This is a barnstormer of an editorial from the current issue of Torah Tidbits:
“Two years ago, in the pre-Yom HaAtzmaut issue of Torah Tidbits, I raised the issue of army service for all – including yeshiva students. I made it clear then – and I make it clear now – that what I was writing was personal and not necessarily reflective of OU policy. And I say that again now.
I’m not going to write about that issue directly – although I haven’t changed my feelings as to where I stand. There are other things on my mind. Before we start putting an issue of TT together, I mull over what will be the main idea of the Lead Tidbit. Then the issue begins to take shape and I sometimes find my idea expressed by others. I specifically call your attention to Rabbi Sprecher’s article and to Rabbi Roness’s Chizuk and Idud column. (It might not be a bad idea to read them first and then continue with this.) I felt a little panic that both had mentioned the Rav’s comment about the Israeli Flag, but decided that each article said its own thing. And so will this Lead Tidbit.
Dear TTreader: Whatever your feelings and opinions are about army (or national) service for ‘chareidim’ are, I would hope and pray that we can agree on the following points.
A chareidi young man who decides to join the IDF should not be spit upon by individuals from the chareidi community. He should not have things thrown at him. He should not be cursed. He should not be told to take off his kipa and tzitzit – and his commanders in Nachal Chareidi (or otherwise) should not have to give him permission to change into civilian garb before he goes home on leave, so that he will not be subjected to the abuse that has become common in certain neighborhoods.
I would also hope that Jews of all shades of the religious spectrum would agree that burning garbage cans is not the way to protest anything.
I would even suggest that the majority of chareidim (those whom I referred to in the title as real Chareidim, meaning those who truly are CHAREID LIDVAR HASHEM) are opposed to and maybe even embarrassed by the actions of the ‘fringe’ extremist.
So how about saying so? Where is the uproar of protest within the chareidi community against to unacceptable behaviors as above?
More: Even if one believes that Torah study should exempt a young man from military service, what about a regular pubic prayer in shuls throughout the country and the Jewish world asking G-d to protect our soldiers and security forces who risk their lives to protect ours?
We all say MI SHEBEIRACHs for a person who received an aliya to the Torah, for a woman who gave birth, for sick people, for those who toil on behalf of the tzibur… there is even a
MI SHEBEIRACH for people who do not speak during davening!
Shouldn’t all Jews say a prayer for Chayalim – regardless of their stance on who should and should not serve?
Refusal to do so goes way beyond opposing Giyus Talmidei Yeshivot.
Can you imagine the difference in perception and attitude in the general Israeli population towards chareidim (and what they represent) if instead of virulent rantings, the protest rallies would include a prayer for Chayalim and a recognition of their role in the holy work of protecting Jews who live in Israel?”
I agree with Phil Chernofsky (editor). It’s a scandal that he should have to point these simple truths out. The Hareidi (or Chareidi) leadership has failed. If they had any honor… oh never mind; we all know they have none.