Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Should yeshiva students move away from the South to avoid the missiles?

The south of Israel has been under missile/rocket attack for the past few days. It has been publicized in the name of R' Chaim Kanievsky that yeshiva students should move to the center of the country (e.g. Bnei Brak, Yerushalayim) to avoid the rockets. The Rosh Yeshiva of the Hesder yeshiva in Sderot published a response to this that the Yeshiva students should stay because they are soldiers and need to show solidarity with the other residents. He also made the point that according to the Rambam (ספר המצוות ל"ת נ"ח) it may be an Issur D'oraysa to run away.
Source: הרב קנייבסקי הורה לתלמידי ישיבה לעבור למרכז. ראש ישיבת שדרות: תלמידי חכמים לא עוזבים את העיר.

In truth I posted about this 3 years ago in a similar situation, Yeshivas are moving north out of danger, what about the protection of Torah learning? , and made the following point at the time (similar and maybe more comprehensive then R' Fendel's argument):

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. Talmidie 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. Their move undermines the claim for draft exemptions and looks very bad. The soldiers are entering Gaza to fight while the yeshiva bachurim are fleeing to safer havens.

This argument is even more relevant today as the country deliberates on what to do now that the Tal law has expired.


Avraham said...

to me it seems like the issue of serving in the army which is mitzvah from the Torah is different than the issue about Torah protecting the city which is used as a reason not to have to give money fro the building of a wall. I have never heard of learning Torah as being a reason to be exempt from any mitvah and such a concept is absent in the Talmud and in the latter poskim.

Mighty Garnel Ironheart said...

Au contraire! These boys should be deployed in a defensive ring around 'Aza and in public spaces and schools in all cities and towns in range of the rockets. After all, Torah learning protects, doesn't it?
Actually this highlights the hypocrisy of that segment of the Chareidi community. They refuse to work and say "God will provide" but then show up at my door asking for money. They refuse to do army service saying "Learning protects" but then run at the first sign of trouble. Even they don't really believe the bovine feces they spout.

Mordechai Y. Scher said...

Those who are abandoning the South may be compared to Mahlon and Kilyon, in the book of Ruth. One explanation for why the Divine decree was for them to die in Moav is that even though technically they may have been permitted to leave the Land of Israel to seek relief from the famine; by doing so they discouraged the community they left behind. See Rambam, M'lachim 5:9.

These yeshiva students see themselves as leaders setting an example of learning Torah and applying it? Then they should davka stay!

I would point out that at times like this the Hesder yeshiva in S'derot actually has MORE students. Not only do the students stay, but other Bnei Akiva and hesder students come from around country to join them. This is also the pattern that was set decades ago by the boys learning in the hesder yeshiva in Kiryat Shmonah. What a different model of Torah study and leadership.

Chana said...

Cowards and dissimilators!

Ben Waxman said...

i did a bit of volunteer work in the north during lebanon round 2, in tsfat and quiryat shemona. both towns were emptied of people who had a place to go. the only ones left were the old, the sick, the ethiopian immigrants.

until you see it, you can't imagine the feeling of abandonment these people had. to walk around around tsfat and see NO ONE in the streets was like entering some 1950 post nuclear missile movie.

as you stated the boys in the hesder yeshiva in quirat shemona didn't leave. they learned and did community work. their qiddush hashem was without parallel in modern times.

yeshivot have to teach their kids that they have to go beyond the "אני ונפשי נצלתי" type of living.