Sunday, December 06, 2009

Jewish Soldier Discipline - Rabbi Yisroel Ariel

Some 30 years ago the avalanche began. That's when prime minister Menachem Begin decided to withdraw from Sinai. Most members of parliament, believers in "The Peace Process", voted in favor of his decision.

At that time, "The Organization to Stop the Retreat" rose to stave off the withdrawal. One of their slogans asserted, "Today Yamit - Tomorrow Jerusalem!" Everyone mocked them, "On Jerusalem we'd never acquiesce!"

Well, look and see this now for a fact. When today a house is about to be built in Giloh, a suburb of Jerusalem, Washington announces, "There will be no construction (for Jews) in Jerusalem!" That's what happens, you give an inch, and they want a mile.

Our sages taught (Shabbat 105b), "Such is the ploy of the instigator of sin: Today he says, 'Just do this', and tomorrow he says, 'Just do that', and, finally - you end up worshipping idols!"

The same applies to military code: He who agrees to uproot "illegitimate" settlements, or agrees to these "last-resort" evictions, will end up violating Shabbat. And did we not see the destruction of Chavat Gilad, the Yeshiva at Chomesh, and Shvut Ami, as "religious" soldiers shamelessly desecrated the Shabbat?

Some respond, "The soldiers are not to blame; It's their officers!" Says Maimonides (Kings 3, 9), "If the King of Israel decrees a decree that opposes one from Torah - for example, to desecrate the Shabbat, we do not obey!" Maimonides goes on to explain, "Were a king to give an order, and one of his servants gives an opposing order, to whom do we listen to?" Every child knows we obey the king's order. But it turns out, what's clear to a child is not clear at all to rabbis and educators.

For see how one of the principals of Yeshivot Hesder ruled when soldiers from both the Shimshon and Nachshon brigades stood up in protest of the evictions:  He said, "As soon as a soldier dons an IDF uniform, he must obey military commands."

In other words, Torah is but a Purim masquerade; When you wear civilian clothing, you serve Hashem; And when you dress up in military uniform, you serve military officers and desecrate the Shabbat. This is his admirable ruling.

Unfortunately, this isn't a joke, nor a festive Purim ruling, but rather a Halachic decision a "renowned" Yeshivot Hesder principal enunciated. This Yeshiva principal is greater than Maimonides, greater than Rabbi Avrum Shapira, greater than Rabbi Goren, and greater than Rabbi Niryah, (all of blessed memory), all of of whom said to disobey such a command. This principal is, in fact, greater than G-d, the King of kings, Who says (Devarim 1, 8): "... Come and occupy the land"; Whereas this principal says, "Wear uniforms and chase the Jews out of the land."

Maimonides chides elsewhere (Bechorot 4, 4), "I've seen in Israel people called 'Principals of Yeshiva' who haven't learned even one day."

Dear Yeshiva principal: Let's follow in the footsteps of the brave students, the soldiers of Shimshon and Nachshon. These are today's heroes. Such as these our sages refer to when they say, "And from my students I learned the most!"

(Translated from

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