Oh, and actually no less than Chazal (Berachos 5a) say that when calamities befall us, we are supposed to do introspection to see what areas of observance need improvement. And the default area to improve given by Chazal is Torah study!

But then again, Chazal were Chareidi, so scratch that.

Update: See happygolucky's response here:


And this one from me:


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This is totally ridiculous. Yes, Chareidim really think that Torah protects! This concept is not a Chareidi innovation. It is classic Judaic philosophy and Chazal say as such in numerous places. https://irrationalistmodoxism.substack.com/p/does-torah-protect. This very speech from R' Edelstein demonstrates that Charedim believe so, as well as the psak from R' Zilberstein that you were busy mocking last month, as well as numerous other statements and halachic rulings by Chareidi Gedolim and Poskim. It is simply not practical to leave all Yeshivos running 24/7. Most Yeshiva students are not cut out for that type of schedule, and it would in fact be detrimental in the long-term. Although in times of danger, Torah students do increase Torah study, exactly as R' Edelstein is advocating for here. When the rockets were falling in the south, MOST YESHIVOS STAYED, based on the psak of R' Chaim Kanievsky and others. The ones that relocated were mostly high schools, where the young bochurim were not able to cope with the situation. Not because the Yeshiva administration was frightened.

This is extremely straightforward, and you seem to be the only one confused about it. I think the real reason that you can't seem to wrap your head around is because that YOU don't think that Torah protects, as you've said numerous times. So it's kinda like me having trouble believing that intelligent Indians really, really believe that they are created and governed by a bunch of action figures. You are so far removed from believing in the Torah's protection that you have trouble understanding that anyone else really does.

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you can take the charedim out of the ghetto, but ya can't take the ghetto mentality out of charedim. Please request that das toireh people substantiate their irrational claims and statements Remind them why Jewish armies are required to do battle on Shabbos

You might even suggest they put down the Talmud and learn TaNaCh

You have a great blog, R Slifkin, but your detractors have the mindset of 19th century shtetl dwellers and kollel bochrim(who probably believe R Akiva's students literally died in a plague [Chazal's codeword for rebellion - not a good word to mention when living under foreign domination]

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As I read the comments, I ponder why certain people come to rage at Rabbi Slifkin while a simple "I disagree, here is why" would suffice. I also ponder why certain other people use this comment section to express their anger at a God they don't believe in.

So much irrational behavior. To paraphrase the words of a certain sci-fi character "Consider the illogic of wasted energy."

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Actually I agree with Rav Edelsten that Charedim did enable many of the recent tragedies/ disasters, but not for the reason he gives. They have contributed to the division that has turned Jews against each other. They have increased wanton and needless dislike and hatred (Sinat Chinam). When our enemies see they we are not united, when reserve officers threaten not to report for duty, when we came close to all out civil war.. they rub their hands in glee and take the opportunity to strike out against us. That has caused tragic loss of life.

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Apr 16·edited Apr 16

Working from the premise that the universe would cease to exist if all Torah study were to cease even for a moment, R’ Chaim Volozhiner instituted round-the-clock “mishmaros” in his yeshiva so that, at least in Volozhin, someone was always learning Torah (for the sake of the rest of the world). It’s worth noting that:

A) Reb Chaim did not seem to believe that the protective effect of Torah study was geographically or spatially limited (i.e., as long as someone was learning in Volozhin, the rest of the universe was OK), and

B) It wasn’t necessary that *everyone* always be learning, just that someone was always learning.

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Apr 15·edited Apr 15

Its a Jewish thing to take blame for not living up to observance. From the times of Tanach the leaders have used any calamity happening to us as a sign that we have not lived up to our standards in Torah. Other nations blamed it upon the enemy, or their gods, or nature etc and they are no longer exist as peoples, but we always blamed it on our lack of observance everytime. And our Rabbis continue to lead us in the same true and trusted way.

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Apr 17·edited Apr 17

When I was in the yeshiva, many learned bein hazmanim. This was true for both a DL and charedi yeshivos that I'd learned in. The reasons for bein hazmanim are obvious. The subject has been discussed numerous times and has become an obsession on this blog. I would guess, that something must be going not as expected with the chinuch of Slifkin's kids. Remember that as a general rule: כל באיה לא ישובון, good intentions not withstanding.

Slifkin hit a new low again. He looses this round hands down.

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Apr 16·edited Apr 16

It should first be noted that you have yet to actually prove Charedim dont truly believe that Torah protects. In fact, last month you claimed there was a massive increase in Charedim applying for gun permits, and still haven't offered a word of proof to back that up. (You embedded a hyperlink to an article, which itself gave no evidence, whatsoever, to back the claim up.) So the whole premise is fatally flawed.

With that said, I personally share your belief that at least some Charedim dont truly believe the official claims, and use it as a convenient motto instead of their real reason for avoiding the army, viz, its corrupting influence. OK, let's assume arguendo that's true - what of it? All of modern society is based on official statements of position that party members themselves don't believe. Most Communist party members never believed their own propaganda, leaders of the US Democrats don't believe most of their own public statements, and neither do plenty in Republican leadership. The same is true in CEO messaging to the employees; they don't believe in many of the actions they've been forced to take because of a few powerful fund managers. So, at most, you've made an unproven claim that some in the Charedi world are the same as the rest of the world. We can live with that.

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We all know the reason the charedi leadership doesn't want their youth to serve in the army has almost othing to do with learning torah and is more about not exposing their youth to outside influences. After all, the girls don't do sheirut leumi. I find this fascinating as they pray for kibbutz galiyot and moshiach all the time. Will they then be willing to serve in an army. There will also be outside influences. When push comes to shove, they want to continue living in the galut while physically being here.

BTW, The brisket Rav wanted to leave Palestine leading up to the war of independence because of the possible dangers and needed to be persuaded to stat.

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What a nonsensical article.

Bain Hazmanim is not a break that is given to bochurim because they deserve it for their hard work. There was a reason it was instituted, and if it did not exist, there would be less learning in the world, not more.

There is no comparison between learning and the army, and that should be simple to anyone who thinks for more than a nano-second and has no agenda. Oh, wait.........................

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Apr 15·edited Apr 15

A Jew who was living in China came to Europe on business. After his business was done he decided to go to Radin to visit the Chafetz Chaim before embarking on his homeward journey to that faraway land. The Chafetz Chaim asked him how the Jews in China were faring and the visitor told him that things were in a bad state; Jewish life was hanging by a tenuous thread. The Chafetz Chaim sighed and said that the situation was similar in other far-flung places around the world where the number of Jews was small and Torah observance was being neglected. He gave his visitor a copy of sefer Nidchei Yisrael which he had written especially for Jews who’d been carried away by Divine Providence to such far-off localities.

Then the Chafetz Chaim asked his visitor what was going on in China in general among the non-Jews. The visitor didn’t quite know what aspect of Chinese life to talk about so the Chafetz Chaim asked what was the last thing he had seen reported in the newspapers in China? The visitor recalled a story about the construction of a dam to stop the flow of a certain river. Tens of thousands of people had moved into agricultural settlements on the newly-dry land. But then tragedy struck: the dam burst and with sudden force the mighty river’s waters flooded the new settlements. Tens of thousands of Chinese people paid with their lives.

Hearing this the Chafetz Chaim began to cry. “So the midas hadin has reached all the way to there?” he said.

The visitor astounded asked “When I told the Rav about the miserable state of Yiddishkeit in China he sighed and gave me a book and now when I tell him a natural disaster that killed tens of thousands of Chinese people he cries?”

The Chafetz Chaim answered him “Have you ever been in Warsaw?”

The visitor nodded. Yes he had.

“How many non-Jews live there in the Polish capital?”

The businessman named a figure of about a million.

“And how many Jews?”

“About 300000.”

The Chafetz Chaim then asked him “If you were to go there and stand on a soapbox in a main square and start giving a mussar shmuess in Yiddish who would gather around to listen?”

“The Jews of course.”

“But they’re the minority” the Chafetz Chaim pointed out.

“Yes” said the businessman “but the Poles don’t understand Yiddish!”

“I will explain the nimshal of the soapbox speech to you” said the Chafetz Chaim. “A flood is a speech in Shamayim-language. Who understands it? Only the Jews. And the Hand of Heaven guided you here to Radin to tell me about the flood in China in order to alert me to pay attention like the Gemara says in Yevamos. And that is why I’m so disturbed.”


Kol v'chomer when these troubles befall us, particularly here.

Natan, it must be you are not fluent in this language. You call it "fluffy spirituality" and other such terms of mocking. Since you do not understand it, it is not speaking to you. I suggest you learn. It is not subject to reductionist-rationalist reasoning.

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Apr 15·edited Apr 16

Writing tip: when an opinion piece ends with a platitude, e.g., "it's as simple as that," u acknowledge u have not really made a convincing logical argument. Similar useless platitudes, like ending a piece "Period" r equally unconvincing. Likewise, starting a piece with a platitude is a total turn-off, like "would somebody please tell me why..," as r silly analogies like, "well if u r so pro-life as to ban abortion, why r u not pro-life enough to ban the death penalty?"

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Jewish belief is that Torah is highly important for every step of Jewish life. The more Torah learning that exists, the better we are. We can keep Mitzvos better, we can reach correct Halachic decisions, we will lead more moral lives and we will fulfill our purposes in the world, and the world will reach its purpose.

Over the years it became quite clear that Yeshivos are the only way to ensure that Torah has any staying power in a person's head. When people learn privately in Beis Hamedrash, they are more susceptible to the winds of the outside world, small disturbances can upend entire lives, and the lack of a group of like-minded people creates doubts in people's minds. Reading auto-biographies of Maskilim and writers who left the faith underscores this problem. Those that learned in the local shtiebel, as soon as they or their friends were drafted to the army or otherwise left, had no more support system and left everything behind them quite soon.

Only when people had a period of total immersion during their youth, where the entire schedule, lifestyle and topic of conversation was the Sugya they were learning and its depths, were they fortified with the knowledge that this world is secondary to Hashem's purpose for it, and they would view the vicissitudes of life as mere obstacles in their way of Avodas Hashem and their focus did not waver. A community that respects such people, is a community that respects Torah, and they too will learn more and be more closely connected to Torah and its chiyuvim.

Yeshivos were developed by people with a real stake in the game. Not people suggesting ideas off the cuff, but by people who devoted time and effort to figuring things out, learning from experience, from other people's experiences and their own wisdom. These Yeshivos maximized their resources to achieve their purpose - a person who will dedicate his life to Torah, wherever he ends up in life. There was a need for a Beis Hamedrash, a Shiur, a Mashgiach, possibly a Mussar program, as well as Bein Hazmanim.

When some of the disapora found itself in a new golus - under a secular regime in Eretz Yisroel, things did not really change. At least not fundamentally. The language may have changed from Yiddish to Ivrit, but the purpose and goal of the Yeshivos stayed the same, as well as the methods of achieving that purpose. If the golus had an army, that is nice for them, not for those who are engaged in the supreme task of learning Torah and ensuring that it lasts amongst Klal Yisroel. We have a greater job to do, and we do it the optimal way, including Shiurim, Mashgichim, a Mussar program, as well as Bain Hazmanim.

By the way, the country does not suffer from the learning of the bochurim, because it has supreme spiritual powers, and the fact that the Yishuv in Eretz Yisroel is still there is, in no small fashion, thanks to the existence of the Yeshivos. But that is not their purpose, and they should certainly not arrange their schedule, goals or success yardstick based on saving the Yishuv. They have a greater purpose in the world.

That is why this post is irrelevant. Looking at Yeshivos solely through the lens of 'replacement for the Army' is a warped way of viewing things. It is like considering a lawyer 'someone who couldn't become a car service driver'.

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It goes without saying that people adopt positions that not-coincidentally jive with own their self-interest. Do 80% of rabbi-written Talmudic agadtas just "coincidentally" promote the primacy of rabbinic rulings, over Biblical rules or even verbal directives from God (like a bat-kol)?

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When I learned in a kollel that went according to the Mifal HaShas program (20 daf/30 daf of Gemara, or 10 daf of Yoreh Deah/8 daf of Choshen Mishpat per month), they take off a bit from the load (9 daf Yoreh Deah/7 daf Choshen Mishpat) for the months of Tishrei, Nisan, and Av.

(Tishrei and Nisan I can understand, since people are so busy preparing for the holidays. But why Av?)

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