The Need to Kasher

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Fairly recently read the following headlines:

– “The IDF officially expunged the term ‘Temple Mount’” (israelnationalnews.com, Arutz 7 26/9/17).
– “That’s Not Kosher: Haredi Soldiers Fed Non-Kosher Food” (israelnationalnews.com 27/8/17).
– “Houston: Orthodox ERTs Defy Jewish Law, Spearhead Church Cleanup” (YouTube 12/9/17).

Add to this:

-MADA still goes by the rule of “What kills first, is to be treated first”. What this means is that if a terrorist tries to kill and gets “neutralized” (which today means wounded, because it’s forbidden to kill Amalek) and the terrorist is then in a more severe medical state than the victim – the terrorist gets treated before the victim.
-El’or Azaria case & the “Azaria Effect”
-IDF allows missionaries (like Hananya Naftali) on IDF bases with Jewish soldiers to try to teach and spread their idolatry.

All of the above are the result of Am Yisrael being led, right here in Eretz Yisrael, by amei ha’aretz – people who don’t give a whit for anything truly Jewish or Torah. We would not be witnessing the above were the rules and policies Torah-based.

At present, Torah observant Jews have to choose between rules and policies foreign to Torah, and even in direct opposition to Torah, and disobeying in order not to violate Torah. What is needed is the authority of g’dolei hador at the policy-making and command level in all areas of public service (including Mada, Mishmar ezrachi, etc.) and security (IDF, Police and Magav, etc.).

The point is: Torah-observant Jews should NOT be at odds with or faced with options that either enable and promote Torah, or those that don’t. A Jewish military and first response should be Jewish (not serve terrorists over victims) and not just have in them a majority of Jews who follow foreign principles.

This is a wishful pre-emptive call to decide to do something productive and not just wait for the next round of spinning our wheels in the same stale mud in place just to stir up more hatred. Either there is initiative, and at least a step forward, or no more rounds. And the step forward will not come from Torah-observant to be less observant in order to please anyone.

After 2,000 years of all kinds of attempts at forcing assimilation on Jews – to force Jews in to the melting pots meant to strip them of their Yiddishkeit, chalila – religious Jews see the same objective in the draft here in the State of Israel. A good chunk of the charedi today who keep their children from this secular and secularizing framework are ba’alei teshuva who themselves served in the IDF and know first-hand what they are keeping their kids from.

This makes for a reality whereby some bashing the Haredim have not served in the IDF themselves, whereas those Haredim they are bashing – at least the parents – have.

This is also why what “you” did or I did – or one’s son, father, or great uncle for that matter – is irrelevant and proves nothing. It has no bearing on what is right or wrong and is not how Judaism/Torah works. As the chassidic “mantra” goes (based on Yechezkel 33: 24): “One was Abraham”. Moreover, the issue is not numbers but authority and policy.

So it’s the frameworks into which Jews are drafted that needs kashering.

Our leaders (sic, if they can be called that) need to show initiative to affect inclusiveness – how to mindfully accommodate bochurs and stop the ‘Let’s get them!’ approach. (And, as opposed to the Israeli Alt-Left and the non-Haredi/Hassidic cult Neturei Karta, I don’t hear any Haredi voice saying it does not want to defend the Land of Israel or denies that doing so is a mitzvah.)

Some who bash like to quote Torah, especially the opening of Parshat Ki Tetze: “When you go to war.” But Am Yisrael does not just go to war like that, and especially not behind a COS who is an absolute bur am haaretz. Ditto for Israel’s PM. When Am Yisrael went to war, it was after consulting the urim vetumim of the Cohen HaGadol, and no one moved until the prophet gave his okay and blessing and made the sacrifice. King David’s army didn’t go to war before each soldier toveled in the mikveh and went out to battle wearing tefilin.

Am Yisrael needs a Jewish army in Eretz Yisrael.

Today, without our Beit HaMikdash and prophets, the gedolim of our Am need to be consulted on how and what to do – on the big decisions and the million other small ones too. King Saul, who really cannot be compared to the amei haaretz leading us in state and military today, went to war without abiding by the requirements of Torah, and look what happened to him when he did – he paid a high price for it, including his own life and that of his sons.

A number of gedolim (whose shiyurim are broadcast on the radio) have commented that a Jewish military needs to effect starting with having all Jews “sitting” and learning Torah, since after all, Torah was given to all Am Yisrael and not just to the religious. In fact, from a Torah perspective, Jews dodging their service of God, by violating the Covenant, are contributing to our Am’s security problems – the Torah and Prophets are replete with references to this.

A Jewish army’s pakal should include tefillah and limud and strive to turn what is now an army with a majority of Jews, but with a goyishe even anti-Torah military doctrine, into a truly Jewish military. This is where initiative and the first step need to come.

How can we snub the instruction of gedolei hador when in doing so, looking at our history (see the Purim story when the Am did not listen to Mordechai, the g’dol hador’s instruction not to go to the banquet) – not listening has only caused us tzures and decrees. It is those who disregard their words and authority and do as they see fit who display a selfish and superior attitude. Those bochurs not going in are following the gedolim’s word.

On the other hand, the stats show a very different picture to those who love to hate on the Haredim, of the more “unaffiliated’ Haredim –

A blogger who is not Haredi, stated:

“harsh attacks on the entire Haredi community (“parasites”, “leeches”, “draft dodgers”) that appear in media and news sites. Attacks like these against an entire group are painful in themselves, but even more so when the charges are false. The problem seems to be a large gap between the general enlistment rate and the Haredi enlistment rate. Some people feel that the general rate is close to 100%, whereas the Haredi rate is 0%. What is the truth?

“The general enlistment rate is far below 100%, in fact below 50%, on the order of 45% today.

“Haredi enlistment… is now at about 25% of the current 18-year old age cohort, although some reports suggest as high as 30% including national service…While the numbers of non-Haredi soldiers have declined, over the past few years the number of Haredi soldiers have been increasing by about 15-20% every year. Charges that the Haredi are not serving are simply wrong” (Larry M. Goldstein’s 27/9/17 “Haredi Enlistment in the IDF” in The Times of Israel).

Not only that, but Arutz 7’s November 17, 2016 article entitled “Haredi city has highest percentage of recruits to combat units” states –

“The IDF’s new recruitment statistics show that the highest percentage of recruits to combat units came from the haredi city of Elad.”

While there are units for and somewhat accommodating Haredim in the IDF, I would still like to see Israel kasher all its forces to make them truly Jewish.

One can live 120 years and still forget the real test questions that our Sages already gave us a sneak-peek at: “Rava said, ‘When they admit a person to justice [i.e. after he passes away], they say to him: “Did you negotiate with emunah? Did you set time for [to study] Torah? Did you deal with being fruitful and multiplying? Did you expect salvation? Did you debate in wisdom? Did you understand something from another thing (i.e. “put two and two together”)? “’” (Tractate Shabbat 30a). THAT is what is really important.

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3 Comments

  1. I have to admit, I’m quite offended by the bulk of this article. First, there are inaccuracies. For example, this: “MADA still goes by the rule of “What kills first, is to be treated first”. Anyone who knows anything about MADA (I’m the mother of FOUR MADA volunteers, mother-in-law to another; my oldest son is an ambulance driver), knows that is a ridiculous statement.

    First, MADA goes according to international rules of treatment, which means you treat the most serious injuries first. Yes, there MIGHT be times where a terrorist who has been shot and is bleeding out, is more severely injured than the victim who might have (God willing), only been hurt very lightly. So, in theory, MADA would indeed treat the terrorist first – EXCEPT…

    That’s the theory and usually not the reality. The reality is that until the terrorist has been neutralized (that includes checking to make sure they don’t have any explosives on them which would cause injury to anyone seeking to assist the terrorist, the MADA volunteers aren’t allowed to approach the terrorist.

    Second, I’m stunned that you could make a statement like, “Am Yisrael needs a Jewish army in Eretz Yisrael.” I’m shocked that you think you have the right to determine who is a Jew.

    Also, the articles you cite are misleading. There were TWO instances in which soldiers were fed non-kosher food – both times at the same place in Latrun. I find it horrendous that this happened and as a parent of THREE combat soldiers I would be furious and I am furious that this happened. BUT, the army feeds TENS OF THOUSANDS of soldiers EVERY DAY. You found an article where a “group” of soldiers were exposed to this error. That’s a fraction of a fraction of a fraction.

    Then you point to an article that says that the highest percentage of soldiers to combat units happened in the Haredi city of Elad. NOT the highest recruitment number, but the highest percentage. The truly highest rate of recruitment came from Modiin, then Yehud, then Givat Shmuel, Rosh Ha’ayin and Ness Ziona (top 5).

    What Elad had, was the highest percentage of those that were recruited going into combat units (56.8%). In other words, it’s something like – if 10 soldiers were recruited in Elad and 6 of them went to combat units; they’d have the highest percentage; while in Modiin, if 5,000 soldiers were recruited but “only” 2,500 went to combat units, they would only have a rate of 50% (they actually had a rate of 53.5% AND the highest rate of recruitment.

    And finally, if you want a “Jewish” army of Jews according to your definition of Torah observance, well, that’s only going to happen when those same Jews agree to be drafted. The army accommodates as needed. They have a kosher/mehadrin plan and have gone to tremendous efforts to ensure maximum observance but if you accept that what they do is most definitely in the realm of “pikuah nefesh” than it is absurd to demand that they be more “Catholic than the pope” or in this case, more kosher than the rebbe.

    And worst of all is the comment that the army is a “secular and secularizing, anti-Torah environment” – it’s simply not true. There are boys who do indeed become less religious in the army, but that is likely because they were going to rebel from their over-judgmental, controlling parents who forced religion on them without instilling a true love of Torah in their homes. They were so busy honoring the fence around the fence around the fence around the fence around the Torah that they lost all sight of the Torah and now they are surprised that their sons took the first chance they had to run away from it.

    And by the way, I’d love you to go into Binyan Klal some time. I have an office there and regularly see Haredi men and boys playing pool, going into the Internet cafes, circling around the sex shop there. Do you blame the army for this too? I’ll take a secular boy who is serving in the army with honor, over these black and white dressed Haredi boys any day into the Jewish army you insult.

    Rather than attack the army, perhaps you need to attack the community that has generated so many of these boys.

  2. Ruth Grumach

    Thanks for speaking the truth. The fact is Haredim don’t enlist because it is an environment that foes not accommodate their way of life. And are not interested to change.

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