Cities of Torah Warriors
Do fighters of Torah Battles need defending?
What are the ramifications of being a charedi city, full of yeshivos and kollelim? Well, for one, it means that the city continues essentially as normal during the war, both practically and emotionally, since virtually no men are called up.
Connected to this is the claim that they are protected from harm due to their Torah. Mishpacha Magazine this week interviewed Rav Yaakov Hillel, who claims that charedi yeshiva students are the ones who are “really” protecting Israel, and that therefore nobody should donate funds to the war effort at the expense of yeshivos.
The Chazon Ish famously declared that no bombs will fall in Bnei Brak. This claim was subsequently endorsed by Rav Chaim Kanievsky and others. Strangely, though, they have not informed the IDF that the Iron Dome batteries can be saved for other areas. It’s almost as though when it comes to real life, the Torah of Bnei Brak doesn’t actually make Bnei Brak any better protected.
And it’s not just Bnei Brak. Last week, the Rav of Kiryat Sefer, R. Meir Kessler, released a letter. He first describes with pride how Kiryat Sefer is a city of Torah, full of people learning in yeshiva and kollel, and notes that many Gedolim have described it as “one large Beis HaMidrash.” He then proceeds to claim that Kiryat Sefer falls into the category of the yeshivos of Sura and Pumbedisa, described in the Midrash as never having suffered persecution or subjugation, due to their being engaged in the “Battle of Torah.” And this leads him to his main point: that the residents of Kiryat Sefer should therefore not take any time away from their studies to help with the physical war in any way (i.e. not even with chessed projects). After all, they are involved in the Battle of Torah, which is more powerful than any other effort.
Yet he does not explain why Kiryat Sefer nevertheless constantly demands greater IDF protection. What about the superior protection provided by all those Bnei Torah, which is so powerful that it justifies not taking off any time at all to help in any other way? How is there any real benefit, if they still require the exact same protection as everyone else?
Meanwhile, the town of Beitar explicitly brands itself as “The City of Torah.” And yet, while they may believe that they believe that their Torah protects, they clearly do not actually believe it. The mayor of Beitar recently wrote a letter to the Minister of Security thanking him for the IDF presence but begging for additional protection.
Surely it’s the height of hypocrisy to claim that your Torah protects and that therefore you shouldn’t take off any time to help in other ways, while simultaneously demanding that other people come and risk their lives to protect you.
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