Thursday, November 15, 2012

The rockets are flying in the South, the Yeshivas are running away to the North

This discussion comes up every time the South of Israel comes under rocket fire (see for example my post from 2009 Yeshivas are moving north out of danger, what about the protection of Torah learning?) Should the yeshivas move out of those areas? According to reports (See for example בהוראת הרבנים: הישיבות לצעירים נוטשות את הדרום ) both R' Shteinman and R' Chaim Kanievsky have told the yeshivas to leave the South and come to Bnei Brak.

On one hand the move is understandable, with rockets landing in Ashdod, Ofakim, Kiryat Malachi, etc. they want to move to a safer place. However, on the other hand, this raises some serious questions. The Charedi world justifies the draft exemption for yeshiva students based on the following:

1. Torah learning protects everyone
2. The boys are engaged in מלחמתה של תורה
3. Talmidei Chachamim don't need protection

Based on these it would seem that the Yeshivas should stay where they are. If the boys who are learning are engaged in war just like the soldiers why should they abandon their posts? In addition if Torah learning protects, let them stay where they are and be protected by their Torah.


Adam Zur said...

the actual reason yeshiva students don't want to serve in the army has nothing to do with some imaginary halacha which supposedly exempts them. It has to do with the fact that it is of male nature that we like to sit and chat as opposed to doing the heavy work which is involved in military service.

Avi Wollman said...

This comment should not be construed at taking any side on the issue of Chareidi army exemptions, but moving to the north is not contradictory to saying the Torah protects. One still has an obligation to guard one's life.

Remaining in the south despite the current conditions and sitting and relying on the merit of Torah learning might be considered like relying on a miracle. After all, believing that Torah learning protects does not mean that being in a yeshiva is a foolproof defense from harm, as we unfortunately saw in 2008 with the attack in Merkaz HaRav.

bluke said...

That is all true but the boys learning are many times compared to soldiers. When the going gets tough soldiers can't run away to safer areas.

Kevin in Chicago said...

Avi Wollman, if the Chareidi talmidim are not allowed to rely on a miracle (which is prudent, as well as avoiding testing Hashem), does not their exemption ask the rest of the country to rely on the miracle that their study will protect the Israeli people more than their military service would? Shouldn't that also be forbidden, since it entails the expectation of divine intervention? Logically, if every Jewish male Israeli studied Torah instead of fighting, does anyone believe Israel's enemies would stop or be stopped in their tracks?