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Window into the Charedi World | Mordecai Plaut, director







A Declaration by the Rabbonim About Drafting Yeshiva Students

by Yated Ne'eman Staff

In response to the most recent effort to draft yeshiva students, a High Court decision in response to suits filed by established enemies of all things religious declaring that the current arrangements allowing all those whose exclusive occupation is Torah learning may defer all military service while they are thus occupied, an extraordinarily broad array of leading rabbonim issued the following declaration, including many who are not at all involved with political issues.

The special proclamation of maranan verabonon, the gedolei Yisroel, under the heading: "Eis Tzoro hi leYaakov" reads:

Due to the harsh determinations recently accepted by the High Court, which undermine, Rachmono litzlan, the substance of the Torah and the uniqueness of the Jewish Nation, and due to the talk and threats to cholila hurt the yeshivos hakedoshos and to blot out Torah from their students' minds, from the aspect of lehashkichom Torasecho, we call this period "eis tzoro leYaakov," and believe that yeshu'as Hashem comes swiftly, and that we will be spared from this calamity.

The Creator of the world, in His great mercy and kindness, has created us in His honor and separated us from those who go astray. He imparted to us the Torah of truth, and gave everlasting life in our midst. He made a covenant with us, promising that Torah will not be forgotten from His seed. Only haTorah hakedosha protected Am Yisroel, when it was an itinerant people, persecuted and tortured by the nations of the world. It is only the Torah hakedosha which enabled the Jewish Nation to remain strong in its belief, and to anticipate the full Geula, quickly in our times.

No devices disposed against you will succeed: there is and there never will be no power which cholila can separate Am Yisroel from its source of vitality and to ordain for it lifestyles contrary to the Holy Torah. We hereby express our disapproval and pain over the repeated attempts to undermine the unadulterated halocho which has been transmitted to us from generation to generation, and protest the attempts to breach the vineyard and the uniqueness of the House of Israel.

Kindness from Above has encompassed us. After the great destruction which Israel suffered during the days of the terrible Holocaust, after the Torah institutions were destroyed, and all of the sacred Jewish communities in the Diaspora laid waste, we have merited the fulfillment of the verse, `. . . and on Mount Zion there will be a remnant.' Jews have returned to our sacred land; the yeshivos hakedoshos, the watchmen of the legacy of Sinai which served as pegs and cornerstones for the rebuilding of Torah- loyal Jewry, have been reestablished. These restored yeshivos kedoshos, which were founded with the sacred blessings and guidance of gedolei Yisroel and the mesiras nefesh of the roshei yeshiva are the substance and core of the Nation, and were and will forever be the surety of our existence. Heaven forbid that they, or their students, be undermined in even the slightest manner.

We hereby reiterate and once more convey our opinion, that according to the din and the halocho, it is forbidden to impose any burden, except that of the yoke of Torah, on students of the yeshivos kedoshos. By the same token, students of the yeshivos kedoshos included in the category of Toraso umanuso, are forbidden to enlist in the army. Therefore, under no circumstances whatsoever may any change or any sort of compromise in the existing arrangement be made.

Our eyes, and not those of strangers, have seen the magnitude of the dangers we faced during the past fifty years of the existence of the Jewish settlement in Eretz Yisroel, and we are certain that the merit of the Torah hakedosha and those who study it with exertion, is what protected us, enabling us to be saved from all who sought our harm. At such a time, when the Jewish Nation is pleading for abundant mercy in the face of the enemies and the ambushers who attack us from all sides and who continue to seek to harm us, cholila, at this time, when many hope for deliverance from their private distress, we plead with our brethren, bnei Yisroel, the distant and the near:

Brothers, do not cause harm. -- Do not raise a hand, cholila, against Toras Moshe.

`Do not touch my anointed ones.' Leave the Torah learners alone.

We turn to the lomdei haTorah as a whole and the students of the yeshivos hakedoshos in particular, with a sacred call: `Don't fear and or be anxious.' Hashem will be with you. Strengthen yourselves in prayer, and by beseeching the Creator of the universe to cast a pure spirit from Above, so that the wayward will open their eyes and see that they erred. Increase Torah's ranks, and recall that we have no remnant except this Torah. Gird your strength in courage, and exert yourselves in haTorah hakedosha with cheishek, hasmodo, kedusho vetohoro. In the merit of the Torah hakedosha, in the merit of those who study it wholly, may all Israel be entitled to lives of grace, kindness chessed, abundance, mercy, deliverance and consolation. Succor and release will preserve Israel from all calamities and from all enemies, and may we merit deliverance and compassion speedily in our times.

Signed on Chanukah, 5759

Yosef Sholom Eliashiv, The Admor of Vishnitz, Aharon Yehuda Leib Steinman, The Admor of Gur, The Admor of Slonim, The Admor of Belz, Simcha Zissel Broide, Shmuel Halevi Wosner, The Admor of Sadigur, Moshe Shmuel Shapira, Boruch Shimon Schneerson, Michel Yehuda Lefkowitz, The Admor of Rachmastrivka, Chaim Pinchos Scheinberg, The Admor of Strikov, Zalman Rotberg, Tzvi Markowitz, The Admor of Alexander, S.Y. Nissim Karelitz, The Admor of Modhitz, Avrohom Yaakov Zelaznik, The Admor of Nadborna, Chaim Kanievsky, Shmuel Auerbach, The Admor of Lelov, The Admor of Boston, Boruch Rosenberg, Yitzchok Flakser, Yisroel Grossman, Avrohom Chaim Brim, Binyomin Yehoshua Zilber, Chaim Shaul Karelitz, Yerachmiel Gershon Edelstein, Fishel Rabinowitz


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