Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Rav Sternbuch's speech at a protest demonstration held on Isru Chag Shavuos


  1. {sigh}

    'Other governments are in fact assisting Jews to perform mitzvos. Just recently, a young Jewish man from Iran came to see me and told me that there are approximately 20,000 Jews there, and he sits and learns undisturbed; moreover, the government helped them meet the costs of Pesach and distributed matzos to everybody.

    There is no hatred of religion there, on the contrary, they respect the Jewish religion. The only place where there is religious persecution against Jews is here in Eretz Yisroel."


      A modern day Pharaoh or a tolerant anti-Zionist? The case for Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the Islamic Republic's Jewish minority is far from obvious.

      Experts say Iranian Jews are treated the same as other citizens, but their unique status, they all agree, is highly sensitive. [...]

      But is the Iranian regime's tolerance merely a strategic policy, meant to conceal underlying anti-Semitism and portray Iran's criticism of Israel as objective? "If the regime isn't making any trouble – you shouldn't go looking for it," Chaim replied.

      "Thankfully, there's a state appointed rabbi, a Jewish member of parliament and good relations with the community.

      "Jews don't meddle in politics, don't get involved in the dispute with Israel, but just live their lives," he added.

      But the Istanbul rabbi admitted that support of Zionism or any intentions of immigrating to Israel would have put the whole community in danger.

    2. I think you intentionally did not address the thrust of my comment.

      My point is not that Iran actively persecutes it Jewish population, but rather that Rav Sternbuch sites Iran comparing it favorably (!!) to how Israel treats its Chareidi population.

      It's ... beyond sad. This is tragic.

      We are on a sinking ship. And our leaders are telling us ... to drill more holes.

    3. this stuff about iran (you know the country trying to develop nuclear weapons so that they can wipe us out as they have promised to do on multiple occasions) was said with a straight face?

    4. The hyperbole is totally over the top but I have learned not to take every statement from the Eida literally. Hyperbole is part of RMS's world and he doesnt really mean what he says. It is a bit extreme and way out of touch with the current world but it is not insidious or ridiculous.

  2. Is this an alternative universe? Sixty women will vote in the new chief rabbis, American chareidim are afraid to live in Israel, Iran supports Judaism more than Israel, and we are privileged to know that the spiritual cause of Israel wanting to enlist yeshiva bochurim is that chareidim bow down to Zionism. The last point is a little strange, because the greatest hold the wicked government has over the Torah world is its threat to stop the faucet that been faithfully churning out millions for past decades.

  3. I would have preferred a speech like this.

    Evelyn Gordon writes in the Jerusalem Post:

    …I want to tell a story, from Rabbi Shlomo Goren’s autobiography:

    During the War of Independence, Goren, the IDF’s first chief rabbi, was summoned one Friday morning by the army’s commander in Jerusalem. Army intelligence had just learned that Jordanian tanks would invade central Jerusalem at 11 A.M. on Saturday. Jerusalem had no weaponry that could stop a tank column, the commander said, so the only chance was to dig trenches to bar their path. But since Jordan was shelling the area constantly by day, they could only be dug after sundown, thereby violating Shabbat. Moreover, his soldiers were all fighting at the front and couldn’t be spared, so the only men available were haredi yeshiva students who hadn’t enlisted. Could Goren recruit them?

    Jewish law mandates violating Shabbat to save lives, and both Goren and then-Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Herzog agreed this situation qualified. But they feared the students wouldn’t accept their rulings. Herzog therefore sent Goren to the rabbi of Neturei Karta – who flatly forbade violating Shabbat, especially since “it won’t help anyway: The city will fall.”

    So Goren decided to appeal directly to the students. He went from yeshiva to yeshiva, explained the situation and requested volunteers – and at each, including the Neturei Karta yeshivas, every hand in the room went up. That night, over 1,000 haredi yeshiva students dug trenches in Jerusalem. Saturday morning, the first three Jordanian tanks hit those trenches and overturned. The rest turned tail and fled.

    Without these haredim, Israel would probably have lost all of Jerusalem in 1948 rather than only part. Yet had it depended on their rabbis, the city would have fallen: It survived because ordinary haredim were less religiously extreme (and perhaps more Zionist) than their leaders.

    Today, most haredim are still more moderate, and more Zionist, than their leaders. Yet this story probably couldn’t happen today, because it depended on the students not knowing their rabbi disapproved: Unable to traverse the besieged city to consult him, they had to decide for themselves. Today, they would simply telephone. And once told “no,” they wouldn’t disobey. To haredim, their rabbis’ rulings are daas Torah (the Torah’s opinion), and therefore can’t be questioned – regardless of how often they’ve proven wrong.…

    1. What? They managed to dig an anti-tank ditch in Yerushalayim's rocky soil within a few hours? The remaining tanks fled instead of seeking an alternate route or firing over the trench? The whole story seems fishy. Is all this recorded anywhere else? How reliable is this autobiography in general?

  4. Another argument presented is that a Cheder closed its doors on Independence day, and hence caused great bittul Torah. However, this is not convincing, since the haredim regularly engage in bittul Torah for any political protest they go to. furthermore, many Haredim, especially in Chassidic circles, stop learning on Nittel eve - with no justification whatsoever. this is more destructive than Yom haatzmaut, since they are giving Yashke a posthumous victory agasint Torah. Yet, nobody ever protests this massive waste of time.

  5. Sharia gives a defined legal status to Jews, which is reflected in Iranian law. Sharia does not give equal status to Jews and Muslims. Sharia has proven to be a wonderfully flexible instrument, with the situation of Jewish dhimmis* ranging from that of Sol Hachuel, H"YD° to that of the Iranian Jewish community.

    What is common to the two situations is the violent means available to the sharia authorities and the willingness to use them. It's just that as long as the Iranian Jewish community maintains its submission, the full force of jihad is withheld. What distinguishes the two situations is dependent on the sharia authorities in each situation, and so on personality, corruptibility and other motivations, such as setting up a Jewish Potemkin village in the Iranian case; basically how much of a velvet glove is in evidence. What is in common between the two situations is the extremity of violence sanctioned under sharia's iron hand.

    Centuries of experience have given Jews the social and halachic mechanisms that permit survival under sharia. Rav Sternbuch appears to hold that it is better to be a dhimmi under Iranian law than to be a secular Israeli; that under halacha, Sol Hachuel was better off than, say, MK Ruth Calderon.

    * Sol Hachuel was falsely accused of having accepted Islam and backslid; she could have saved herself by professing Islam in fact but died al Kiddush Hashem.

    ** The Status of Non-Muslim Minorities Under Islamic Rule

    Dhimmitude: the Islamic system of governing populations conquered by jihad wars, encompassing all of the demographic, ethnic, and religious aspects of the political system. The word "dhimmitude" as a historical concept, was coined by Bat Ye'or in 1983 to describe the legal and social conditions of Jews and Christians subjected to Islamic rule. The word "dhimmitude" comes from dhimmi, an Arabic word meaning "protected". Dhimmi was the name applied by the Arab-Muslim conquerors to indigenous non-Muslim populations who surrendered by a treaty (dhimma) to Muslim domination. Islamic conquests expanded over vast territories in Africa, Europe and Asia, for over a millennium (638-1683). The Muslim empire incorporated numerous varied peoples which had their own religion, culture, language and civilization. For centuries, these indigenous, pre-Islamic peoples constituted the great majority of the population of the Islamic lands. Although these populations differed, they were ruled by the same type of laws, based on the shari'a.

    This similarity, which includes also regional variations, has created a uniform civilization developed throughout the centuries by all non-Muslim indigenous people, who were vanquished by a jihad-war and governed by shari'a law. It is this civilization which is called dhimmitude. It is characterized by the different strategies developed by each dhimmi group to survive as non-Muslim entity in their Islamized countries. Dhimmitude is not exclusively concerned with Muslim history and civilization. Rather it investigates the history of those non-Muslim peoples conquered and colonized by jihad.

    Dhimmitude encompasses the relationship of Muslims and non-Muslims at the theological, social, political and economical levels. It also incorporates the relationship between the numerous ethno-religious dhimmi groups and the type of mentality that they have developed out of their particular historical condition which lasted for centuries, even in some Muslim countries, till today.

    Dhimmitude is an entire integrated system, based on Islamic theology. It cannot be judged from the circumstantial position of any one community, at a given time and in a given place. Dhimmitude must be appraised according to its laws and customs, irrespectively of circumstances and political contingencies.


  6. I am very confused with Rav Sternbuch's thesis. He says that we always had people who were dedicated to Avodas HaShem andavoided army services. He uses Shevet Levi as the example... but that is precisely the point! It was "yechidim", it was just shevet Levi not all of Klal Yisrael! I would assume that Rav Sternbuch does not consider the Chelonim as a legitimate shevet. He would like to see all of Klal Yisrael live the life of the full time Torah person. He would like to perpetuate ALL of the Charedi world to avoid army service, not just the "shevet Levi". This is not what a Mamleches Kohanim VEGOY KADOSH means (see Rav Hirsch). This is not what lehavdil he saw in Rome with the priests. We don't have a system where frum b'nai Torah are making a "choice" to dedicate their lives to Limud HaTorah, we have a system that leaves them no OTHER choice but Limud HaTorah... that is the difference.

    I will leave alone his comparisons to Hitler Y"S which does nothing to further the conversation and is intended to only drive more emotion in a already emotionally charged environment (not a good idea in my opinion).

    He quotes that it is Asur to take Tenokos Shel Beis Rabon away from Torah even for building the Beis Hamikdash, but he has no problem taking them away from learning to demonstrate his causes! All this is a matter of opinion... Rav Hirsch points out that learning math and science is all part of Torah... of course actual limud HaTorah needs to be the Ikkar, but studying the Chuchmas HaShem is certainly not Bittul Torah... we see many a Tosfos that are purely math... we see Gemorah's that talk about Machlokes Chachmei Umos Haolom and Chachmei Yisrael.. they obviously knew what the Chachmei Umos HaOlam said, was that Bittul Torah?

    It is also interesting that he calls out Rav Ahron and the Satmar Rav in Chutz Laaretz, but leaves out equally great giants like Rav Moshe and Rav Yaakov who has a much more moderate view.

    I too am concerned that there is an undercurrent in Israel to weaken the Torah and find acceptance for Kofrim (Reform and Conservative), this is indeed a challenge, but The Eidah and Chareidim in general should realize that their uncompromising and heavy handed approach has just a "little" bit to do with this reality.

  7. I would like to see a copy of the Satmar's speech, the one he gave to his chasidim in Hungary just before he got on the Zionist train and fled to safety, the one about how prayer and learning would protect them all...

    1. i thought that story was about the belzer rebbe.

  8. If the goal of the Zionists is to uproot Judaism why have they given money to yeshivos for decades? How is pushing charedim to follow an American charedi model a way to uproot Judaism- does this mean for American charedim Judaism is already uprooted?

    -ben dov

  9. "Other governments are in fact assisting Jews to perform mitzvos."

    Like מלחמת מצוה?

    From the רמב"ם:

    ואיזו היא מלחמת מצוה--זו מלחמת שבעה עממים, ומלחמת עמלק,ועזרת ישראל מצר שבא עליהם

    מלחמת מצוה--אינו צריך ליטול בה רשות בית דין, אלא יוצא מעצמו בכל עת, וכופה העם לצאת.

  10. Also, if the goal of Zionism is to destroy Judaism, why didn't Labor and Likud, for decades, not put aside their differences and bury the haredim? Instead they made coalitions with haredim to compete with each other.

    -ben dov

    1. "the goal of Zionism is to destroy Judaism"
      That is what was claimed 100 years ago. Today this is only an extremist viewpoint.
      Back to Iran/ PLo/Hamas propaganda. They claim it is to destroy the palestinian and islamic people.
      Now it may be true that when there was mass aliya, eg from yemen, there was some forced secularisation and kidnapping of the Yemenite children. but this is due to the other extreme, of atheist /communists who are the hard left of Zionism. They are not the people of Menachem Begin and Netanyahu.
      The irony is that today, the greatest enemies of Zionism are the above 3 groups:

      the atheist ultra left
      the Islamist palestinian/iranian terrorists
      the Eda hacharedit / neturei karta/satmar bloc.

      They all oppose Zionism, settlements, land liberated in 1967 and even 1948.

  11. These protests against the Zionists are self-contradictory. If the proposed budget cuts are devastating,
    that means the budget subsidies until now were quite generous. In effect these protests are a statement
    about Zionist generosity.

    -ben dov

  12. Did history prove the Brisker Rav, right or wrong?

  13. Kalonymus AnonymusAugust 27, 2019 at 12:24 AM

    Iran regularly had pogroms and conversions of Jews to Islam. There is intermarriage. There has been shmad, eg Jews being required to go to school on shabbat. There were executions of Jews by the ayatollahs.
    Perhaps the affinity that eidah have to amalek, Iran, Arabs, Islam demonstrates how unfit they are to lead Israel.

  14. Kalonymus AnonymusAugust 27, 2019 at 2:36 AM

    He claims the "wicked Government" of Israel is worse than all the wicked governments in the world. Including Iran, whcih has killed jews, converted them to Islam. In france, they regularly murder Jews and the government does nothign about it.

    His friends, Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas, PLO, Jihad Islami, syria, are planning to surround Israel, attack it , murder millions of jews and expel the rest or to convert them to islam.
    Since this blog is susbservient to the ideas of the eidah and this particular "Raavad", this is my last post on here.

  15. Goodbye!
    Mazal tov! I sincerely wish you success in all your future endeavors!

  16. Chazal teach us, that causing someone to sin, which is a form of spiritual death, is worse than physical death.
    גדול המחטיאו יותר מן ההורגו

    במדבר רבה (וילנא) פרשת פינחס פרשה כא
    ר"ש אומר, מנין שהמחטיא את האדם יותר מן ההורגו, שההורג הורג בעולם הזה ויש לו חלק לעוה"ב, והמחטיא הורגו בעולם הזה ובעולם הבא

    רש"י דברים פרק כג פסוק ט
    שהמחטיא לאדם קשה לו מן ההורגו, שההורגו הורגו בעולם הזה, והמחטיאו מוציאו מן העולם הזה ומן העולם הבא

  17. Kalonymus AnonymusAugust 27, 2019 at 2:24 PM

    so when my great - great Grandparents were converted to Islam (in Iran) and could be/ were killed if they were caught observing Torah, it is better than living in Israel today?

    also, there is a din of rodef, which is a requirement fo us to defend against an attacker. Your friends are causing Jews to sin by preventing them from bearing arms!

  18. Kalonymus AnonymusAugust 27, 2019 at 2:32 PM

    4.4.2A Landinfo report of July 2011 on ‘Iran: Christians and Converts’, noted in a section on Christianity, Judaism and Zoroastrianism in the country that ‘Young men of conscription age are called in for military service on an equal basis with other Iranians, but are barred from making a military career.’

    So Jews in Iran are called up to serve in the Islamic army - do you think they have a heser unit for yeshiva students?

    And if they are called to fight a war againt Israel, are they permitted to kill Jews in your "halacha"? Could they refuse (and be jailed/killed)? Or is that rebelling against the nations.

    All of this is the unintended consequnces of the irational and false "daas torah" from the Eidah fanatics.

  19. Kalonymus AnonymusAugust 27, 2019 at 5:23 PM

    Blood of 100+ Jews in Argentina has the hechsher of the Badatz and it's president.

  20. You have your history wrong the satmar rebbe was imprisoned in Bergen Belson camp for a year. the train left from the concentration camp
    The story about the speech was with the Belzer Rebbe.


  22. You stated that you've posted your final comment here, and apparently you've broken your word.
    The words of Chazal are true, and eternally relevant.
    According to Chazal, If a person lives in sin, then he is spiritually DEAD, and that is worse than being physically dead.
    Ask you local orthodox rabbi, if it's better to be killed "Al Kiddush Hashem", or to live a life of sin.


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