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Haredim Should Serve in the Army – Lessons from Parshat Bamidbar

May 25, 2011 – 4:35 pm34 Comments
Chareidi soldiers

While most haredim do not, some haredim do serve in the Israeli Army. Image: religionandstateinisrael.blogspot.com

By Yaakov Gorr

This week’s parsha, Bamidbar, reveals the missing 614th commandment, particularly relevant as Israeli lawmakers debate drafting Haredi youth to the army.  Twenty-year old Jews are told to enlist in the army.

From the first portion we read: Take the sum of all the congregation of the children of Israel… a head count of every male according to the number of their names. From twenty years old and upwards, all who are fit to go out to the army in Israel….

And from the second: Bring forth the tribe of Levi and present them before Aaron the kohen, that they may serve him. They shall keep his charge and the charge of the entire community ….You shall appoint Aaron and his sons, and they shall keep their kehunah; you shall kill any outsider who approaches.

What has this ancient history got to do with us in 2011?

A few months ago, a Knesset committee released a report saying that the Tal Law regarding Haredi IDF enlistment has failed, and Israel should focus instead on making military or other national service compulsory for Haredim The IDF will recruit 2,400 Haredim in 2011. The number of Haredi draftees will increase by 600 each year until it reaches 4,800 in 2015.

Today, 14% of eligible 18-year-old Jewish men evade military service by studying at an ultra-Orthodox yeshiva, more than double the rate 15 years ago. By 2020 the number of exemptions is expected to reach 25%

Now some Haredi youth do enlist, but clearly many do not.  As I understand the parsha, it’s a clear refusal to obey a divine decree: to put your name into the draft and partake in the call-up.

In Pirkei Avot, Ethics of our Fathers, we are told that the purpose of creation is to allow the Jewish people to connect with the Almighty. The task is great, and can only be achieved through a collective effort.

In this case, the “collective effort” is Medinat Yisrael, and through its strength the ingathering of the exiles.  Exiles are unlikely to be gathered into a state which is at risk. Not to take part in the collective effort is to betray it and the Jewish people.

Rebbe Nachman of Breslov wrote that the land of Israel was “the essence, the foundation, the source of the holy faith – There is the root of the holiness of Your people Israel…”  His writings inspired HaRav Abraham Isaac Kook, unquestionably one of the most profound of all Zionist thinkers, who saw the rise of modern day Zionism as the onset of the beginning of the redemption of the Jewish people from exile, in expectation of the arrival of the “final redemption” of the Messiah.

Rav Kook was a messianist and had a very clear notion of the redemption of the Jewish People in Medinat Yisrael, a redemption that was part of the divine plan for the whole world. World redemption depended on our redemption and vice versa.

It was clear to Rav Kook: the Jewish people needed a Jewish state. Judaism itself needed to reflect every area of that national life. The true glory of G-d’s name could not be expressed when it was confined to study houses and synagogues and limited to the world of the spirit.

Religious Zionists see the establishment of Medinat Yisrael as a sign from G-d, part of G-d’s plan. The need for the exile has finished. The time for the beginning of redemption is at hand.
G-d has given we Jews the task of guiding the rest of the world towards righteousness. Despite our tribulations, we are the only democracy in the triangle formed between Morocco, Tajikistan and Pakistan – truly a light unto the nations.

And it has to be defended.  Parshat Bamidbar is authority for the proposition that each of us is called and that only a limited number get exempted on the basis of religious activity.  If you leave your post in the Army and attempt temple service, you’ll die.

And the Haftorah is right on point.  The second pasuk says that we shall appoint one head over us – so, a legitimate government, as we have.  There is one command, and uniquely it’s one we appoint ourselves.  If the temporal command says “enlist”, then enlist bli aval u’bli chaval (“without ifs and without buts”) .  That’s what the parsha tells us.

Those who tell us to have a more perfect observance of every mitzvah should remember the story of the Exodus from Egypt: in every generation someone rises against us, as we saw only two weeks ago on the Lebanese and Syrian borders.  Those Haredim who are forever telling us to have better observances, or a higher level of kashrut, or more restrictions on Shabbat, in this matter too, should do beyond the letter of the law. If the law says serve three years, the perfection of the mitzvah is to serve four years.

The author, Yaakov Gorr, has been studying Bamidbar to both leyn and deliver a drasha this Shabbat.

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34 Comments »

  • philip mendes says:

    Jon: some good food for thought.

    Yes they should serve in principle just as they should do everything else that normal citizens do in Israel or anywhere else including working for a living rather than loafing around studying Torah and expecting to be supported by the state.

    That may sound harsh coming from a strong supporter of the welfare state like myself, but some welfare recipients are genuinely not deserving.

    On the other hand, do the benefits of haredi army duty outweigh the costs?

    Firstly, will their presence lift or lower the overall standard and effectiveness of the army?

    Secondly, given that many have very narrow right-wing beliefs, will their presence lift or lower the humanity of the army?

    Philip

    P.S. Good article on Libby in The Age last Sunday

  • Yaakov says:

    The army, Phillip Nathan, is not there to be humane. It is there to defend my homeland, from attacks from some very inhumane types. Now I don’t care how the haredim discharge that duty, they can do paramedic work or kitchen work or drive supply trucks or fight, the psychometric tests will work that out, as long as they do something and don’t just bludge on the non-haredi majority.

  • @Yaacov – when the law allowing army exemptions for Charedim was introduced, it was built on the notion that on a spiritual level, those who sit and study Torah are also doing their bit to defend the state. Indeed, your source in Parshat Bamidbar recognizes that the Cohanim and Levi’im had essential non-army roles: service in the Tabernacle, and teaching Torah to everyone respectively. They also serve who “only” sit and learn.

    @Philip – “loafing around studying Torah” is an awful generalization and slur against those who are genuine in their study, and there are plenty of them. To be sure, there are those who use the Torah as an excuse to loaf around, or stay in the Yeshivah system for all the wrong reasons, and I fully agree that Israel should clamp down and stop this rorting. However, that should not diminish the importance of those who learn lishma.

  • Ari Silbermann says:

    Hi Yaakov,

    Just a couple of points to think about:
    1. In general, the workings of halacha are more complex than simple verses from the Torah. Orthodox Jews are not Karaites – even if charedim seem to be tending towards Tzdokim or even possible Essenes.

    2. In many countries around the world, certainly the US, special dispensation is granted to all members of the clergy and students – there is no reason to my mind why in this regard the secular state of Israel should davka draft rabbinical students. Unless of course their service is necessary – which it probably is. Having said that, it is a well know statistic that the numbers of draft dodging in the secular communities in Israel is more than the chareidim.

    Having said that it must be noted that by percentage of males in the said Jewish communities, Chareidim by far contribute the least to the security of the State of Israel

    Which brings me to David(Hi David):

    That old line that is given as the reason for Chareidi non-service is nothing but a poor attempt to hide the true reasons for not serving in the army which include:
    * A general animosity towards the State of the heretical Zionists
    * A fear of being influenced by outside culture, which is especially noticeable in the army
    * A fear of death
    * A general desire on the part of Chareidi Rabbis to maintain even unworthy students in Kollel. Once students don’t go to the army then there is very little they can do by way of occupation in Israel.

    -Now, I understand their pilpulim which they utilise to feel a little better for themselves – all of which have very tenuous and weak bases in tradition and, to be honest, does not behold a community which claims to act in the sense of “chumra kekula”, and which unfortunatly creates a huge chillul hashem.
    I urge you to travel to Beitar or a similar chareidi community on Yom Hazikaron – it is not exactly a mood of remembrance for the fallen – rather it is a non-event(There are no memorials for the fallen of Israel). There is very little comprehension of the sacrifice that so many have made so that they can live in this country. This is not the position of people who view themselves as part of the general Israeli community, and that their part is by learning whilst other’s part is by fighting – this is the position of a people who remove themselves from the klal – purposely so.
    I remember a Rabbi/lecturer of mine quoting R’ Shach after the first lebanon war at the funeral of a well known Rabbi from Lakewood saying, “Do you think it was the soldiers in the tanks who won the war? Or the planes in the airforce? No, it was the students of Lakewood!” – That is not exactly the viewpoint of the Kohanim who go out before the troops of the nation – this is the view of the Essenes who sit in caves and proclaim the end of the world and the battle between light and dark.

    Atleast they could be honest with themselves and the rest of us and proclaim that they have no care for the state, or those who have died fighting for it – and that even though they would never rely on such logic to act leniently on matters of Shabbat, they rely on such logic to act leniently on matters of Hilchot Milchama for modern political/ideological reasons. Atleast then they would have an iota of integrity.

  • Ari,

    I wouldn’t say the reason I gave is simply a facade for the “true” reasons you cite. Rather, all the reasons (yours and mine) co-exist, and vary in importance to different groups within the Charedi world. Not all Charedim are alike (just look at how much they fight amongst themselves), yet they are tarred with the same brush by the non-Charedi world.

    It is sad that many Charedi groups shun the state of Israel and refuse to recognize, let alone celebrate it. The quote from R’ Shach is a myopic view that doesn’t acknowledge the reality that Israel relies both on the troops on the ground and the students in the Yeshivot. Without the latter, Israel is just like any other state in the world, but without the former, Israel could not exist at all!

  • Reality Check says:

    David, wouldn’t it be nice if Israel was like any other state in the world; with no one wanting to wipe it off the map.

  • frosh says:

    The issues raised here are inextricable from those raised in Simon Holloway’s critique of the Kollel System in Israel.

    The essence of Simon’s conclusion is:
    “While several of the great scholars of our past and present have received generous stipends from benefactors, the kollel as a system of mass-education has produced only lazy and belligerent individuals, who feel entitled to the money that they are receiving, and who evidence great contempt for those in the community who do not support them.
    They are a testimony to the simple fact that a life of scholarship suits only certain people, and that others are better adapted to different tasks.”

  • Shira Wenig says:

    I agree with Yaakov’s sentiment that charedim should serve in the army – I doubt Ben Gurion foresaw the scale of this exemption when he agreed to it – and I like pshat as much as the next person, but I find this article a bit simplistic.

    1. The pesukim require every non-Levi to serve in the army. But let’s not forget that the Leviim were exempted because “v’shamru haleviim et mishmeret mishkan haedut” – they were the spiritual guardians, so to speak. The text clearly gives a precedent for exemption of those who work in the spiritual realm, so perhaps full-time yeshiva students are the modern day equivalent of the Leviim.

    2. The pesukim require every non-Levi among bnei yisrael to serve in the army. This would also include Diaspora Jews. Doesn’t contradict the article, but a point worth noting.

    3. Elsewhere we find legitimate grounds for exemption from army service, one of which is fear (Devarim 20:8). As Ari mentions, this may be one of the motivating factors for draft-dodgers, charedi or otherwise. Obviously it doesn’t apply to everyone, and I’m not saying it’s an ideal, but there’s more to the draft than Bamidbar 1:3.

    A final point – Frosh, this issue is not at all inextricable from those in Simon’s article on the kollel system. Simon’s point there was about the futility of mediocre students spending their lives in kollel.
    In a society with no army, and no need for an army, Simon’s kollel bludgers should still go and get a job.
    In a society with an army, the Levi exemption doesn’t require excellence in the spiritual realm. I’m not sure about this, but I doubt that, back in the day, those Leviim who bummed around the mishkan or did a sloppy job of sprinkling the blood on the mizbeach were sent off to the army to be put to better use. Even if we leave laziness out of it, Simon’s point was about mediocrity in talent and ability; there were probably Leviim who, no matter how hard they tried, just couldn’t bake the lechem hapanim as well as the masterchef Leviim, and I doubt they were shipped off to the army either.
    Similarly in 2011, if the point of exempting yeshiva students is because they are spiritually defending am yisrael, I doubt it makes a difference to God whether they are writing chiddushim by the bookful or plodding through chumash & Rashi, as long as the motivation is genuine.

    Having said that, I believe that all sectors of society should pull their weight in the defence of the state. Two pretty important side effects of this would be a reduction in the polarisation of Israeli society given that the army is the great melting pot, and a reduction in the number of charedi families living off welfare, as army service would open up workforce possibilities that are currently shut off to them.

    (All this with the disclaimer that it’s hard to comment when I don’t live there myself.)

  • Yaakov says:

    I think, David, you’re missing my point. I am not saying that there should be no study. However the parsha is clear: some are permitted, some are not. One tribe out of 12 is a little over 8%. Not 14%. Not 25%. If one in 12 were permitted to serve by studying torah, nearly half the current students would be released to fight. And looking at Simon’s view as channelled by Frosh, scholarship is not for everyone, so let the High Command work out who will be in the one-in-twelve: drawing from the haftorah.

    And Ari, you do me a dis-service. In exactly the same way as an abstract gives a brief overview of a scholarly article, I cannot give you any more than a superficial version of my view in 800 words. You provide an academic slur – you then justify it by reference to a state of affairs which may have existed in the United States some 30 years ago – and finally conflate the idea of “Clergy” (which for we Jews means persons who have obtained smicha) with yeshiva students, many of whom do not complete their rabbinical studies. Even on your major point, you are wrong… I remember Monash Uni in the early 70s with students escaping the draft and running resistance radio stations – Australian students were definitely drafted.

    Finally, I love being accused of being simplistic. It’s one of the great strengths I had as a lawyer and what my publisher now says I bring to writing my legal textbooks. I like to make complex ideas simple. Oh yes you say, simple but not simplistic. Let’s cram more thinking and more complexity into fewer words, we Jews, so that we can take the world of ideas off into some sort of modern-day kabbalah outside the scope of mere mortals. Or maybe more words, Yaakov… your textbooks are 40-odd thousand words long and this article is only 800? Slacker!!

    Length and complexity surely develop an idea but sadly lose most of your audience including many Jews. I love a good debate, I enjoy the interchange of ideas at Shira and in Galus, and I’m realistic enough to realise that Temple (where I do not daven) and AJN(which I myself do not read) respectively, where simplicity seems to rule, are far more widely attended/read.

  • Ari Silbermann says:

    Yaakov,

    When I wrote “students” I meant – students of the clergy – and in America this is definitely the case. As you can see, I am not really in favour of Charedi draft dodging – I do think however, that based on the example of other Western contries, it is not so black and white and not necessarily only a halachic issue. And of course, the Chariedi community cannot all be termed clergy in the Christian sense.
    In terms of your claims of complexity/simplicity. If what you are saying is correct you do a dis-service to yourself and the Torah by utilising the Torah to back-up your view when you quote only one section of it. It is always more complex than that!
    My point regarding Halacha was that the motivating factor for Orthodox Jews is not really a verse from the Torah but the Halacha pesuka.
    -Even you, by calculating fractions based on pesukim are interpretting the verse to be allowing a small amount of “draft-deferral” and not a spiritual “draft-deferral”. All of which is simplistic.

    (And, I am not sure why I should do you a service??)

  • Marky says:

    To say that for charedim not to serve in the army is “a clear refusal to obey a divine decree” is totally missing a most important point and is incorrect.

    If there would be no danger of going off derech or becoming less religious by joining the army, you may have a point. However, there have been many whose religious observance have gone down after serving. Otherwise there would be a lot more joining. So you cannot bring proof from the Torah as in those wars there were no such temptations.

    Re: almost everyone sitting in Kollel, this has always been a litvish requirement. By the Chassidim, the great majority go to work. They may first learn in Kollel for a half a year to a year etc. In general only the ones that really hold by learning-usually going on to become Rabbonim, Rosh Yeshivas etc-stay on. Of course there are exceptions to every rule

  • Marky says:

    Chassidic leaders were never in favour of the great majority learning for many years in Kollel

  • Ron says:

    It is not about the value of Limmud Torah, it is all about money, power and politics.

    Most Yeshivot of the Haredin in Israel are sponsored by the state, according to the number of students. The larger the number of registered students, the larger the budget.

    This creates a strong motivation of the Rabbis to have as much registered students as possible – many of them, as mentioned above, fake ones. In addition to the budget for the Yeshiva, every registered student receives an allocation from the state, which stops if he starts working or joins the IDF (by the way, students in universities do not receive any allocation).

    So, it is the interest of everyone in the Haredi community that the young men study (even only officially). This will ensure that the money of the Israeli taxpayer (mostly non-Haredi) will continue to flow to the Yeshivot rather than to the over-crowded classes (40 students) in primary schools, and the Rabbis will have more people under their authority.

    Once this dodgy and outrageous arrangement ceases to exists – what is very unlikely to happen under the current political situation in Israel – the real importance and value of Limmud Torah will be revealed.

  • Marky says:

    Yes Ron, you hold by the policy of Satmar and the Eda Hacharedis, whose institutions do not accept any money from the government.

  • Ron says:

    Hi Marky,

    I wrote “Most Yeshivot”, not “All”. Satmar Natorei Karta etc. are a minority in the Haredi community in Israel. Litvec Yeshivot and most Hassidic ones are state-sponsored.

  • Marky says:

    So you hold with the minority, the ones who don’t take-Satmar, NK. Like I wrote.

  • Marky says:

    Interesting that in Australia, Kollel students receive Austudy, in addition to all other benefits for families.

  • Ron says:

    The problem is not those who take, but with the state that gives according to criteria, which are (1) Results of a political horse trade (2) Descriminate between students of Yeshivot and students of colleges and universities (who receive nothing in spite of having larger expenses) (3) Does not put any limit on the number of Yeshiva students who are entitled to this benefit or on their ability to study what results in “blowing up” their numbers in order to recieve more budget (4) Encourages and causes people to stay out of the workforce until their 40s (5) Blood discrimination by exempting the Haredim from the conscription.

    This situation results in strong anti-Haredi feelings in Israel. Try to talk to young Israelis about this issue.

    Re Satmar etc. – They are at least honest, they neither give nor take from the state that they detest.

  • Marky says:

    Re horse trading, it is done every where in the world in all democracies. And if you were the head of a small party and the major ones needed your seats, you wouldn’t squeeze out every drop you could get? Pull the other one! You just need to look in Australia where a block of- not 30%, not 20, not even 10- just 3 or 4 seats, decided who will govern. And you can be sure that’s not the end of it. Whatever they ask for, they are given. That’s the nature of the beast(politics).

    The biggest problem for charedim joining the army is the promiscuity and irreligiousness there. Who wants their kids going off derech. They should fix that and there would be a lot more joining. However, there are quite a few who do, apparently there are more seculars who don’t.

    And where on earth do you get your facts from?? University students get nothing?? $1100 is nothing? Check this
    :http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20100517004209AAkkj2q

    I travel often to Israel and areas there and there are those that hate charedim no matter what. Many respect them. A few make a lot of noise, especially when the secular papers are always on the look out for sensationalism. They should report more on all the chesed and rescue organisations-second to none-operated by the charedim, servicing everyone, no matter what level of religion.

  • Ron says:

    I am not sure that Australians would accept a situation in which 10%-15% of the population, due to their religion or level of observance:

    1. Are exempted from conscription, while the rest have to serve 2-3 years + reserve duty until the age of 40.
    2. Are given students allocations for dozens of years, for studying simething which is considered useless by most of the population, and anyway does not have economical benefit, whether for the coutry of for the student’s availability to make a living in the future. And all this, while university students get nothing! The link that you sent was about per-student-budget in high schools and is irrelevant for this discussion.

    I am not sure where such a situation is legal in Australia at all.

    Re religion in the Army – I was there. The food is Kosher, the Shabbath is kept, there are synagogues in bases etc. Most modern orthodox rerligious Jews serve in the army – actually, they have a high motivation and are becoming a majority in the combative units. Why can’t the Haredim serve as well? The Haredim are just looking for excuses not to serve.

    And re the hatred towards the Haredim – read they newspapers, they hate the seculars much more.

  • Marky: “The biggest problem for charedim joining the army is the promiscuity and irreligiousness there”

    There are army programs for Charedim that meet their requirements, particularly regarding segregation of sexes. I don’t see them lining up for these, saying: “wow! now I can finally serve in the army of my country”.

    Too many have a culture of taking whatever is offered by the government, and rorting wherever possible. The approach of Rabbis to programs like this is more along the lines of: “well, if you have to go to the army, at least now you can do it without such a huge risk to your frumkeit”.

  • Marky says:

    “is considered useless by most of the population”. I would surmise that that is your view about Torah. Well then I can see where you’re coming from and then there is really no use arguing. Although, I have no doubt that the majority of the Jewish population in Israel believe in the Torah.

    For people with your view, Uganda or some other quiet place would have been a lot better choice to set up a country, rather than surrounded by all these enemies..

  • Ron says:

    Marky,

    If you want to go for personal mud-throwing, then do that with other people, not with me.

    The fact, whether you like it or not, is that most Israelis live a secular way of life. This is Israel.

    And yes, some of them (not including me, if this interests you) are atheists, and do not believe in the Torah. Before you send them to Uganda, keep in mind that their ancestors established the state of Israel, which is so important to you, and unlike the Haredim, most of them do serve in the army.

    The rest – actually, the majority of Jews in Israel, regardless their level of observance – recognize the importance of the Torah, but cannot accept the current situation, where hundreds of thousands of people live on taxpayer’s money for years for “Limmud Torah” (which is, as discussed above, fake in many cases), and at the same time insist on living separately from the rest of Israeli society, not taking part in the hard tasks it faces, and using their representatives in the Knesset and their political power, define the character of the state according to their view.

    Just to clarify the money issue: A student in Yeshiva pays zero tuition and receives a monthly allocation from the state straight to his bank account + discounts or exemption in many taxes (e.g. rates). A university student pays an annual tuition of about 3000$, and has to sponsor his/her living costs by himself, during full-time studies. University students receives no allocation.

    David: Good point. Thanks.

    Ron

  • Marky says:

    First of all, I did not mean to mud sling. If it came through that way, then I apologise. The reason I surmised about you, is because I would not expect someone who believes, to use a word such as useless CH”V, notwithstanding what anyone else thought.

    Again, I don’t mean to be insulting, but you really do not seem to know things about charedim. To say that Yeshiva students pay zero tuition is incorrect and shows that. They pay thousands of dollars for each child. I know as I have many relatives and friends there.

    And re the army, there are increasing charedi’s joining, due to the government working on religious units for them. However, there are still quite a few who come out of the army off derech and frankly I can understand parents being reluctant to take that risk.

    And contrary to what you say, they do try to help out in other ways. I have seen many examples.

  • Yaakov says:

    so tell me something Marky. Do you watch the news on TV? I mean, many of my Haredi friends do not have TV, I did not for 13 years. So did you watch yesterday? The Syrian demonstrators trying for the second time in three weeks to invade the border from the Golan? Do you know how far it is from Degania aleph to where the Syrian armistice line was before the 1967 war? It’s a short bicycle ride. It’s only 26 km from Katzin to Safed, it’s something like 12 shekels in a sherut. So tell me, Marky, if those demonstrators get to Safed, if the ones from Ramallah get into Jerusalem, will that throw a few bochers off derech, do you think? Remember Nasrallah and Ahmedinnijad, whose proxies these demonstrators appear to be, don’t want a makhloket with us, they want to kill us. Do you think that the sort of invasions we saw in 1948, 1956, 1967 and the Yom Kippur War might turn a few students off their verbrengungs?

    Every other mitzvah, we are told, God commands us. This one alone, you say, is optional. It’s more important to obey one commandment than another, you say, and individual haredim can choose for themselves when and where they can elect study over service, at the precise time when the enemy is trying to climb the fence only 30 km from the holy city of Sefat, only 3 km from the holy Kotel.

    In every generation there will be those who rise up to destroy us, but I never thought it would be other Jews.

  • Marky says:

    Where did I say it’s more important to keep one commandment over another? All I am saying is that if young boys keep going off derech in the army(which I am seeing) due to conditions there, then this is not the commandment mentioned in Parshas Bamidbar, because in those wars there were no such temptations.

    Otherwise, I agree with the rest of your post.

  • Marky says:

    David Werdiger writes “It is sad that many charedi groups shun the State of Israel and refuse to recognise, let alone celebrate it”

    This was also the position of Chabad and the Rebbe, certainly there was no celebration.

    Your comment about it being sad, is a trifle strange, unless I have identified you with the wrong group.

  • Marky,

    Before the establishment of the state, the previous Chabad Rebbe was very much against it, and was very upset at its formation. However, after the fact, Chabad, unlike other Charedi groups, acknowledged and accepted the state, and are very embedded in the army and other parts of Israeli society. This is mostly providing outreach and spiritual support to soldiers wherever they are. Of the Charedi groups, probably Chabad has the highest proportion actually completing service (although they are all relatively low).

    In the main, Chabad does not officially celebrate Yom Ha’atzma’ut, like other Charedi groups. However, we certainly don’t shun or reject the state.

  • david segal says:

    david

    do you celebrate yom yerushalaim?

  • Marky says:

    David W, with what do Chabad accept the state more than other charedi groups in Israel? The Rebbe did not permit any mosdos to celebrate Yom Haatzmaot and in fact removed his name from one that sang the national anthem(that’s probably more anti state than some of the other chareim). There were other instances that showed he was against the state:e.g. his response to the Shulsinger brothers(if you don’t know, I can tell you all about it). Also his policy on bochurim serving in the army was again the same as the other charedim.

    That Chabad provide kiruv to the army proves nothing. They do Kiruv everyhere, so the army shouldn’t be any different. The only reason that they(and Breslov) have more former soldiers in their ranks is because of the ones who became baalei teshuva after the army.

  • Levi says:

    Good work Yaakov!

  • Yaakov says:

    So why, Marky, do you think that the haftorah mentions the unfaithful wife going off to the other gods? Isn’t that a temptation? Isn’t that the whole point of the haftorah? We are tempted, we come back? Isn’t that why you say the last lines of the haftorah when winding the tefillin straps?

    and off-line I am at elephant@elephantconcepts.com, I would love to hear your further response.

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