshiva) but I think we need to stop feeling guilty about applying that sme sort of assessment to charedi eoshei yeshiva.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Former Chareidi,
      I'd like to corroborate your insight with a personal story.

      For a short time in the early 1980s I was in graduate school in a major American city which hosts a major mesivta considered to be the main pipeline leading into BMG in Lakewood. I wanted to have a chavrusa, or at least sit and learn nightly in their beis medrash. I approached one of the Roshei Yeshiva (not Rav K), told him my learning background (major league litvish Roshei yeshiva, but all associated with YU), what I was doing in that city, and that I wanted permission to learn in the bes medrash. I wore a kippah srugah and a light blue shirt.

      He plainly told me, in these words exactly: " We have nothing for you here ". And he walked away.

      It took me years to figure out why, but eventually, the obvious became clear. Here I was, a shomer mitzvos, litvish, wanting to learn at a high level,but in graduate school, and worst of all, a product of YU in unacceptable clothing. I was not an alien, I was a threat.

      Delete
  40. ( please delete previous version as i accidently clicked it before proofing it)
    As usual you hate to get information that might undermine your screeds before you publish. So if you actually were intellectually honest you would have learned more and looked into the issue beofre publicly posting.
    The consensus of Torah Scholars is that the welfare of the Klal Yisroel comes from the zechus of kal yisroel, and isnt impacted upon by those who are not maaminim and are mechalel shobbes. Therefore this fiction you pulled out of your hip is baseless: "seem very selfish to deny those benefits for the welfare of soldiers merely because of the potential risks to the yeshivah students."

    *The full comprehensive reasons for Rav Finkels decision is unknown to us
    * Hashems calculation for what happens to Klal Yisroel ( as a klal) is not the result of what those who are not maamimim ( cholonim) do and only a result of what maaminim do.
    * an unverifed story, if correct, I do not know, would help close the circle on this subject: Rav Schach was asked to have the yeshiva daven for menachem begin ( or someone like him) Rav schach said the klal is not permitted to daven for someone who is not (?) { something like....shomer shobbes and a maamon }
    (perhaps Rav Schach cast Begin as not frum in the spirit of what Rav Hershel Schachter constantly says in terms of the definition of Klal Yisroel: you are not a member of klal yisroel if you are not a maamin and shomer shobbes- a Jewish soul yes, but not a member of KY)
    Rav Schach told the inquirer that while he cant ask the tsibbur to daven for Menachem Begin ( or whoever it was ) nonetheless he ( Rav Schach) will daven privately for him.

    If there is no imperative, or if it s asur to daven for them, then the Torah is saying that slifkins definitions are irrelevant.
    Then as a corollary Slifkin's psak would be false: Rav Finkel "severely compromising the Judaism of all the yeshivah students, by educating them to lack basic hakaras hatov and Klal Yisrael consciousness. By trying to save Judaism, you have ended up tragically corrupting it."

    If on the other hand the soldiers are members of klal yisroel, then they are included in the shemoneh esrei which is a tefillah for klal yisroel and not a private prayer. Which means that klal yisroel are davening for them anyway.

    So as usual your uneducated blog comments which you dont check for comprehensiveness because you are , to quote a talmid chacham, not intellectually honest, are off as usual. Thanks again for wasting our time with your primitive propaganda.

    ReplyDelete

Comments for this blog are moderated. Please see this post about the comments policy for details. ANONYMOUS COMMENTS WILL NOT BE POSTED - please use either your real name or a pseudonym.