Sigh.

A reader sent this in, because the topic was debated here before: The Rabbi in charge of the Shachar units for Charedi soldiers, HaRav Ram Ra’avad, has stepped down, asserting that “the Army permits damage to Yiras Shamayim (fear of Heaven).” In a letter sent to the Shachar soldiers, he said that many things that were designed to protect their religious integrity were not done, and as a result, “I cannot see how I can be part of the management of this program.”

This also comes on the heels of the IDF Spokesperson’s decision to withhold a report on the situation of the 900 Shachar soldiers and their wives. B’Chadrei Chareidim claims that multiple soldiers in Shachar have told them that they face “many” spiritual problems serving in the IDF.

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9 comments to Sigh.

  • Bob Miller

    Rabbi Menken,

    Having stated the problem, can you propose a solution?

  • Ellen

    Yes it is a shame. And to think that with some basic gestures – that existed in the past but just need a little publicity now – the secular/non-dati politicians would capitalize on the chance to show how tolerant they are.

  • L. Oberstein

    I think that when the Army decided to accomodate chareidim, they didn’t realize how far it would go.They thought that glatt kosher food , time to daven and learn and other such accomodations would be enough. The unwillingness to have a female instructor, to sit in a room when a woman officer is lecturing, never occured to them or to me either as required by the Torah.One demand led to another and another and soon the army realized they couldn’t accomadate these people and remain the Israeli Army. The Kol Isha incident was of couse not chareidi but chardal. Schools like Bnai David teach that it is a mitzvah to go into the army and to try to rise in the ranks. First the expulsion from Gush Katif led to strong doubts about their ideology and now this brouhaha may cause those who believe in going to the Army as a mitzvah to reconsider their whole devotion to the State -mamlachtiut. Israel is changing and I wonder what it will look like in one more generation. As Ben Gurion famously said “Hakeh Od Dor”.

    [IIRC, Shahar was founded with a "no female instructor" rule -- these were all laid down when the program was founded. But there's an important development in today's JPost. -- YM]

  • Yehoshua Friedman

    This illustrates the attitude of some secularists who think that they are by definition liberal and open and therefore when the chips are down they don’t really have to make those gestures toward those whom they consider superstitious and closed. That goes double in the military, where there is an implicit permission to be unabashedly authoritarian. BTW, those authoritarian habits of former generals infect Israeli politics.

  • Zalman Alpert

    A serious question is if Orthodox Jews can serve in any military ?
    History says yes, as Jews served in the Czarist army (drafted) Polsih army, Austro-Hungarain army (including many volunteers) and the German army in WW1 (volunteers)
    The Chofetz Chaim wrote Machne Israel for Jews in the Carist army in the Russo-Japanese war in Yiddish. I recall he was not overly machmir in issues like shemiras Shabbes , kashruth etc etc.
    During WW2 this book was translated in Englsih by rabbi yosher as Israel in the ranks for US service men.Tens of thousand of Orthodox boys served in World war2 and Korea. But in thsoe days Charedim were not yet invented.
    Perhaps service in the Israeli military too requires soem form of realization that the army is not a beth medrash or yeshiva and requires some serious compromises.
    In switzerland even today Yekke charedim do army service and wear shaatnez uniforms.
    Rav Hirsch thought very highly of patriotic duty to one’s nation.
    What wuould happen today if the US were at War would everyone in BP, Lakewood, Monsey, Flatbush CH etc become rabbinical students. In the days of the Vietnam war the charedi community was small and this trick worked . But today will it be possibile for not 1 soldier to come from lets say Willaimsburg ?
    Rabbi Aron Teitelbaum of KJ Stamr held a long spech 3 eks ago about our Malchus shel Chessed as a Halchic authority I woudl ask him would he see any circumstances in which his comuntiy (about 100,00 stong) woudl serve in teh US army. Where does the Torah prohibit military service.
    These are seriosu question that require Halachic answers and IMO are as important as many mdical ethical questions debated today but which IMO are Hilchesa leMeschicha.

  • Jay

    “In switzerland even today Yekke charedim do army service and wear shaatnez uniforms.”

    Can you give us your source to verify this statement?

  • YM

    Zalman, there is a huge difference between serving in an Army under duress, or because our rabbinic leaders feel that we have to, and an Israel that supposedly “wants” the charedim to serve, but by its actions makes it clear that they only want to destroy the charedi community and its values. The book by the Chofetz Chaim was written for draftees who had no choice but to serve.

  • Zalman Alpert

    YM.
    Pardon me , Israel is not under constant threat of attack , War, terrorism etc etc ?? I guess you have no televsion or radio ? This is not duress then what is duress ? So if duress is only when there is an immediate attack , I do not recall Charedim signing up for the IDF in 1967 or 1973 or any of the subsequent wars israel fought up North ? Was the 6 day War duress , how about the YOm Kippur War ? i s being attacked on Yom Kippur duress or is it just an action and Charedim have no need to defend the country ?Did the Charedim sign up for the IDF right after havdallah after Yom Kippur ?
    Frankly in my opinion Charedim and all Jews in Eretz israel should to use your words have no choice BUT TO SERVE !
    The only people who want to destroy the Charedim (who are still Jews) are the Arabs !My books tell me it is the Israeli govt who financially supports the yeshivot and the Kolel people and the complete religious infrastructure in israel which includes Army chaplains etc in the iDF.

  • cohen y

    Jay
    January 10, 2012 at 10:54 pm
    “In switzerland even today Yekke charedim do army service and wear shaatnez uniforms.”

    Can you give us your source to verify this statement?

    Ask them .if you live in NY or Passaic ask an Erlanger.