Friday, October 20, 2017

Chaos in Jerusalem

It is a Friday afternoon in Yerushalayim, and I do not have much time to write and edit this piece.  Nevertheless, since I received some requests from acquaintances to comment on the malicious and awful events yesterday of the Peleg Yerushalayim group, may their name be blotted out, I wanted to at least write something.

Readers of this blog know that I am very much for needed change in the Chareidi world, particularly in regard to their stance of total rejection of army service for any young man, no matter what up until now.   While I believe that we very much need a cadre of special scholarly students who devote their lives to Torah only, surely times have changed greatly since the 1950s.  Then, in the post Holocaust era, many Gedolim felt that all hands were needed on deck.  Furthermore, the army was (in those days) actively trying to reeducate young men away from "Galut mentality" and religious observance; they argued that no young men should be allowed to enter the draft.

Fast forward 70+ years to our time.  There are hundreds of thousands of Chareidi men of military age who are not serving, and then who cannot get meaningful lucrative employment.  This in turn causes-- among other things -- a terrible  economic model of poverty and reliance on charity and government largess which is clearly unsustainable.

All this is well known.  If I had my druthers, many young Chareidi men would serve in the army, in special units where Kashrus, Shabbos, Teffilah, Torah learning are provided in a positive way, and only a minority be totally exempt.   Many such efforts have taken place in the political realm.  

But I write today not to discuss my druthers (whatever that means).  Instead, the majority of Chareidi Gedolim, including most Roshei Yeshiva, the Degel haTorah party, and significantly the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah, headed by Rav Aharon Shteinman and Rav Chaim Kanievsky, have agreed on a compromise, whereby all Yeshiva students should register with the Draft board, and they will then be entitled to a deferment until age 23, and probably more after that.  Included in this deal is that all those older than 25 will receive a permanent exemption from service, and other advantages.  (I will not go into all the details here, because it is not my point).  Although non-Chareidi people feel that this deal is another sellout to the Chareidim and perpetuates their non-service, this path was agreed to by most of the Chareidi leaders, who are happy that this has taken the pressure off the draft issue.

Enter Shmuel Auerbach, son of Harav HaGaon Shlomo Zalman Auerbach זצוק"ל (a champion of love and peace who is surely turning over in his grave), and decided this is not good enough.  He formed a breakaway party HaPeleg Hayerushalmi, which runs its own candidates for office competing with Degel HaTorah and which has its own yellow smear rag of a newspaper called HaPeles, and with ugly and depraved methods have time and again not only rejected the approach of the other Gedolim, but besmirched and slandered them, including Rav Shteinman and Kanievsky, in ugly and depraved terms.

I do not have the time or the stomach to document here all of this ugliness today.  

I do mention it, however, in order to explain what happened yesterday, which was only the largest such outrageous travesty perpetrated by Peleg.  In a concerted effort they called "A Day of Rage", the Ketanim who lead Peleg thought it was a good idea and a Kiddush Hashem to send thousands of young impressionable mostly teenage and twenty-something hotheads into the streets to essentially shut down traffic in Jerualem, Bet Shemesh, Bnai Brak, and Modiin, inconveniencing thousands of people, turning the vast majority of them into even greater opponents of Chareidim and what they stand for, and acheiving massive Chillul Hashem.  It took hours to get anywhere, if one could at all, as they shut down the major arteries at the entry to Yerushalayim

I have no words to describe my contempt for the "Rabbinic" leaders of the Peleg, who -- in their unbelievable arrogance and shortsightedness --  have stood by and not only allowed but encouraged this desecration of G-d, including fighting police and army, while in turn often calling them murderers and Nazis for simply trying to move them out of the way of traffic.  (The police, in my view, exercised great restraint -- I would not have been surprised if they had busted a few heads).  The ugliness was horrible . . . and I fear greatly how much damage this has done to any efforts at outreach and presenting a positive view of Torah Judaism.

I only hope that people realize that although they are a group comprising several thousand supporters, they are a small minority of the Chareidi community, who are shocked and appalled at these actions, and are very angry saddened by it.  It behooves anyone with the power to do so to stand strongly against this terrible group and their leaders, and for the restoration of Kovod HaTorah


Pinchos Woolstone said...

Auerbach and his Peleg cult are a total Chilul HaShem.
His action are total without basis in Torah.
He disgraces the name G-d.

Noach I. said...

Rabbi Leonard, you make many very good points. However, you only name one person as the leader of your opponents. What they do is terrible, but is he really their leader, or is he being terribly misled by people who call themselves his students??

Would you be kind enough to clarify that point for me and for many others in the public who do not understand what kind of leadership this group has. It seems as though they have misled themselves in their own beliefs and ideologies, that they have also misled their leadership and they are using a name to go under, and the vast of their activities is unknown to that one rabbi that you named as their leader.

Eagerly awaiting for your answer, Rabbi Leonard. Have a good Sabbath

Noach I.

YLO said...

Thank you both for writing.

There is no doubt, Noah, that he is their leader and inspiration. That he is fully aware of their plans, and encourages them in their actions. Clearly he has lieutenants who are intemediaries, but this is not the case of a closeted old man who is unaware of what is going on.

This is only the most recent of many similar incidents.

On a positive note, Rav Chaim Kanievsly has finally come out this time against this travesty,7340,L-5031462,00.html

May we hope this is the beginning of a better trend, but I would not hold my breath

Lenny Solomon said...

In Shul yesterday a friend of mine commented how the damage done by the Chareidi Community with these protests and in general have turned off and distanced most if not all Dati Leumi and specifically their children from that world.
The children see them and want to get as far away from them as possible never mind that it is pushing them away from religious Torah Judaism. This exists in my house and mostly everyone else. It is the opposite result....
We have real problems in Klal Yisrael....

We also remarked how we made Aliyah 20 years ago and loved everyone. Now we hate groups of people. Unimaginable....

Noach I. said...

Thank you rabbi for your reply. I had an interesting discussion with an ex-military from the IDF, and he made two very interesting points. First, a day of Rage, is an idea brought in from the Arabs. When they are protesting and are out of control. Second, according to him, the faction is not protesting against the IDF or the draft per se, rather, they are using this issue to protest and throw off leadership and cover themselves by saying that they're protesting for a holy cause. What do you think?

YLO said...

Thank you Lenny....Takes a lot for Mr. Ani Yehudi ( to feel that way... a lot less for many others.

It is true, Noah, that "A day of Rage" is a term that Arabs used. Of course they are protesting the draft נמות ולא נתגייס (We will die before being drafted), but they have joined hands with the most rabid anti-zionist extremists to paint the State of Israel and everything about it as the work of sinful heretics who must be defeated at all costs. Unfortunately there is "leadership" leading this terrible stuff.

Anonymous said...

I happened to have chanced upon your post some time ago when I was certainly unaware of the issues in Israel between these 2 right wing political parties. I read your post with an open mind trying to gain some insight. Over the first couple of days of the yom tov (which of course one day I hope to follow your great lead and be able to keep only 1 day ) I read a lot about harav hagaon r shmuel auerbach and what I read about him (especially coming after reading your post) absolutely blew my mind. Not only was he a giant in Torah but in midos and chesed as well following in the footsteps of his illustrious father rav Shlomo Zalman all while living a life of tzaros with no children. Not only that but his father who as we know was from the giants of the previous generation with all that he was known for including his chesed his sefarim his psak requested that he be known as avuha dshmuel. It would very much surprise me to hear he was turning over in his grave. After having spoken to many people who know this subject well I believe you have your facts wrong. I certainly don’t know which way is the right way but I do know that this was a machlokes lshem shamayim between 2 giants who were living in a different world than most of us which unfortunately has caused tremendous machlokes and slandering in all of Israel because of articles like these. I am also very upset about your usage of words “ may their name be blotted out” about our fellow brothers. While I don’t condone all their actions I believe it’s pretty harsh language for these people that believe they are dong the right thing but unfortunately may b going about it in the wrong way. I don’t know how it would fit into your world of Kirov levavot. Are they much worse than your new friends who are going about their lives without any semblance of Torah and mitzvos with anti Haredim views??? Again I’m not here to say an opinion because who am I to offer one amongst these 2 great sages of our time but I could not sit by after having gained some further clarity on these issues