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30 Tishrei 5766 - November 2, 2005 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Protest Against Use of Sherut Leumi Volunteers at Chareidi Institutions

by Betzalel Kahn

Letter from Rav Shteinman

Led by gedolei Yisroel thousands of bnei Torah took part in a protest rally on Sunday to decry the serious breach at special education schools in the ban against Sherut Leumi.

Beis Medrash Beis Yisroel in Jerusalem's Ezras Torah neighborhood was packed from wall to wall with bnei Torah headed by roshei yeshivos, rabbonim and dayonim who were shocked at the very idea of legitimizing the program by accepting the assistance of Sherut Leumi volunteers in chareidi special-ed classrooms.

Gedolei Yisroel banned Sherut Leumi outright in 5713 (1953) and again in 5732 (1972). The ban has been upheld since then and today's gedolei hador determined even making use of Sherut Leumi workers falls within the scope of the prohibition.

The gathering opened with the recitation of Tehillim led by HaRav Tzvi Shapira and then HaRav Tzvi Roth led tefillas Arvis.

Before introducing the other speakers Rav Avrohom Yosef Lazerson, one of the heads of Chinuch Atzmai, gave an emotionally charged talk about the goals of the gathering called by maranan verabonon, saying we should lament that our generation is compelled to speak out against the severity of the prohibition against Sherut Leumi and the threat it poses to our camp, adding that recent developments are a part of government efforts to chip away at the foundations of Torah-based education.

The first speaker was HaRav Shmuel Auerbach, who noted the Ramchal says man remembers physical things very well, whereas spiritual things are easily forgotten and lost. "Right after the Holocaust, when HaKodosh Boruch Hu left us gedolei Torah such as the Chazon Ish, the Brisker Rov and others, the Chazon Ish determined [that Sherut Leumi] was a matter of `yeihoreig ubal ya'avor.' He was the heart of Am Yisroel, a heart who knew the inner workings of the soul, and he had a feel for the heart of Klal Yisroel. There are always forces working toward indifference, toward breaches. Even if they do not necessarily cause destruction, the breach itself is a terrible thing. Even if it is not a movement, it is destructive and must be opposed. All the more so when there is a movement to breach the rampart, a breach created by our wayward brothers who lead themselves astray, but they are [also] rising up against us to destroy us and any breach [cannot be tolerated in the least].

"We cannot yield. Every breach has a certain sophistication. But this is in matters so serious they almost need not be discussed. Yet the present circumstances make it imperative to arouse the public and cry out against this to keep it at bay. This is a dreadful matter. We will be as courageous as it takes. The dreadfulness of this matter need not be explained to the holy public. This is a dreadful matter. Beware. Chachmei Yisroel warned against the pursuit of money, which one perhaps does not realize, and [therefore] he makes a hole in the boat and brings destruction unto Klal Yisroel. This gathering is in the Name of Heaven. We will say the whole truth and without a doubt this will have a greater impact than anything else."

HaRav Menachem Mendel Mendelson, the gavad of Komemiyus who together with his father fought battles for chareidi Jewry 50 years ago—especially against Sherut Leumi—began his speech by citing the verse, "Ki seitzei lamilchomoh al oyvecho" (Devorim 20:1 and 21:10).

"There are two types of war here," he explained. "The Chovos Halevovos and the Alshich wrote about a pious man who met people coming back from war and said, `You have returned from the little war, now prepare for the big war, the war of the yetzer and its legions.' Who would have imagined that after 50 years we would have to fight this war? There is a war that is large in scope, in quantitative terms, but it is really a small war. Chareidi Jewry merited a reprieve from this war in 5715 [1955] and in 5732 [1972] it fired up again and then died down. But now this really is the big war.

"One of the heads of the education system met me and said he heard that one of the people we are currently fighting against told him that it was very cruel for us to give up tens of thousands of shekels every year. This is the great indifference spreading through the public today."

HaRav Yosef Binyomin Wosner read aloud a letter from his grandfather, HaRav Shmuel Halevi Wosner.

HaRav Yitzchok Scheiner, rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Kamenitz, read aloud a letter from HaRav Meshulom Dovid Soloveitchik, rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Brisk.

HaRav Eliyohu Raful, also among the campaigners against Sherut Leumi 50 years ago at the behest of gedolei Yisroel, said that since the Destruction of the Temple it appears doubtful whether gedolei Yisroel have launched another war of yeihoreig ubal ya'avor. "This campaign is different from all the other campaigns thus far. Until now we fought against people from outside the camp. Today it is a war against people from our own ranks who have decided to save money. What stupidity and madness this is—to turn to girls who agree to transgress yeihoreig ubal ya'avor.

"A few years ago this began a bit — here one girl, here another — all in secrecy. I once heard a remark by one of gedolei Yisroel who said that if the Torah says he who strikes his fellow in secrecy is cursed all the more so he who strikes Klal Yisroel in secrecy and, Rachmono litzlan, there are now hundreds of girls in our institutions. What a terrible instance of striking one's fellow in secrecy this is."

HaRav Yosef Chaim Kopshitz, who came to the gathering from the home of Maran HaRav Eliashiv shlita, said that Maran asked to convey a message in his name regarding the severity of this breach as he stated in a letter published a few days previously and that a staunch battle must be fought against this dangerous development.

HaRav Kopshitz then read a brief letter by HaRav Shteinman, which simply stated, "The prohibition against Sherut Leumi must not be breached."

HaRav Kopshitz went on to cite the mishnah in Yuma about the shluchei beis din who warn the Kohen Godol not to change anything the beis din told him. "Gedolei Yisroel are envoys of the great Kadmonim who warned us many years ago the prohibition against Sherut Leumi falls under the category of yeihoreig ubal ya'avor. The Kadmonim held that nobody can alter their opinion [on this matter]."

Shortly before the gathering came to a close HaRav Michel Yehuda Lefkowitz arrived to show his support. His letter was read aloud by HaRav Shmuel Yaakov Bournstein.

Letters by HaRav Nissim Karelitz and HaRav Gershon Edelstein were also presented.

At the conclusion of the gathering Rav Lazerson issued a stirring call to all those who had accepted volunteers at their respective institutions to heed the outright ban by gedolei Yisroel shlita against the use of Sherut Leumi workers.


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