Friday, April 4, 2014

Letter from Rabbi Gold

Two posts today! Before this one, there is an earlier one, "A Surprising Reward for Abstaining from Lashon Hara."

Rabbi Sholom Gold of Har Nof is a fascinating person. I'll never forget the time he shared with me his memories of receiving semichah from Rav Herzog, with Rav Elyashiv conducting the exam. Here is a letter that he sent to HaModia, which they did not publish and which is printed here with his permission.

To the Editor, Hamodia
       There is what seems to be "a statement of authentic Torah-true hashkafah" that appears occasionally in Hamodia (the most recent on the 4th of Adar II) and in other publications, that I believe must be examined very closely and dispassionately. The pronouncement raises extremely serious problems of a religious nature.
       The Hamodia article quoted a rav who said, "The most difficult golus to endure is a golus suffered from other Jews and therefore we plead for a final redemption from this terrible golus." I experienced a great deal of personal anguish just writing that sentence. First of all, it's absolutely false. We are not in Czarist Russia, Inquisitionist Spain, Crusader-ravished Rhineland, Cossack-scorched Poland, nor fascist Nazi Germany, nor assimilation-ridden America. Klal Yisrael in Eretz Yisrael is experiencing the most magnificent era in 2,000 years.
       Rav Avraham Pam movingly put the present period in time in its proper Jewish-Torah perspective. He said that a rule in Jewish history is that following every period of suffering comes an era of Hashem embracing His people, comforting them, and pouring out His goodness, just as a father whose son has suffered will embrace him and console him. Rav Pam highlights four such historic episodes. The fourth one, Rav Pam said, was, that following the worst horror of all, the Shoah, Hashem embraced us with "hakomas Medinas Yisroel" (precisely his words).
       Hashem does not embrace His people by casting them into the worst golus of all. To say that, is a denial of Hashem's goodness, an ugly rejection of His benevolence, and shameful ingratitude.
       Three months after the establishment of Medinat Yisrael, Rav Dessler wrote that he who does not see the dramatic change and the complete reversal of the fate of the Jewish people, "min hakatzeh al Hakatzeh, "from one extreme of six million slaughtered to the other extreme of the settling of our people in their own medina in our Holy Land" is blind. "Woe to one who will come to the Day of Judgment still blind and not having been able to see something so real." (Michtav M'Eliyahu, Volume 3, page 352)
       Rav Dessler wrote this at a time that the infant state was locked in a struggle for its very existence. No one then could predict the outcome, yet he rejoiced. He did not predict that the State wouldn't last for ten years.
       The plain facts are that the greatest growth of Klal Yisroel in Eretz Yisroel in just about every conceivable area has been mind-boggling. Little Israel whose air force ranks after the United States, Russia and China. Way up there with the biggest. An army whose might is so clearly the result of the efforts of "He who gives you the strength to be mighty." Agricultural accomplishments of global proportions. Israel is a world agricultural power. It staggers the imagination. (Google Israel – Agriculture and read Wikipedia.) It would help if you have a TaNach handy to see the prophecies fulfilled before your very eyes. Focus on Yechezkel chapters 36, 37 and 38.
       For me, every visit to my local fruit and vegetable store is a powerful religions experience. In the middle 50s I learned in Ponovitz and subsisted on tomatoes, cucumbers and watermelon. Today, in my local store I am overwhelmed by the dazzling amounts of produce. If this is golus then I can't begin to imagine what geulah is. I once said that every rabbi is zocheh to one good line in his career. Min is, "If you want to speak to G-d go to the Kotel, but if you want to see Him, go to Shuk Machaneh Yehudah."
       Little Israel is a world leader in medicine, science, technology, and so much more.
       And – the greatest explosion of Torah learning in Jewish history has taken place here with the generous help of the secular Zionists, and the religious Zionists (the Mizroochnikim).
       And this you call "golus by Jews." We have never had it better.
       Now take a closer look at that "great article of faith" and you should be struck by the realization that for that statement alone the charedi community should be held in absolute contempt. The ugly assertion that we, your fellow Jews, impose upon you an exile worse than any you have ever experienced, is more than enough reason for us to reject you and all you supposedly stand for. That despicable hashkafah is not Torah.
       Furthermore, if the golus you suffer by the hands of fellow Jews is so bad, in fact the "worst golus," why don't you leave, run away, save yourselves from "this terrible exile." Breath the fresh air of France, the tranquility of the Ukraine, join the Moslems of England. Save your souls from enslavement to us. The "goldeneh medina" beckons. Be free of the yoke of tziyonim and mizroochniks, get a green card. Boro Park here we come. Why stay here and suffer. Go be rid of us.
       Come to think of it – since the Eritreans and Sudanese like it here so much, so maybe an exchange of populations can be arranged.
       I am very surprised that the Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation did not soundly condemn this "hashkafah" which can only be described as mega-loshon hora against Klal Yisrael for subjecting their brothers and sisters to such awful golus.
       There is, of course, a secondary gain from this statement that is warmly welcomed. The people of Chutz L'Aretz don't even have to consider aliyah at all. Who would willingly subject his family to the "worst golus of all."
       Take note: the ugly "golus by Jews" hashkafah places you right down there with the world's anti-Semites, who accuse Israel of apartheid.
       I suspect that the purveyors of that lie have been entrapped in the web of their own extreme rhetoric, "gezeras hashmad," "destroyers of Torah," "chareidi haters." You have begun to believe that it is really so. What a pity.
       I suggest that Hamodia publicly disassociates itself from that abhorrent, poisonous hashkafah, asks for forgiveness from all of us, and expresses thanks and gratitude to Hashem for all His kindness. If you may be in a truly penitent mood, ask yourselves whether you are really the victims of unbridled, undeserved hatred, or have you contributed in great measure to what may be a reaction to your own contempt for everything that is sacred and holy to the "people who reside in Zion." Think about it. Think about it honestly and seriously.
       The nation's flag is "a shmatteh on a shteken" ("a rag on a stick"), the national anthem was written by a drunk. As a matter of fact, the flag is beautiful, and a study of Hatikvah will reveal its power to move a nation.
       Yom Haatzmaut is nothing, Yom Hazikaron raises the serious issue of, chas v'shalom, standing for two minutes silence of which you have made into some bogus nonsensical crime (you really made many friends with that). Yom Hashoah is all wrong. Even Yom Yerushalayim is unknown in your community. You don't say the Prayer for the Welfare of the State, nor do you pray for the safety of the soldiers who protect you so that you can learn Torah (that one really made you very popular). In fact, I can't think of a single area in which you participate with the rest of Klal Yisrael. In one of my more aggressive moments I asserted that since the State and the IDF have been doing so well for 66 years without your prayers, let's better leave it that way. We don't want to rock the boat, you know.
       An absolute rejection of the ugly hashkafah will hopefully signal the beginning of a new era of love and friendship between Jew and fellow Jew. When you truly see the hand of Hashem in action for the past sixty-six years, you will want to say with great kavanah the prayer for the State and for the soldiers who risk their lives day and night so that we can all live safely in G-d's land.
Sholom Gold
16/9 Agassi St.
Jerusalem 98377

52 comments:

  1. I think he should say what he really thinks

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  2. My harshest criticism of the piece? This typo: "Min" should say "Mine". Other than that, perfect.

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  3. He was doing so good up until this point:

    "join the Moslems of England."

    Is he seriously trying to suggest Jews in Britain are persecuted by Muslims? It was only a few weeks ago the Bradford Muslim community bankrolled a bankrupt shul!

    The truth is Jews in the UK arguably have it as good. They have a higher income, there is virtually no antisemitism, religious and educational institutions are state funded.

    He is right, its possible we've never had it so good as we do today in Israel. But the absurdity of his article is that he compares a warzone (Crimea), the shoah and other calamities to life in Western Europe.

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  4. He was doing so good up until this point:

    "join the Moslems of England."

    Is he seriously trying to suggest Jews in Britain are persecuted by Muslims? It was only a few weeks ago the Bradford Muslim community bankrolled a bankrupt shul!

    The truth is Jews in the UK arguably have it as good. They have a higher income, there is virtually no antisemitism, religious and educational institutions are state funded.

    He is right, its possible we've never had it so good as we do today in Israel. But the absurdity of his article is that he compares a warzone (Crimea), the shoah and other calamities to life in Western Europe.

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  5. The fourth one, Rav Pam said, was, that following the worst horror of all, the Shoah, Hashem embraced us with "hakomas Medinas Yisroel" (precisely his words).

    and

    Rav Dessler wrote that he who does not see the dramatic change and the complete reversal of the fate of the Jewish people, "min hakatzeh al Hakatzeh, "from one extreme of six million slaughtered to the other extreme of the settling of our people in their own medina in our Holy Land" is blind. "Woe to one who will come to the Day of Judgment still blind and not having been able to see something so real." (Michtav M'Eliyahu, Volume 3, page 352)

    It's extremely important to understand and to acknowledge that both Rav Dessler and Rav Pam were Chareidi Rabbonim and Roshei Yeshiva. I can add to that a list of Chareidi Rabbonim who had similar views, Rabbonim such as Rav Reuven Katz, the rav of Petach Tikva and Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivas Petach Tikva (Lomza), Rav S.Z. Ohrbach come to mind. There are many others.

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    Replies
    1. R' Eliyahu Kitov expressed similar feelings in the English version of Sefer haToda'ah (The Book of Our Heritage-published by Feldheim) but for some reason the chapters on Yom Ha Atzmaut and Yom Yerushalayim do not appear in the original Hebrew version or any subsequent later Hebrew editions.

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  6. Kol hakavod.

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  7. "The truth is Jews in the UK arguably have it as good. They have a higher income, there is virtually no antisemitism.."

    That is nonsense. I lived in England before making aliyah in 2009. During that time, I was physically threatened by bunch of Muslim youths in a Hendon park, treated to a Nazi salute by a school student on a Manchester tram platform, and heard obscenities yelled from cars at Jews walking to shul. These are just anecdotes, but they belie any claim that there is virtually no antisemitism in the UK.

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  8. MAGNIFICENT letter, Rabbi Gold.
    Thanks, Rav Natan, for posting it.
    Shabbat shalom.

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  9. Yes but i'm sure there has been the odd anti-semitic incident in Israel as well. There are problems of living in the UK, but I don't think it's the Muslim.

    But this is really a minor issue of what is otherwise a very good piece

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  10. Yosef - You my friend who i love are an idiot. I grew up in london and certainly would not want my son to have to grow up with the antisemitism there by choice - Thank Hashem a thousand times he doesnt because i am Zoche to live in Eretz Hakodesh.. You think france or belgium or spain or any other north western countries are better you are a fool - i would love for you to go on a walking tour with a kippa on for a while, ps i hope you are half as strong trained and agressive as you are stupid.

    GREAT LETTER WELL SAID RABBI GOLD.

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  11. Unfortunately the charedim feel bound by the narrative that Zionism and the State are tragedies. Rabbi Wein said it best - because the gedolim of yesteryear strongly denounced Zionism, the current generation of charedim just can't come to grips with the fact that the state is a gift from Hashem. And so they need to continuously and vigorously fight the state and show how bad it is. What a shame.

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  12. Yosef - You my friend who i love are so soo sooo wrong. I grew up in london and certainly would not want my son to have to grow up with the antisemitism there by choice - Thank Hashem a thousand times he doesnt because i am Zoche to live in Eretz Hakodesh.. You think france or belgium or spain or any other north western countries are better you are a fool - i would love for you to go on a walking tour with a kippa on for a while, ps i hope you are half as strong trained and agressive as you are stupid.

    GREAT LETTER WELL SAID RABBI GOLD.

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  13. Simply terrific!

    I think this demonstrates that Rabbi Gold clearly fits into the category of a true "Gadol" as explained by Rav Slifkin in a recent post.

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  14. It's interesting that many time, Hashem's "embrace" post-disaster relates directly to Israel. The first post-churban "aliyah" came in the 1200's, not long after the Crusades. Another came in the mid-1500's, right after the expulsion from Spain. And now...Perhaps the greater the disaster, the greater the aliyah.

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  15. @Moshe David Tokayer:

    And that relates to the sorry circumstances to which Rabbi Gold refers how exactly?

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  16. "Little Israel whose air force ranks after the United States, Russia and China. Way up there with the biggest."
    Israel has been the number one recipient of U.S. foreign aid, totaling a quarter trillion dollars in the last 60 years. The quoted fact is thus is not "mind-boggling" and does not "stagger the imagination." It does encourage generation after generation of children to throw themselves into the bottomless blood pit of human-eating that is war and nationalism.
    I would like to see a post addressing the new, and hopeful, disenchantment of Religious Zionist youth with the state, following Gush Katif and Amona but coming on the heels of years of life-interrupting bureaucratic inefficiency and an essential three-year prison sentence for all youth (at least in the minds of those who do not worship the state).

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  17. An outstanding statement of the facts. Rabbi Gold nails it. The degree to which he speaks the truth is very sadly counterposed by the lies and distortions that pervade the Haredi community. My only complaint is that Rabbi Gold did not name the Rav who made the statement he referenced.

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  18. I don't know if I'm representative of anyone else in America, but please don't send the Chareidim here.

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  19. Aryeh - Moshe Dovid was expanding on Rabbi Gold's point: Chareidi hashkafa doesn't require this tragic disdain for and rejection of medinat yisrael, as demonstrated by the Chareidi G'dolim who expressly said as much.

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  20. Rabbi Gold, R Slifkin, R Cardozo and R. Wein all belong to a specific club: charismatic,talented, articulate and intelligent men who receive(d) honor and adulation in the Western countries they come from.

    These rabbis have come to Israel and are suddenly confronted with a new phenomena in the world of Torah scholarship they identified with: the Bnai Torah here in Israel pay no attention to anyone who is not Baki B'shas U'Poskim, and their brilliant speeches which fooled the massesdon't garner them the same respect they crave, and they wonder where all the adulation has gone.

    There are two ways to react: the modest men retreat to the back of the Shul in Bayit Vegan, Har Nof, Rechavia or Beit Shemesh, and are content to live out their lives quietly, attending Shiurim and tending to their families, or helping others in need. But those who cannot exist without constant attention from the admiring crowds have no choice but to join the club of disgruntled and frustrated rabbinic has-beens, so they write (brilliant and insightful)articles for the Jerusalem Post or join "RationalistJudaism" demonstrating their sophistication as they criticize the Gedolim, Yeshivos, Charedim and all those small-minded pinheads who are the cause of all their problems.

    Rabbi Gold is no longer noticed by the people in his own shul building, much less his neighbors in Har Nof.

    How sad.

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  21. Wow! I got a lot of guilty pleasure reading this. On target and painful in parts. Thank you very much for posting this.

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  22. Rabbi Slifkin, See Igros moshe O.C:5:37 (says the same in o.c 4 somewhere as well). The reason why we don't do "kria" upon seeing JERUSALEM, is because "with the kindness of G-D, the nations no longer rule".

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  23. Moshe David Tokayer,

    Let's not forget that the Ponovitz Yeshiva said Hallel the first year after the state was created.

    Let's also not forget the charedi rabbanim who signed a proclamation in 1948 declaring the state to be the beginning of the geulah.

    People who actually lived at the time -- just three years after the Holocaust -- couldn't believe the neis of having a Jewish state.

    It's only we, who are so spoiled, who have zero appreciation for the the most momentous Jewish development in 2,000 years.

    Of course there are problems in Israel. But if charedim don't like the way things run, let them get involved and change matters.

    Concervatives in America hate Obama and the whole liberal establishment running the universities and media. Do they disengage and say it's all trief? No, they fight for what the believe in because they love America, even if they don't like the direction it's currently heading.

    The charedim in Israel should have a similar attitude. If you want things to be different, run for office. Get involved. Speak to the people. Convince them you're right.

    The problem is they don't feel Israel is their country.

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  24. [Israel has] An army whose might is so clearly the result of the efforts of "He who gives you the strength to be mighty."

    I've never heard anyone refer to the United States that way, but I guess it's apropos.

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  25. It's sad to see how much some Jews have swallowed the false god of "multiculturalism."

    "R' Eliyahu Kitov expressed similar feelings in the English version of Sefer haToda'ah (The Book of Our Heritage-published by Feldheim) but for some reason the chapters on Yom Ha Atzmaut and Yom Yerushalayim do not appear in the original Hebrew version or any subsequent later Hebrew editions."

    This is not true. There are Hebrew versions with and without it, and English versions with or without it. You can also get those sections as a separate Hebrew booklet.

    Of course, I'm always mystified when a charedi publishing house thinks some gadol is great enough for them to sell, but not great enough that they know more than him and edit him. (R' Zevin's Zionism is a famous example. R' Kasher is another good example from that era, and there are other Zionists who have been similarly "kashered.")

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  26. Aryeh Baer,

    I agree with you about the sorry circumstances in Rabbi Gold's letter.

    My point is that Chareidi Rabbonim are not a homogeneous group. As I pointed out to R' Slifkin in a previous post, the Rabbonim who gave haskomos to his books were for the most part prominent Chareidi Rabbonim and Roshei Yeshiva so you can't say that all Chareidi Rabbonim believe in spontaneous generation of lice (as he wrote in that post.)

    Unfortunately, the politicians, askanim and media play up the ones they want to play up and the others are not heard. Then everyone thinks that that every Chareidi agrees. What makes it worse are the American Chareidi Rabbonim whom we see on sites such as Cross Currents who for some reason feel like they have to toe some imaginary line producing nonsense as a result. Truly unfortunate.

    Good Shabbos.

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  27. Wow, David Friedman and Lastyear, echoing sentiments heard from many an anti-Semite. (A Paulist, in the former case.) Lovely. It's amazing the lengths Jews will go to disavow Israel.

    Wow, clued in, stooping to personal insults.

    RT: Indeed, R' Zevin's psak.

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  28. clued in:

    Those you publicly critique have the guts to put their names and faces to their words. Unlike you.

    You are cowardly and they are not.

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  29. Sadly there is one common theme in the posts of all apologists and that is a total disrespect for anyone that holds a different view.

    That is why all right thinking people have a problem with the way Charedi society is heading and we are worried sick about the future of Am Yisroel.

    Hopeing we can all be more respectful, shabbat shalom.

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  30. Moshe David Tokayer -

    I am happy to hear you agree that the circumstances are indeed sorry. But I am still unclear as to how pointing at great Rabbonim of a prior era has anything to do with the situation today. What is needed is that the Chareidi community today stands up and denounces statements that calls other Jews Amalek or Nazis and cry shaas shmad at the same state and army that protects them. How is it gremane to the current situation to claim that Chareidim in the past were indeed Zionists?

    Also, as pointed out to you in a prior post, the same Rabbonim who endorsed RNS's book, turned around, retracted their endorsements, and signed on to the ban against him. So not sure how that helps your case.

    Shabbat Shalom

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  31. They did not say any of the prayers for the Israeli armed forces or government in Torah Vodaas when Rav Pam was alive. Nor did they say it in Ner Yisroel where Rav Shalom Gold Learned. Nor did they say it in Rav Moshe Feinstein's yeshiva.Nor were any of these Roshei Yeshiva accepting of Religious Zionist hashkafa. Therefore even though Rabbi Gold has a very valid point and accurate criticism, Hamodia also has a point. when one segment of the Jewish people attempts to impose their will, and ideology on another segment of the Jewish people that is indeed a form of Galus, but it works both ways.

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  32. I love how LastYear and David Friedman quote statements that if they actually looked into would know is completely false.

    "Afghanistan is the largest annual recipient of U.S. foreign assistance in South Asia, accounting for upwards of $10 billion in aid for FY 2010. Second is Pakistan, which received $4.4 billion in aid in 2010."

    And while Israel does receive, overall, more than other states in the Middle East from the US, that number is heavily invested in America, and the US Aid makes up less of the GDP than ever--compare that to the Arab states. Furthermore funding from European States provides much money that goes to the Arab states and NONE to Israel.

    And Yosef: You live in the UK? Everything I've heard from people living there indicates its dying as a home for Jews--a slow painful death.

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  33. clued in said:
    so they write (brilliant and insightful)articles for the Jerusalem Post or join "RationalistJudaism" demonstrating their sophistication as they criticize the Gedolim, Yeshivos, Charedim and all those small-minded pinheads who are the cause of all their problems.

    I keep hearing the word Gedolim and I am amazed. It is surely obvious to these "Gedolim" that their followers are heading for catastrophe. Just read any publication by Kuppat Hair or watch the videos shown about the poverty in Israel. Surely the "Gedolim" who could change matters see this. And yet they encourage it, or at best, keep silent. One wonders why this is so. Surely they are Chachamim who can see what is developing. And yet they keep encouraging it. There are three possible explanations for it.
    1. Either they do not see what is happening in which case they are not even Chachamim, nevermind "Gedolim."
    2. They see what is happening and the pain and poverty but are willing to sacrifice others to whatever their goal is; it is certainly not the betterment of Judaism or loyalty to Klal Yisroel. There is no need for 60,000 people to sit on their Tochus and, for many of them, do nothing. There are a few who are good at learning, but certainly not 60,000. Someone who is not really loyal to Klal Yisroel certainly does not deserve the title of Gadol.
    3. They see what is happening but lack the courage to stop it. They do not have the guts to say the truth to their followers because they are afraid for their position, their Kovod, etc. This is certainly not a definition of Gadol.
    So please let's stop referring to them as Gedolim.

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  34. @David (to Yosef) You think france or belgium or spain or any other north western countries are better you are a fool - i would love for you to go on a walking tour with a kippa on for a while, ps i hope you are half as strong trained and agressive as you are stupid.

    If you are so smart go on a walking tour with or without kippah in Muslim quarter in East Jerusalem or in an Arab village.

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  35. Rabbi Zvi wrote: "I don't know if I'm representative of anyone else in America, but please don't send the Chareidim here."
    Don't you think you should avoid the generalized "the"?

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  36. Shavua Tov -

    Lazar are you saying that Europe is the same as an arab village - if so i can only agree.

    But anyone of moderate intelligence realises that Israel is not just populated and comprised of Arab villages.

    Thus hence as a Frum Jew who has lived in Europe and not Israel it is obvious to anyone which is preferable.

    And if you are really not sure stay where ever you are but dont mess in our politics in the name of a religion that you do not have the most basic middos of - namely it is clear that Dont do to others what you wouldn't want done to yourself is up there - so if a law was passed that only Chredim serve as they haven't for so long they would be up in arms for the discrimination - can you not honestly see that those who do serve have a fair complaint - you can justify it on the grounds of some beliefs or supposed Halacha but in my humble opinion such a ruling is way of the mark and missing the wood for the trees! PS and yes i can learn hours a day and still say that, how much do any of the other posters learn here.?

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  37. I'm not about to replace an irrational, ridiculous approach to Judaism with another irrational, ridiculous approach to Judaism. For the most part, the approach of mainstream Religious Zionism is equally intellectually dishonest as Charedism.

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  38. Kollel Nick -

    Shame that you see intellectual dishonesty all around you instead of being able to see the beauty and honesty in all fellow Jews avodah.

    May your learning have some affect one day.

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  39. @Bill the Litvak:
    I would like to think that there is a fourth possibility: For example, I believe Rav Shteinman tacitly gives an ok to introducting some secular studies in cheder, or taking vocational courses, or even joining Nachal Charedi. Making public pronouncements to this effect would only increase tensions with other Charedi groups.

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  40. I am not chareidi, and I appreciate R. Gold's response. But I must be incredibly naive, because when I saw the HaModia comment, admittedly out of context, "The most difficult golus to endure is a golus suffered from other Jews and therefore we plead for a final redemption from this terrible golus," my immediate thought was to agree with it.

    Let me explain: we Jews have suffered horrible persecution throughout the ages. Today we are mostly persecution-free, and we have the amazing, miraculous Israel. IOW, we have things that Jews in galus throughout the ages could only dream about, that are now basically being handed to us by HaShem on a silver platter. And yet - as the HaModia quote says - - with all the crazy infighting and sinas chinam, we are being denied a geula that *could* be ours. In a way, that IS more tragic than physical suffering, because the ugliness is completely within our hands to disavow - - yet generation after generation, unless there is some horrible tragedy acting as a catalyst, we never learn from our mistakes - that sinas chinam more than external factors causes impediments to geulah. We Jews are, and always have been, our own worst enemy.

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  41. An aside: Read the chapter entitled "The Sages in Bnei Brak" from R. Jonathan Sacks' (Essays on the Haggada) book for interesting insights on how gedolim dealt with machlokes

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  42. Kollel Nick-
    I am not sure what you mean by saying that "Religious Zionism is also intellectualy dishonest".
    I spent Shabbat in Lod with the relatively new Garin Torani there of young religious families who are products largely of the Yeshivot Hesder and the Mechinot K'dam Tzavaiot (pre-army religious schools) and I saw a lot of dedicated people with B"H a lot of young children and who are serious about their Torah (i.e. NOT "dati-lite") and mitzvot AND who are mostly professionals who are economically self-supporting or at least well on their way to that status. They are reading a true history of the Jewish people and of Israel and of the Jewish people's great Torah scholars of the past with not need to rewrite history in order to maintain an artificial feeling of awe and piety. They also do not fear ongoing contact with Jews, both religious and secular thus showing their concern for the future of ALL Jews, not just their own community.
    Sure, nothing is perfect. As I discussed earlier with Baruch Gitlin, they like all groups have certain tendencies towards conformism and sometimes a somewhat ideologically biased approach to making drashot in the shul which emphasizes their view of things, but the bottom line is their community works, and is healthy, unlike some other Orthodox/religious groups. They are most in touch with reality and are able to maintain their allegience to Torah and mitzvot in a way that fits the external reality, and thus are ensuring the long-term survival of their approach, while others have planted internal social and ideological time-bombs that the confrontation with the external reality will cause to blow up.

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  43. very good article, quoting from well known, respected rabbanim no longer with us. Willing to bet any amount of money that if they would be alive today, those same rabbanim would have been right there next to ybl"c Rav Steinman at the massive tfilla last month in Yerushalayim which drew a world record crowd.

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  44. The issue of charedim being called up for the army started around last Pesach. Why Pesach time and not another time of the year ?

    As a suggestion ask yourself what is the single basic principle underlying Pesach ? The matzo, marror , the korban pesach, the haggodah etc. I suggest it is Hakoras Hatov. Hakoras Hatov is so important that it is not enough to thank the Almighty for bringing our forefathers out of Egypt - but we have to personally experience it and "chayav odom lirous et atzmo ke'ilu who yotzo me'metzrayim" When somebody does YOU a good turn and saves you from slavery ( imagine being in a concentration camp - to update the image) etc you feel a lot more grateful than if he did it to your distant forebears.
    We contrast the matzo, moror etc v the 4 cups and the korban peasch to emphasize even further the slavery v the liberation and so engage our personal feelings of freedom - and hence our hakoras hatov.

    I tremble when I see not only the lack of hakoras hatov that the "chilonim" get for all the decades that they have worked and paid taxes to support and subsidise people in learning - (a way of life they do not particularly approve of but they do support), and also a lack of hakoras hatov for their putting their lives and limbs at risk and for spending years of their lives in defence of the whole of Am Yisroel with far too many fatalities, wounded and maimed and psychologically damaged people.
    May the Almighty forgive this tremendous chillul hashem and bezoy'own hatorah.
    Michael Stern

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  45. The Charadi "gedolim" who reject the State, and the secular leftist intellectuals who do the same, are in truth two sides of the same coin - selfish, self-rightous and obsessed with power and control. Both claim absolute truth and knowledge, both rely on a web of pernicious social controls, including "shunning" to create and enforce speech and thought crimes, and both lack physical courage.

    Finally, please, whatever you do, don't send them to the U.S. Given their fear of women, hatred of Jews who are not like them, and disdain for Western society, Saudi Arabia is where they belong.

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  46. All the above comments on either side of the arguments are, in my view, tantamount to Lashon Hara. Even Rechilut. We lost the second Bet Hamikdash due to sinat chinam. Maybe we should all consider what we say or write. THINK BEFORE YOU SPEAK. You should all read the Hafetz Haim.

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  47. Add to your list Eliyahu Bloch of of Telz who participated in yom haatmaut celebrations in clevland complete with hatikvah.

    http://www.hakirah.org/Vol13Muskin.pdf

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  48. > If this is golus then I can't begin to imagine what geulah is.

    Other than this line it's an amazing piece.

    While we must recognize God's overwhelming kindness to us by giving us Eretz Yisrael and helping us create a successful Medinas Yisrael we still, as of now, cannot ascend to the Har HaBayis and offer a prayer, much less rebuild our Temple and restore all of the halacha to its place, all 6 sections of Shas.

    This must be the understanding in Israel today. Jews have created an amazing place but there is still a spiritual hole at its centre we must strive to repair.

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  49. Rav Gold makes many powerful points but appears blissfully ignorant of how people at Modia think. "Golus" in their book is determined primarily by a situation conducive to spirituality. In Artscroll's "Holy Woman" a concentration camp survivor tells a baalas teshuvah, "The concentration camp wasn't so bad for us cause we could do mitzvos. Bad is where you can't do mitzvos, like in your ashram." Now go address that and argue with it, but don't carry on about Israel's secular achievements and physical comforts.

    The extraordinary quote from Rav Pam should be sourced and dated. In Torah Vodaath R. Mendlowitz was very happy about hakamat hamedinah but he passed away less than a half year later. Agudah, which Torah Vodaath (un?)-officially believes in, had fights with the medina and the attitudes of Rav Pam etc. should be dated to assure that nothing changed. (Sefarim blog addresses the claim that Rav Zevin's attitude to the medina changed and shows that it didn't. How about Rav Pam, Rav Gifter etc.?)

    Rav Gold also appears unaware of the Modia/Charedi cannon. Has he read the harsh opinions Of Chazon Ish, Brisker Rav, Rav Shach etc. about the medina that these people were raised on, full of unfalsifiable condemnation of it--that he can wean Modia off of those views. Forget about Rav Elchanan Wasserman's Kovetz Maamarim, the "mild" one printed by his son, and the "uncensured" one printed in Williamsburg.

    In the Modia book, Charedim are flourishing DESPITE the medina BECAUSE they resist it.

    Sorry for getting people angry but the bottom line is that Rav Gold is talking to the wall.

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  50. this person is at best outside of the consensus.
    the consensus holds its asur for the tsibur to daven publicly for Jews who are not maaminim- for whatever array of reasons.
    Rav Hershel Schachter-though I do not know his position on davening for soldiers and the state- has included this in his public taped, video and audios for over a decade, his position that Jews who are not maaminim in the 13 ikarim and also shomer shobbes are not members of klal yisroel. There are implications in halacha regarding not being a member of klal Yisroel. One of the implications Rav Schachter has repeatedly discussed on video and audio takes place when he discusses giving up land in eretz yisroel for a final peace deal. Without going into the details, Rav Schachter holds of a certain process based on an actual final vote centering around the single question of whether or not the "WAR" is worth the price the klal is paying to continue the war.... ( the current ongoing 65 year+ war.) At the point that this question will be voted on by the nation, Rav Schachter explictly has said numerous times that the only Jews who are permitted by halacha to decide the matter are those who are members of klal yisroel: ie. maaminim who are also shomer shobbes- only they get to vote and all of the chiloni soldiers and all of the retired chiloni soldiers ( whether or not they are tinok shenishbu) DO NOT GET TO VOTE EVEN THOUGH THEY ARE THE ONES FIGHTING THE PHYSICAL WAR AND GIVING UP THEIR PHYSICAL LIVES.
    ( note that neither Rav Schachter or the other consensus on the klal yisroel question are associating this with anything having to do with whether a person is a tinok shenishbu - the consensus holds they are not punished bidei adam and ?bidei shamayim { and ? Hashem decides the criterion for their neshomos and the responsibility they might have for any particular imperative as a private thing H' does ETC..we all know this )

    So therefore for Gold to derogatorily insult the consensus of the gedolims positions regarding "...nor do you pray for the safety of the soldiers who protect you " -- "PROTECT YOU" IS NOT A POSITION OF HALACHA THAT THE CONSENSUS MAINTAINS IS EVEN TRUE. therefore any hakaras hatov would involve gratitude over the chilonim's efforts alone)

    Gold;s references regarding " In fact, I can't think of a single area in which you participate with the rest of Klal Yisrael. " Well it is clear Gold's position is against the consensus of the chachmei hamesorah - Gold has it backwards....they arent klal yisroel- only the ones he is maligning have a shem klal yisroel, according to the consensus.

    Does Gold hold that Rav Schachter is wrong that the halacha excludes all those form klal yisroel who aren ot maaminim and not shomer shobbes? Who even cares once he has publicly maligned the gedolim's positions repeatedly as you included in the article.? He is not relevant to the consensus discussion

    This quote showes he has the whole idea backwards from even Rav Hershel Schachter's definition of klal yisroel PLUS the consensus is that the welfare of klal yisroel- the brocho they get- is not impacted upon by anyone who is not a maammin and also shomer shobbes ( i do not know Rav H Schachter's position on whether chilonim and kofrim have an impact on the welfare of klal yisroel ( not as individuals ie. are kofrim and chilonim's personal welfare impacted upon by those considered members of Klal yisroel, ?)

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  51. You write a whole article on how chareudim just cause loshon hora and that's all they are, but you just caused so much lodhon hora to be spoken about them.
    if you honestly want geulah and to see mashiach please start with ahavas yisroel. maybe speaking to a chareidi person about why they do what they doto at least gain a minutia of understanding.
    also the rabbis you quoted are chareidi, and so was Rav Kook.

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