Thursday, June 28, 2012

Rejected Cross Currents Comments

Time for another installment of comments I posted on Cross-Currents posts, that have (as of yet) not been approved:

Post: Nachal Charedi

Your comment is awaiting moderation.

No one claims that blazing trails is easy, כל התחלות קשות. Nachal Hacharedi is new. As you say, mistakes happen in any system, and especially in a new one, it is the trail-blazers’ stubborn determination that makes or breaks its viability. If the army is flooded with 20,000 boys like your son, these issues will quickly be overcome.
However, I think your conclusion that, My next child has already gotten their army exemption, is the wrong one. If our commitment to the ideals you and your son obviously share is overridden by an individual bad experience (ignoring the fact that there are numerous others who came out with markedly different experiences), we belie those ideals, and will never succeed at the goal.
Instead of protesting against and rejecting Nachal Hacharedi, charedim (and all Israelis who care) should be protesting your son’s experience. When the army realizes that mistakes will not be swept under the rug, they will make doubly sure that your son’s story is not repeated.

Post: Plesner Committee


Your comment is awaiting moderation.
Nor can the lack of physical danger in national service be the distinguishing factor. Chareidim do not claim that their blood is redder, or that they have some special exemption from risking their lives in defense of the Jews of Israel.
Of course they do – (if not they would be in the army!) – they claim that as Talmidei Chacham, they have no need for natural protection, and therefore are not required to contribute to support of the protection (רבנן לא בעי נטירותא, see Bava Batra 7b). The fact that (at the very least) this does not apply in our current situation, and, de facto, the haredi world implicitly concedes this, does not affect their talmudic support for their position.
The proof that they feel they are special is in a later part of R Rosenblum’s essay. He writes: The IDF will encounter little communal resistance to the expansion of chareidi combat units under the aegis of Netzach Yehuda, as long they remain voluntary.
Why should haredim be volunteers while the rest of us are drafted? The haredi demand for a different set of standards certainly demonstrates their special opinion of themselves.
Contrary to popular opinion, chareidim do not deny the necessity of an army. Most can conceive of situations in which every able-bodied yeshiva student would pick up arms. But there is no threat that could ever induce anyone in learning to pick up a paintbrush.
You can’t just “pick up arms”. A modern army cannot hope to win without thorough training. If you can conceive of a threat, you need to make sure you are ready to fight if it ever becomes a reality – not go to Lishkat Hagiyus on the day hostilities break out.
No one is telling haredim to do national service (although it would seem that a better understanding of the larger picture might mitigate or even preclude the disdain held for non-combat societal necessities represented by “picking up a paintbrush”). Perhaps R Rosenblum should exert some energy convincing the haredi leadership that Netzach Yehuda is the way to go. Then, we can have a draft for most, and exemption for the elite intellectuals (which might easily be expanded to the elite of the universities as well, so that true innovation and scholarship might be unhindered there as well as in the beis midrash), and a truly incorporated society – not where everyone is the same (who wants that?!), but where all kinds of Jews shoulder the same national responsibilities with a sense of pride and unity.


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