Excellent article on the IDF exemption issue

This is from Rabbi Slifkin (whose wife is a distant relative of ours)

It is well worth reading.

Author: pitputim

I've enjoyed being a computer science professor in Melbourne, Australia, as well as band leader/singer for the Schnapps Band. My high schooling was in Chabad and I continued at Yeshivat Kerem B'Yavneh in Israel and later in life at Machon L'Hora'ah, Yeshivas Halichos Olam.

5 thoughts on “Excellent article on the IDF exemption issue”

  1. The IDF neither needs or wants these bochrim. The politicians’ only reason for dragging them away from their studies is to satisfy some perceived need for “fairness”. For some reason, though, these advocates for fairness have not suggested that chilonim be forced to spend time learning in a yeshiva …


    1. There is no perceived need. It was an election stand which was democratically upheld. Dragging? You are kidding me. Read the legislation carefully. There is no such thing as a chilonim. If some perceive they exist its because they sit cloistered in their hermetically sealed rooms and streets. Israel is a democracy. Nobody forces anyone to stay there. They can go to Monsey. Now they have a hetter. They perceive persecution.


  2. There are several key parts to this law that the charedim don’t discuss because it suites them not to

    1) Army is not the only option. They can work in the local hospital, police, fire, hatzolah, zaka and their national service is complete. I.e. they do a mitzvah in their local community in all senses of the word and it is accepted by the government

    2) The army has set up charedi specific units. It stands to reason that as the numbers grow, so too will the number of units which offer glatt kosher, shabbos, time for learning and I assume mikvah if asked for….nicely

    3) Joe, you are correct. they are driven by their definition of ‘fairness’ and it is exclusively defined by a persons ability to work for a living rather than live on hand outs. the key stumbling block in Israel is that ur ability to get a job isfabled on the fact that u have done national service. These laws are very pro charedi as they finally lift the shackles imposed by Ben Gurion and the Chazon Ish which have forced extreme poverty into the charedi community and created such Sinah towards them from the wider community for decades. On this new level playing field, charedim can learn to their hearts content, get a job, break the cycle of poverty and mitigate the reason for much of the hatred in the land…..

    It’s called a WIN WIN solution.


  3. This concerns Ari Hoffman’s article.

    Where does the Tora say that sitting in a Yeshiva protects the Jewish State or the Jewish people in war? Do our sages say that we do not need soldiers to fight our enemies, all we need is some Yeshive Bachurim? If so why would we need an army at all, we are already protected.

    The Tora tells us how to go to war, how to wage war and all the Mitzvot of war (Yated al Ozanecha, Lo Tashchit Etz Ma’achal etc.). Not only that; The Tora specifies who is exempt from joining the army in Milchemet Reshut (Devarim 22):
    (ה) וְדִבְּר֣וּ הַשֹּֽׁטְרִים֘ אֶל־הָעָ֣ם לֵאמֹר֒ מִֽי־הָאִ֫ישׁ אֲשֶׁ֨ר בָּנָ֤ה בַֽיִת־חָדָשׁ֙ וְלֹ֣א חֲנָכ֔וֹ יֵלֵ֖ךְ וְיָשֹׁ֣ב לְבֵית֑וֹ פֶּן־יָמוּת֙ בַּמִּלְחָמָ֔ה וְאִ֥ישׁ אַחֵ֖ר יַחְנְכֶֽנּוּ:
    (ו) וּמִֽי־הָאִ֫ישׁ אֲשֶׁר־נָטַ֥ע כֶּ֙רֶם֙ וְלֹ֣א חִלְּל֔וֹ יֵלֵ֖ךְ וְיָשֹׁ֣ב לְבֵית֑וֹ פֶּן־יָמוּת֙ בַּמִּלְחָמָ֔ה וְאִ֥ישׁ אַחֵ֖ר יְחַלְּלֶֽנּוּ:
    (ז) וּמִֽי־הָאִ֫ישׁ אֲשֶׁר־אֵרַ֤שׂ אִשָּׁה֙ וְלֹ֣א לְקָחָ֔הּ יֵלֵ֖ךְ וְיָשֹׁ֣ב לְבֵית֑וֹ פֶּן־יָמוּת֙ בַּמִּלְחָמָ֔ה וְאִ֥ישׁ אַחֵ֖ר יִקָּחֶֽנָּה:
    (ח) וְיָסְפ֣וּ הַשֹּׁטְרִים֘ לְדַבֵּ֣ר אֶל־הָעָם֒ וְאָמְר֗וּ מִי־הָאִ֤ישׁ הַיָּרֵא֙ וְרַ֣ךְ הַלֵּבָ֔ב יֵלֵ֖ךְ וְיָשֹׁ֣ב לְבֵית֑וֹ וְלֹ֥א יִמַּ֪ס אֶת־לְבַ֥ב אֶחָ֖יו כִּלְבָבֽוֹ:
    (ט) וְהָיָ֪ה כְּכַלֹּ֥ת הַשֹּׁטְרִ֖ים לְדַבֵּ֣ר אֶל־הָעָ֑ם וּפָקְד֪וּ שָׂרֵ֥י צְבָא֖וֹת בְּרֹ֥אשׁ הָעָֽם:
    I do not find here mention of Yeshive Bocherim being exempt.
    If in Milchemet Reshut all, except the mentioned above, have to go to the army, Kal Vachomer in Milchemet Mitzva.
    I do not see in the scriptures more than two kinds of war: Milchemet Mitzva and Milchemet Reshut. Anyone adding to it is probably OVER AL BAL TOSIF. According to R’ Yair Hoffman, in the lesser Milchemet Mitva (he talks about two Milchamos Mitzva) the Bride-groom goes to war (he forgot to mention that the bride goes as well – yes, women in the army) but not those that are studying Torah. We have seen already that they MUST join the fighting forces also in Milchemet Reshut, therefore I do not know what is he talking about. Who is going to define which of the two Milchamot Mitzva is the current war? Is it the grade A or grade B?
    I do not get to the bottom of the comparison to the Manhattan Project. They were contributing to the war effort, the same way as a cook in a field kitchen did, or a spy not wearing an uniform. The one who “toil” in Nashim, Nezikim, Kodshim and Moed do not contribute anything to the war effort or the defense of the State. NO, they do not.


    1. Posted it in Hoffman’s reply here:

      • Soldiers who are protecting the nation against the enemies of the Jewish people are fulfilling a remarkable task and are playing a holy role.
      • All of us, who are beneficiaries of their bravery and dedication, should express our sincere hakaras haTov and pray for their welfare and well-being.
      • It is unfortunate that some do not express their hakaras hatov.
      • Full-timeTorah study, like nuclear research, is very important.
      You cannot compare the two. One is a scientific research done by expert professionals. Talmud Torah, not only full-time study, is a mitzva to be performed by all Jews. From the best of the full-time students we expect our next community leaders. Wasting time on the others is a sin. We can see it in Chulin 133:
      כל השונה לתלמיד שאינו הגון נופל בגיהנום. וכן: כל השונה לתלמיד שאינו הגון כאילו זורק אבן למרקוליה.
      Bachurim were accepted to Yeshivot only after they could prove that they were Lamdanim. Otherwise he was wasting time and occupying a seat. Learning Torah Leshma can be done at home or with a Chavrutah.
      • When there is a “super” milchemes Mitzvah all people have to go to war
      • There is a debate whether there are two types of wars in halacha or 3 types of wars.
      The Torah stipulates only TWO. Do we need a MILCHEMET MITZVA LIGHT just for exempting Bachure Yesiva?
      • Chareidim hold that there are 3 types and that right now the war situation in Israel is a standard milchemes mitzvah. Bridegrooms go to war. Torah scholars, according to the chareidi view, only go out to war in cases of “super” milchemes Mitzvah.
      False assumption. Even if there were three types, don’t you think that at Milchemet Mitzva LIGHT the Bachure Yeshiva should go but not the bridegroom and the bride? According to the Torah the bridegroom is exempt in Milchemet Reshut, whereas Bachure Yeshiva have no exemption in the Torah, even in Milchemet Reshut.
      • Both sides should work toward better unity.
      אל תפרוש מן הציבור


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