Sunday, April 7, 2013

Does Rav Shternbuch really believe that all RZ hate their religion

 Major update 4/10/13 Rav Sternbuch says the media distorted and added to his words

Guest Post of Dr. Nachum J. Stone regarding this morning's post from Rav Shternbuch: Rav Sternbuch attacks Mizrachnikim for hating religion [Nachum Stone is a graduate of Yeshiva University and University of Maryland . He has been practicing dentistry and giving shiurim in Maale Adumim for the last 26 years.
His son got engaged to Ofra this morning.

He asked me to add that he is not naïve or condescending

 I decided to include Dr. Stone's essay  in the hopes that his well written essay gives a basis of communication between the two worlds.

 updated with my introductory comments
Dr. Stone your essay is well written and condescending. You paint a rather black and white picture - when shades, colors and textures would be more accurate. Your belief that charedim are not hated but only resented - apparently reflects your experience - but that is not what goes on in the world. As Elie Wiesel put it - there is no greater hatred than hatred of brothers.

You give absolutely no credence or even possibility that charedi hashkofa has any legitimate basis in the sources. You seem to assume as something that is obvious that chareidi gedolim are incapable of understanding simple hashkofa - which you in your greater wisdom have been trying to share with them for years. You claim that the chareidi view of Judaism is a major distortion which serves only to protect them from their responsibilities to the greater community. The possiblity of it having any legitimacy seems outrageous to you.

In sum the caricature of yiddishkeit that you ascribe to Rav Sternbuch and the chareidim perfectly mirrors their view of you and your community.  But hopefully that will change.
I am very reluctant to say anything in public.

What good comes from this discussion? Does Rav Shternbuch really believe that all RZ hate their religion, their Torah? All the great talmidei chachamim and their baalei batim hate the Faith?! All of the Briskers [ not R David and his isolationists, but the true Rambamists ] hate the Torah ?!

Who hates who here? What Talmid Chacham says of fellow Jews “Amalek” ? I pray that that quote was in error. I still havent met any  yid, frum or otherwise, who hates chareidim , despite [ as proven by?] the erev pesach debate on your blog

I know many who hate charedi politics, who cringe every time MK Gafni opens his mouth, but they still NEVER express hatred for the man himself. R Shternbuch is valiantly carrying on the fight on behalf of R Sonnenfeld ,but who gains from this invective?

In Moreh Nevuchim 3:46 Rambam [ it's long , the paragraph on chatat seirim] identifies the first, most recidivistic, and deadliest, sin of am yisrael as sinat achim .

I'll attach here a link to a short essay I wrote almost 2 years ago that was posted on the Havolim blog that addresses the tension between various groups in the religious community that has since festered into today’s “declaration of war” .

In the course of his vort on the unique circumstances of Milchemet Midyan, K’vod Baal Achsanya, HaRav HaGaon B, asked why is it that “Frum Jews [who] hate the Chareidim for avoiding the draft.” I would like to try to explain on a few levels. Firstly, no one I have ever met hates the Chareidim for anything. A much more accurate description would be resentment.

It should be noted that all draft-dodgers are looked down-upon in Israeli society. Citizens protest if non-soldiers are hired for entertainment. Most job applications inquire of one’s military service. It’s just part of a society whose existence is so fragile.

HaRav B seems to want to include modern Chareidi draft-avoiders in Rambam’s military exemption. [This is not the place to debate that point, but it is not universally accepted that Rambam exempts ANYONE from a Milchemet Mitzvah. V’AKMAL ] I have never heard any of the yeshiva students make such a claim, but to do so would be ridiculous. Can any contemporary Talmid Yeshiva claim to “פרק מעל צוארו עול החשבונות הרבים אשר בקשו בני האדם”? These are the same Talmidim who whine when their stipends are 2 weeks late? Who think that all businesses are somehow "obligated” to give them a special discount? Who demand equal funding as army-veteran university students? Are any of them on that level?

Even if we were to grant that the Rambam Levite exemption exists, it certainly is not obligatory upon anyone to exempt himself. Imagine if these “Klei Kodesh” were in the army. Would it not change the nature of the army to a Machaneh Kadosh? How would motivation change, how would morale change? How would the self-image of these Bnei Yeshiva change? The army already has special yeshivishe units. Perhaps they are not perfect, but if they were more heavily populated, they would function better too!

The original agreement between the Chazon Ish and PM Ben Gurion was intended to free-up a few hundred superior scholars to replenish the rabbinic cadre after the holocaust. Now, the Torato Umanuto exemption has become an almost mandatory burden on all who would call themselves Chareidi. They are pariahs if they don’t “choose” the exemption. So the system is abused, and the newspapers duly report the sophisticated massive fraud. 

Fictitious students get government stipends to learn in largely virtual yeshivot. Perhaps the Chilul Hashem drives some of the disgust? Are all the Chareidim being stigmatized because of the abuse of the few? Certainly. On the other hand how many of the Talmidei Yeshivot are true matmidim whose time can’t be sacrificed for communal defense? So the 95% who abuse the system give all the others a bad name!

This leads us to the heart of the problem. The future Talmidei Yeshivot are indoctrinated from a young age, that they are the true defenders of Israel. Without their precious learning we would lose all our wars! It’s hard to fault the kids; the ideology is axiomatic for them. So, not only do they not serve. Not only do they not respect or thank those who serve (and die…) but they hold themselves superior. I think we’re very close to an answer to HaRav B’s question.

Another point raised was “Shevet Levi had the job of davening for Klal I’m sure they did.Unfortunately, these modern-day self-appointed Leviim have neglected that part of their job. The contemporary non-participants would rather stomp out of shule than daven for the soldiers, even the dead ones. They won’t use a siddur that includes a prayer for our soldiers [really, I’ve seen them check]. I had one guy leave the ammud as shatz one Shabbat [and then the building] when asked to say the mishbarach for the soldiers- in the middle of a war! Yes, in America, there’s more of a chance that the Chareidim will pray for the soldiers, there’s less of a chance that the youth might be tempted to be one. Yet still, those shules that do daven for the soldiers are few.

There’s a strange paradox here. On the one hand, the individual Talmid Yeshiva can’t be faulted for doing what absolutely everyone around him is doing, what he has been trained to do since birth. It would be quite radical for him to do otherwise. Indeed, the few charedim who do join the army probably are trying to get out of the charedi system anyway. On the other hand, many in the younger charedi leadership have told me that they know that what they are doing is probably wrong, definitely causing friction, and unlikely to last in the long-term.But they see themselves powerless to change anything; the “street” won’t let them. So the “street” doesn’t bear personal responsibility, but is responsible for the perpetuation of an intolerable situation that guarantees animosity.

We should also bear in mind something very important psychologically- who else doesn’t serve? The Arabs. Who else claims to hate the state and wishes for it to disappear- Simplistic? Yes. But herds think simplistically.

To close, I too, would like to quote our parsha: האחיכם יבאו
למלחמה ואתם תשבו פה?!


  1. If they announce they hate me first, can I hate them back? Is it a sin to hate Leon Trotsky? Is it a sin to hate Bugsy Siegel? Is it a sin to hate Yigal Amir? If a Jew insults me, can I insult him? - Yes. Does the same rule apply to hatred?

    I tend to think of statements like these as bombast not to be taken literally. Action, after all, speaks louder than words. Nobody has killed anybody yet. Rav Ahron Kotler once said, "I would prostrate myself before the Pope to save the fingernail of one Jewish child." There were witnesses, and its quoted in the Holocaust book, Thy Brother's Blood, by David Kranzler. To save a life, no question, Rav Kotler would prostrate. For a fingernail, no. Its rabbinic bombast.

    1. I agree with you - though it is hard to explain what rabbinic bombast is.

  2. Have not the Haredi parties already joned with various labor and other secular givernments? Have not these so-called Religous parties collaborated with said governments in such anti-Torahi initiatives like Oslo and the Disengagement? How is it that nice Jews still support these parties? Have these politicians no shame?
    On a different note, how can R' Sternbuch be so obtuse and self righteous?

    1. How can you be so naive - as well as obtuse and self-righteous. It is interesting how intolerant the champions of tolerance sound!

    2. I don't think Shaindel claimed to be a champion of tolerance. She brought up two matters which are in fact, intolerable crimes committed against the Jewish people - Oslo and Disengagement. The insulting language in her last line are not appropriate IMO, but where did she claim to be a champion of tolerance?

  3. I really find this entire post on Rav Sterbuch opinion "WHERE IT SHOULD BE". He is the spokeman for the Edah, this has been the thought process & behavior of the talmidim of Rav Sonnefeld since the days of Rav Kook. Why is this a Chiddush to anyone?

    1. I personally am not at all surprised (more the pity).

    2. exactly, like the talmidim of Rav Sonnefeld but not like Rav Sonnefeld himself.

      yerida hadorot i guess.

  4. he should read and internalize the netziv's hakdama to his pirush ha'emek davar.
    this man is not a leader.

    1. the Netziv is often quoted because he is a rare example of the view of tolerance - it is not typical. Furthermore when you are exercising your view of truth i.e., to be intolerant of those who disagree with your understanding you should realize that is what the Netziv was writing against. You really can't have it both ways!

    2. It sounds to me like maybe you don't really understand that Netziv properly, Rabbi E. Maybe you should speak with Rabbi Treibitz about it some more because it certainly doesn't sound like your explanation is what he wrote about for your book. Nowhere did it state that what one believes to be the truth cannot be proclaimed. It sounds to me like you are making excuses.

    3. the Netziv is often quoted because he is a rare example of the view of tolerance - it is not typical

      maybe it is not typical in the eida but it is certainly most typical in the DL world (i am talking about great rabbanim, not the amcha). yes there are voices which slam the chareidi world but who ever declared the satmar rebbe to be a kofer? who ever said learn the piskei halacha of the chazon ish but not his chaskofa? who refused to set foot in ponivech? where do you see the DL equivalent of the satmar rebbe's psak on rav kook? or take an extreme example - who was the great chareidi rabbi who donated money to dati leumi yeshivot the way that Rav Soliveitchik donated to his uncle's yeshiva?

    4. lastly, if you demand the right to be intolerant, than have the good grace not to get upset when others are intolerant of you. or do you demand the right to have a monopoly on getting upset?

    5. It sounds to me like maybe you don't really understand that Netziv properly, Rabbi E. Maybe you should speak with Rabbi Treibitz about it some more because it certainly doesn't sound like your explanation is what he wrote about for your book. Nowhere did it state that what one believes to be the truth cannot be proclaimed. It sounds to me like you are making excuses.
      First of all Rabbi Triebetz and I don't agree on everything. Second I have no problem with someone proclaiming the truth - it is what he says about those who disagree with him.

      I am just pointing out that those who wrap themselves in the cloak of the Netziv can not at the same time be upset with those who disagree with them.

    6. BW,
      1. Did R'S donate to non-family haredi yeshivot?
      2. "where do you see the DL equivalent of the satmar rebbe's psak on rav kook?" Please specify with an exact source.
      3. Merkaz Harav are not typical DL. They are the elite cream of the cream of the crop.

    7. db

      1) no idea. did any of his chareidi family like R'V donate to YU (or any other non-chareidi yeshiva?)
      3) assuming that i accept that merkaz is the cream - i don't get your point.

    8. 1. You raised the exemplary banner of R'S donating to the family as indicative of unparalleled pluralism.
      2. Thank you for the source. Look carefully at how he presents and supports his case with specific actions done and relevant sources. True, no DL returned the volley at the Satmer Rebbe ztk"l to call his actions those of kefira by way of effectively supporting anti-Torah activities and personalities. It seems they didn't have a case.
      3. You seemed to write that R'Sh never visited Merkaz Harav, as if that would show him who the DL really are. Disregarding the hashkofo issues, seeing their total dedication and seriousness in keeping the entire Torah, they're still not representative of the vast majority of the DL.

    9. remember my point was in response to the idea that "we don't pasken like the netziv" (my paraphrase).

      my response and my examples show that, yes, the DL/MO world does go like that netziv. while we certainly have huge disagreements with the chareidi world, no one writes them off.

      1) i have no proof but i doubt that rav sternbauch donates money to any hesder yeshivot.
      2) no DL/MO rabbi would even make the attempt at making such a declaration, it doesn't occur to them. that is the point.
      3) i used mercaz because it is close to har nof. if rav sternbauch wants to go to visit har etzion, har bracha, otniel, or hebron (the one in hebron, not the one in givat mordechai), great.

    10. Ok Rabbi E you are missing the point and/or conflating the issues. I never presumed that you have to agree with Rabbi T on anything, but if you use a source (Netziv in this case) you do have to agree with the source, or offer some valid interpretation of it. The Netziv cited does not preclude or discourage disagreement among Jews. In fact, his point is about how people who DO disagree treat one another despite those disagreements.

      I don't think anyone here is "upset with those who disagree with them." People were made upset by the hurtful and untrue comments made about mizrachnkim - statements which do not simply state disagreements which are obviously fine and do exist. No. Statements which slander, insult etc. Clearly lacking the tolerance Netziv encourages. So citing that Netziv is not "hiding behind a cloak" of anything, it's pointing out a flaw and an offense committed by those who make such comments.

      You pointed out before that this was newsworthy because of who said it. Can't something newsworthy also be intolerant mudslinging? Many of us are merely calling it what it is, but you seem to be making excuses for it. Haredim don't have to agree with mizrachnikim. Different hashkafas naturally disagree. NOT the point here.

  5. this is a "i am putting you on the spot" question.

    OK rav sternbauch represents the traditional eida viewpoint. he believes that "they revealed their true [hypocritical double] faces because they have joined with the haters of the [Jewish] religion [sonei hadas]." i assume that he has never made the 5 minute drive from har nof to mercaz harav and spoken with the people there.

    what about you rav? do you believe that "today they revealed their true [hypocritical double] faces because they have joined with the haters of the [Jewish] religion [sonei hadas]."? what about rav steinemann's statement that there is no kapara for anyone who voted for the bayit yehudi?

    1. Ben I don't think we have any disagreement on this issue

  6. Since the elections in Israel, it seems that Rav Shternbuch and some Chareidim are intent on venting their outrage and frustration against Naftali Bennett and the Israeli "modern Orthodox".

    But perhaps the Chareidim need to consider whether their policies in the past of cooperating with the suicidal leftist "peace process" agenda has caused the Chareidim to lose their right to rule in the Land of Israel.

    One could argue that Hashem has put Naftali Bennett in power and not the Chareidim because Bennett will make efforts to protect the security and integrity of Israel.

    "Bennett promises to prevent capitulation to Palestinians"

    There is absolutely NO comparison between Naftali Bennett and the evil King Omri. In comparison to Omri, Bennett is a tzaddik. Yet Omri merited to rule Israel by his policy of settling Eretz Yisrael.

    "R. Johanan said: Why did Omri merit sovereignty? Because he added a region to Palestine, as it is written, And he bought the hill Samaria of Shemer for two talents of silver, and built on the hill, and called the name of the city which he built, after the name of Shemer" (Sanhedrin 102b)

    1. Bennett is a tzaddik.

      Please remember this when he starts changing Israeli law to make it easier for women to get Gittin from their husbands. If people think the Rabbinut is problematic now, wait until Lapid and Bennett are done with it.

    2. R. Tzadok,

      You partially quoted my sentence while leaving out the critical phrase. Your comments would improve if you would try to be more accurate.

      "In comparison to Omri, Bennett is a tzaddik."

      Recall that Omri was a quite evil king - see I Melachim.

  7. Regarding Dr. Stone's naive assertion that there is no hatred for chareidim only "resentment' please read this item that just appeared on YNet - especially the comments.,7340,L-4365348,00.html

    1. Well I see an article that has people hosting a barbecue in remembrance of the victims of the Holocaust... Which honestly is quite tasteless. I see no hatred in the article.

      Ok, so there are a few trolls in the comments. As a blogger you should realize that there are people who will anonymously say hateful things, because the internet gives them the chance to let their crazy out without anyone knowing who they are. With the number of hits that YNet gets in a day, I'm surprised that there are not far more, especially giving the Barbecue remark.

  8. This article is ripe with venemous invective and inaccuracies. The tone in no way seems to seek understanding nor reconciliation.
    "All the great talmidei chachamim and their baalei batim hate the Faith?! What Talmid Chacham says of fellow Jews “Amalek” ? "
    1. Which great tc'im are your referring to? Which Briskers hate the Torah?
    2. Where did he call fellow Jews "Amalek"? Not on anything quoted on this blog!
    "These are the same Talmidim who whine when their stipends are 2 weeks late? Who think that all businesses are somehow "obligated” to give them a special discount? Who demand equal funding as army-veteran university students? Are any of them on that level?"
    3. You are sweepingly besmirching a whole society based on the likely inappropriate behavior of a few.
    4. So you know that no Talmidei Yeshivot are on the level of army-veteran university students?
    "To close, I too, would like to quote our parsha: האחיכם יבאו
    למלחמה ואתם תשבו פה?!"
    5. Where is the sharing of the burden of complying with the Torah's explicit dictates of our survival as a people in general and in EY in particular? True, many haredim have much to improve. You provided some terrible examples in this piece. But the society is geared towards carefully guarding those very statues which the secular and army reject - personal holiness. True their bullets are proving effective in many cases. But in what merit are they scoring while so many enemy rockets are missing?
    As LB (who served with distinction as a combat officer in the IDF) wrote:
    "The Gulf War began when Saddam Hussein's Iraq invaded Kuwait on August 2, 1990. Condemned by the international community, Iraq was given an ultimatum to withdraw from Kuwait by January 15, 1991. Sadaam ignored the West. The next day, on January 16, the coalition, led by the USA, began an intense aerial campaign against Iraqi targets.

    Just a year earlier, I had retired from my combat unit in the IDF. My speed at 41 was not what it used to be, and after twenty years of combat service, I was ready for a breather. I therefore served my last nine years in the IDF Reserves as a military chaplain.

    Israel's military intelligence was almost certain that Sadaam would attempt to muster the aide and sympathy of fellow Arab countries in his struggle against the USA by bombing Israel. Tiny Israel began to quietly brace itself for the worst, expecting the first SCUDs to be fired at Israel on January 15 or 16, 1991. Iraq's SCUD missile carried a massive 500-pound payload which was capable of reaching the heart of Israel. Don't forget that Iraq had already used its chemical warheads in its war with Iran.

    Two weeks previously, on New Years Day, 1991, we military rabbis got an urgent call to report immediately for reserve duty. Why us? As soon as I reported to base, a busload of my fellow chaplains and I were taken to a military warehouse somewhere in the center of Israel. We were greeted by the Top Brass, briefed, and taken on a tour of a warehouse that contained 100,000 body bags. Israel was expecting the worst. Our commanders figured that we'd be performing funerals around the clock, Heaven forbid.

    When the smoke of the Gulf War cleared, 39 SCUD missiles had hit Israel, some in densely populated areas like Ramat Gan and Ramat Aviv. One person died of a heart attack but no one died from Sadaam's missiles.

    In contrast, one SCUD missile hit a US Army base in Saudi Arabia, killing 25 GIs and wounding over 200.

    * * * ...

    Hashem saved the Jews in the Land of Israel in 1948, in 1967, in 1973 and again in 1991. Hashem was a well-established chazaka, a pattern of reliability."

    See the whole article at:

    1. בהמשך חזר אחר האג'נדה האנטי ציונית המנחה את העדה החרדית: "הציונים והכופרים הם העמלק שבדור הזה שרוצים להחריב את הדת. "הרבי מסאטמאר זצ"ל היה מהתחלה נגד הציונים והכופרים ואמר שאסור להתחבר איתם, מה שיש להם כיפה על הראש זה 'שמעטקלה' כלום".

    2. But in what merit are they scoring while so many enemy rockets are missing?

      neither you or anyone alive today can answer that question.

    3. What about all the psukim associating Divine Protection with keeping Torah and Mitzvos, especially personal holiness. Also those associating Divine Punishment for the opposite?
      Who is oriented in which direction?

    4. כי לא מחשבותי מחשבותיכם ולא דרכיכם דרכי

    5. זכור ימות עולם בינו שנות דור ודור

    6. the rambam also knew that pasuk. remembering doesn't mean that you understand god's heshbonot. one has to be a navi or at least someone at chazal's level to make these type of statements.

    7. We are obligated to ponder Gd's hand in history and it's correlation with his explicit promises. For instance:
      "Only a fool can say that Israel's military might won wars. In 1948, we didn't defeat the formidable Arab armies with sophisticated weaponry; Hashem delivered our enemies into the hands of holocaust survivors from Europe, gentle merchants from Morocco, and Torah scholars from Yemen, with a few kibbutzniks in khaki shorts and sandals commanding.

      At the other end of the scale, in the first Lebanon War in 1982, an entire Israeli armored column that was heading north in Eastern Lebanon was thwarted by terrorist teenagers with RPGs (shouldered Russian rocket-propelled antitank grenade launchers). The column retreated south, and 2 Israeli warplanes thought that the column was a Syrian tank regiment, strafing them and leaving 46 dead from friendly fire.

      This morning, the Prime Minister of Israel was quoted as saying that Israel's existence depends on the IDF's defensive power. We here at the Beams pray that he was misquoted. At any rate, on the spot, we asked Hashem's forgiveness. We believe the words of our sages (Gemara, tractate Sota 49b), "There is no one to depend on other than our Father in Heaven." This is the eternal truth; sure, we make our best efforts, but we depend on Hashem. The Torah (see Deuteronomy, Chapter 8) warns sternly against forgetting Hashem and thinking that you live by "the might of my hand."

      Every time a politician in Israel declares that our military might is what sustains us, he forces Hashem to prove how sorely mistaken he is, and all of Israel pays the price.

      Before the Second Lebanon War in 2006, the Israeli Defense Minister and Chief of Staff both exuded enough hot air to send a Zeppelin in orbit when they declared how fast they'd finish off the Hizbulla. Nasrulla laughed in their faces every time another missile landed in Israel's northern population centers. Note that a mere 2,000 Hizbulla guerillas wreaked havoc on Israel's entire north. After the conflict, the Winograd commission showed how miserably we perform without Hashem's help.

      Back then in 2006, Israel trusted its Merkava IV state-of-the-art tanks. Israeli intelligence was totally unaware of the Russian-made and laser-guided Kornet antitank missiles that made their way into Hizbulla's hands having quietly been smuggled to Lebanon from Syria and Iran. These Kornets totally demolished 6 Merkava tanks and neutralized another 30! With a maximum range of 3.4 miles, they are deadly accurate within 2 miles and are capable of penetrating concrete walls a foot thick within a range of 1.3 miles. This is the missile that hit the school bus last week near Kibbutz Saad from over 2 miles away in Gaza and left 16-year Daniel Viflic from Beit Shemesh fighting for his life, may Hashem heal him, amen.

      Israel now boasts the Windbreaker vehicle-defense system which is capable of destroying incoming Kornet missiles. The problem is that only IDF tanks are being outfitted with the $1Million/each system, and not school busses.

      One can neither outsmart Hashem nor run away from Him.

      Weapons development is no substitute for emuna and teshuva. The enemy always comes along and builds a stronger weapon. One who relies on strength always ultimately encounters a stronger opponent. Ask veteran world-champion boxers; few - if any - retire as winners.

      Declaring our dependance on military might only hastens another round of hostilities. Let's set the record straight - we have no one to depend on other than Hashem.

    8. Some more perspectives:
      "Our gay brothers and sisters must understand that neither are we passing judgment on them nor limiting their freedom. The Land of Israel belongs to Hashem, not to anyone else; we are entitled to be here by virtue of the Torah and its commandments. Any public display of Torah violations is national suicide. We would oppose a pork and shrimp festival the same way we oppose the Impurade. Do what you want behind closed doors - be prepared to pay your own consequences. But why trample on the Torah in the heart of Jerusalem? You say that you have a right to drill a hole in the bottom of the boat you're sailing in - but wait a minute, I'm in that boat too...

      Don't forget that the Second Lebanon War broke out immediately after the Jerusalem Impurade of 2006. That war led to a million Jews having to leave their homes in the North of Israel."

    9. i am sure that it will not come as any surprise to anyone when i state that i don't subscribe to rav brody's worldviews.

    10. bw,
      Does one have to to be a navi or have ruach hakodesh to see Gd's hand in history? Or to correlate the Torah's admonitions with history?
      "If the statistics are right, the Jews constitute but one quarter of one percent of the human race. It suggests a nebulous puff of star dust lost in the blaze of the Milky Way. Properly, the Jew ought hardly to be heard of, but he is heard of, has always been heard of. He is as prominent on the planet as any other people, and his importance is extravagantly out of proportion to the smallness of his bulk.

      His contributions to the world’s list of great names in literature, science, art, music, finance, medicine and abstruse learning are also very out of proportion to the weakness of his numbers. He has made a marvelous fight in this world in all ages; and has done it with his hands tied behind him. He could be vain of himself and be excused for it. The Egyptians, the Babylonians and the Persians rose, filled the planet with sound and splendor, then faded to dream-stuff and passed away; the Greeks and Romans followed and made a vast noise, and they were gone; other people have sprung up and held their torch high for a time but it burned out, and they sit in twilight now, and have vanished.

      The Jew saw them all, survived them all, and is now what he always was, exhibiting no decadence, no infirmaties, of age, no weakening of his parts, no slowing of his energies, no dulling of his alert but aggressive mind. All things are mortal but the Jews; all other forces pass, but he remains. What is the secret of his immortality?

      --Mark Twain, September 1897"

      On a macrocosmic level, the personalities and interactions of the early forefathers -- the patriarchs and matriarchs -- are going to be a model for all of Jewish history, and all of human history. This is why we have to pay extra special attention to what's going on at this early phase of the Bible, because here is where the patterns are set. In this early narrative lies the map, and the guidebook for the future. The destiny of the Jewish people, their strengths, weaknesses and relationship with the Gentiles-all of this is revealed in the early Jewish history of the Bible. Jewish history is Jewish destiny. Learning from the past is the key to making the right decisions about the future.

      Seven Wonders of Jewish History
      Seven remarkable milestones that defy historical patterns and fulfill ancient prophecies.
      "Everyone who studies Jewish history perceives that there's something unique about it. What many people don't know, however, is that the unusual and illogical course of Jewish history was predicted in detail in our Torah. Let's examine seven phenomena unique to Jewish history and seven prophecies precisely forecasting these phenomena. Then it'll be up to you to evaluate whether these events could have occurred through the natural channels of human history or whether, perhaps, someone's been pulling the strings, behind the scenes."

    11. Saying you don't subscribe to somebody's worldview is meaningless in a discussion of issues.

    12. Does one have to to be a navi or have ruach hakodesh to see Gd's hand in history? Or to correlate the Torah's admonitions with history

      people can see whatever they want. but sight can be very deceptive. i don't believe that anyone short of a navi or chazel can know.

      r. brody may think that he knows but that doesn't mean that i have to believe him. he subscribes to various ideas which i don't buy; this is one of them.

      besides the overall arrogance (yes arrogance) in thinking that he knows what S/He is thinking, i object to his "blame the other guy" way of writing. during the last intifada i was once in maaterdorf and saw a pashkivil. it called for people to check their own actions and improve. it also listed things that were of particular concern to the chareidi community. i was very impressed that someone did exactly what the halacha calls on one to do when disaster strikes: search for ways of making yourself a better person. the pashkevil didn't blame the seculars for what was going, something which would have been easy to do.

      lastly, anyone who has taken philosophy 101 or read a book knows the error in causality.

  9. derech eretz kadam l'torahApril 9, 2013 at 3:38 AM

    To show the blatant hypocrisy of the cheiriedi positions regarding the importantce of milittry portection, I think we should fence off cheiridi areas that dont believe the army helps protect them. Then the army can announce a temporary withdrawal from those areas and let Hamas know there will be no Israeli army protection of these chereidi neighborhoods. How long will it take for these particular pathologically sick chereideim to deseparately BEG the army to retrun?!! Then they will realize the truth that Torah study only helps protect when combined with action!!! The Chereirdi philophophy is completely against Torah and is morally bankrupt and beyong hypocrytical

    1. i hope that you realize that the above is ridiculous.

  10. Think of it this way: how many times have Chareidim throwing rocks at cars on Shabbos been excused because "they love Shabbos so much it drives them crazy to see someone desecrating it"?
    Well we love Torah Judaism so much it drives us crazy to see someone distorting it and claiming it is the only authentic version of Torah observance.
    We might not know much but we know hateful ranting when we hear it.

  11. Concerning "draft dodging", (a practice elevated to idealism by many of the left,) the IDF is clearly seen as a secularizing tool by the top echelons.
    "כפייה חילונית בצה"ל

    ההוראות בצה"ל נועדו לאפשר שירות נאות גם לחיילים דתיים. כך, למשל, מחייבות ההוראות מטבחים כשרים, אוסרות הכנסת חמץ בפסח לבסיסי צה"ל, ומקיימות מערכת ענפה של הרבנות הצבאית. חרף זאת, השירות בצה"ל מהווה בעיה מבחינתם של שומרי מצוות, ועל כן דתיים רבים נמנעים משירות בצבא שלא במסגרת יחידות דתיות. הבעיות שבהן נתקל חייל דתי:
    למרות הוראות הצבא המחייבות שכל מטבחי צה"ל יהיו כשרים, ישנם מטבחים רבים שאינם כשרים‏[27]‏[28] וחיילים המקפידים על כך נאלצים לאכול מנות קרב. חיילים חרדים, הנוהגים שלא לאכול מזון שאינו בהשגחת ועד כשרות מסוים, לא תמיד מקבלים מזון באותה השגחה.‏[29].
    על פי ההלכה, מותר לחלל שבת רק לצורכי פיקוח נפש. לעתים נדרשים חיילים לחלל שבת בהתאם לפקודות הצבא המאפשרות לעשות כן כאשר קיים כורח מבצעי. במקרים אחדים נתגלעו מחלוקות האם הצורך המבצעי אכן הצדיק את חילול השבת‏[30].
    מתן פקודה לחיילים דתיים להשתתף בטקס שבו חיילת שרה, וכליאתם על שום שעזבו את הטקס‏[31]. בשנת 2000 עזב ראש קצין חינוך ראשי, אלעזר שטרן, מופע של להקת הגדנ"ע שבו הופיעו חיילות בצורה לא צנועה, בליווי תנועות בוטות. שטרן הסביר: "בעת הופעה מול חיילי צה"ל הבאים מכל קצוות החברה הישראלית הנעשית ב'כפייה', שהרי אין שואלים חייל אם הוא רוצה לצפות במופע, יש להקפיד על הופעה צנועה ומכובדת"‏[32]. שטרן פקד לרענן את הפקודות אחרי האירוע כדי למנוע את הישנותו. בשנת 2011 נאמר לחיילים שרצו לעזוב שירת נשים שיציאתם מהמופע תיחשב כסירוב פקודה ועלולים להיענש על כך. הרב אליקים לבנון אמר שאם תנתן הוראה מגבוה לחייב חיילים לשמוע שירת נשים ייחשב הדבר כ"שעת השמד" ועל כן יהיה על החיילים לסרב לשמוע שירת נשים בכל מחיר כדין כל מנהג יהודי הנחשב ליהרג ואל יעבור בשעת השמד‏[33]."

  12. 2. Rights of Religious Soldiers
    "And He (Hashem) gave them (the Jewish people) the lands of nations (the Canaanites, Philistines)... for them to safeguard His statutes and observe His teachings" (Psalm 105:44-45).

    In the above passage, King David - Hashem's anointed - tells us exactly why Hashem gave us the Land of Israel: not to be a nation like any other nation, but to be His chosen people who learn Torah and observe its commandments with no compromise.

    Personal holiness is the foundation of Judaism, the element that brings us close to The Almighty and separates us from every other nation. The Torah warns, "For Hashem, your G-d, walks in the midst of your camp to rescue you and to deliver your enemies before you; so your camp shall be holy, so that He will not see a shameful thing among you and turn away from you" (Deuteronomy 23:15). Our national security depends on personal holiness. Our future in Israel depends on our commitment to Torah; these are not my words, but the words of King David, cited above.

    Unfortunately, the IDF nowadays doesn't seem to care about Hashem's commandments in general and personal holiness in particular.

    Last week, a religious soldier was jailed for refusing to shave his beard. He went through IDF protocol, and "signed on for a beard" in the base chaplain's office. But the haughty base commander didn't like the idea of a bearded airman, a helicopter mechanic. He threw the young man in jail.

    Last year, several top officer candidates were booted out of officer-training course for refusing to listen to female soldiers sing at an assembly.

    Rabbi Yoel Schwartz, one of the founders of the Nachal Haredi, recently protested the IDF's breaching of promises to Haredi soldiers, among other things, forced mingling with women.

    Our felafel-republic politicians want to convince the inane masses that all our economic and security problems are from the "Haredi draft-dodging". They all know that nothing is further from the truth, but hating the Haredis works effectively at the ballot box. Nevertheless, by uprooting Torah scholars and drafting them into an army that doesn't want them (unless they assimilate into secular society), they are uprooting our very right to the Land of Israel.

    The IDF's trampling of Haredi/religious soldiers' basic beliefs is also a trampling of Torah, which unfortunately is another trampling of our very right to this land.

    If the IDF really cares about inducting Haredi soldiers, and if it really cares about our national security, it should start adhering to what King David said in Psalm 105.

    Anti-religious bias, or any other type of bias for that matter, has no place in the army. Forcing soldiers to go against Torah is a crime, and commanders who do so are the ones who should be sitting in jail.

    Until the IDF cleans up its act, and firmly anchors the rights of religious soldiers, then all the talk of "equal sharing of the burden" is meaningless. Military service is a wonderful privilege, only if it enhances one's allegiance to Torah rather than undermining it. "

  13. Some more interesting sources on these inter-relationships:
    1. השיטה החרדית, שאלות ותשובות
    2. מי נגד מי - דו שיח חרדי-חילוני

  14. @db - "What about all the psukim associating Divine Protection with keeping Torah and Mitzvos, especially personal holiness"

    Hashem will redeem the Jews even if they appear to be unworthy of such redemption. However the manner of the redemption will depend upon the deeds of Israel.

    None of Hashem's prophetic promises to Israel are dependent upon any conditions whatsoever. (Maharal, Netzach Yisrael 11)


    One other point - some of your Chareidi type statements such as "Declaring our dependance on military might only hastens another round of hostilities. " are pious sounding but simplistic, and they obscure more important truths. If the Geulah is proceeding in a natural manner, then we have NO CHOICE but to utilize natural military means to defeat the enemy. In which case our emunah is that Hashem will grant us victory through natural means.

    1. Declaring dependence on military might has nothing to do with utilizing means. The latter may well be absolutely necessary. The former is suicidal, at least for His people.

    2. @db -
      Another problem I see with some of your pious sounding but confusing statements is your implication that somehow our efforts don't matter at all. This seems to be the belief of a lot of Chareidim.

      If we assume that the Geulah is proceeding in a natural manner, this means that Hashem is allowing us the OPTION to defeat our enemies by natural means should we so desire. It is then absolutely necessary for us to employ natural means to defeat our enemies to the extent of our abilities. Our efforts then do matter significantly, but Hashem is allowing this whole process.

      If we were to adopt the other option of some extreme Chareidim, that is refrain from using any military means, a Geulah would probably still occur, but with much greater tragedies for us.

    3. Some points on db vs ELY.

      We don't have clear (or any) nevuah to tell us the Geulah process. Yet, Torah does not excuse us from fighting for our survival. Hilchot rodef still apply. Thus someone who says we are not allowed to defend ourselves militarily, is really the same as reform, since they are saying some mutzvot of the Torah are not fashionable today. Now, reform also wear kipot and tallit, and sometimes look religious.

      "Military might" alone is not enough in terms of our belief in Hashem. But we need that secular military might in any case. This is the spectrum of NK-Hiloni-RZ. RZ attributes our military success to Hashem; Hiloni to his own might, and NK to Satan or forces of chance - and Satmar to military might. R Goren zt'l once quipped that the Satmar POV is the same as that of the Hiloni! i.e. it is either military might or chance, but not from G-d.

    4. ELY,
      "Another problem I see with some of your pious sounding but confusing statements is your implication that somehow our efforts don't matter at all."
      Please show where you see such unintended implication.

  15. There' a tension between these two valid concepts:

    1. HaShem sends us messages through certain events.

    2. Our human understanding of anything is limited.

    Evidently, when the message really has to get through, we or many of us are given the ability to receive and process it. This leaves a lot of grey area!

    1. For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.

      HL mencken

    2. What does this statement contribute to the discussion?
      I a clear and simple answer thus necessarily wrong?
      Do you see this as a rule of logic?


    here are the words of HaRav Aharon Lichtenstein on the matter of can we know why certain tragedies happen.

    As you probably know, I come from a school of thought which reacts very strongly against statements, assertions, defamations, made by people who claim to have, or who speak as if they think they have, some direct hotline to the רבונו של עולם,iii so that they are able to contemplate events, and interpret the events in accordance with their philosophic orientation, their spiritual stance, and say: ah hah, I told you so.

    I take my tact from a different world, particularly the gemara in Sanhedrin (105b) – the gemara says with regard to Bilam – יודע דעת עליון [xv] is the way he described himself, and Chazal comment: יודע דעת עליון? השתא דעת בהמתו לא הוה ידע, דעת עליון הוה ידע? The message the אתון (donkey) communicated to him, that he couldn’t understand; the will of the רבונו של עולםiii he could understand? This is partly a problem of folly – and it would be foolish of me to pretend to read cuneiforms or picture languages, and it’s folly for a person to imagine that he is יודע דעת עליון.xv

    Apart from the folly, there’s a certain arrogance involved in this, and a certain self-confidence, which one finds very repugnant.

    see the URL for the rest


please use either your real name or a pseudonym.