Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Tzohar Rabbi Fueurstein, Are You and I Reading the Same Ramba"m?

ג' לחודש השנים עשר ב' תשע"ד

Tzohar Rabbis
Just when I thought that I had successfully debunked this silly notion that serving in the IDF is a misswah (Torah Commandment), a Tzohar un-dying State loyalist rabbi has to crawl out of the woodwork, and force me to repeat myself.

You remember Tzohar, don't you? Tzohar is the rabbinical association in Israel which is typically mamlakhti (undying State loyalist), and desires to offer an "alternative" to Israel's Chief Rabbinate, on issues ranging from Kashruth to marriage. Tzohar Chief Rabbi David Stav recently campaigned for, and lost, a bid to become Israel's Chief Ashkenazy Rabbi.
YWN: Chutzpah: Rabbi Feuerstein Says ‘Psak From Gedolei HaDor Is Flawed’
(Monday, March 3rd, 2014)
Rabbi Rafi Feuerstein, a senior personality in the Tzohar Rabbonim interviewed on Galei Yisrael Radio as the Million Man Atzeres was taking place. Feuerstein is known as one dedicated to building bridges and teaching mutual respect and tolerance between the different streams of Jewish life in Israel.

Galei Yisrael: Rabbi Eliyahu is there and you are not. Do you feel you are missing out?
Rabbi F: Mamosh no for in my eyes, one of the stature of Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu taking part in the atzeres represents he has placed one foot out the door of being a member of the dati leumi community. It is a mitzvah D’oraissa as per the Rambam to serve in the IDF and Rav Eliyahu knows this no less than I as per Hilchos Melachim Perek 5. 
The atzeres claims the draft law is a chilul Hashem and rebellious against HKBH as if there is no Halacha to serve in the army. How can one such as Rabbi Eliyahu be a part of this? (cont.)
(Tip Credit: Tomer Devorah)
Esser Agaroth (2¢):
Um,...Rabbi Fueurstein,

By all means, correct me, if I am wrong, but doesn't Chapter 5 of Hilchoth Melachim u'Milhamoth (Laws of Kings and Wars), which you cite, assume that a King of Israel in power?

Is there a current King of Israel of which I am unaware?

Sure, some believe that the Israeli Government serves as a temporary stand-in for a king. (Let them believe what they will believe. They sure as heck are not going to listen to me! But, to assume that it's some kind of obvious inyan (concept)?


And when such a king, even more so, a temporary stand-in for a king, decrees the cancellation of a misswah, according to the same Ramba"m you cite, we are not supposed to heed such a king (Hil. Melachim u'Milhamoth 3:10 [9]).

Even if you were right (and you most certainly are not), how could you seriously expect Jews to serve in a military body which executes commands to destroy synagogues, throw Jews out of their homes and off their lands, and hand them over to enemies who have vowed the annihilation of Am Yisrael?

Rabbi Fueurstein, pray tell, which of the above roles of Israel's military [IDF] are Misswoth mid’Oraitha (explicitly written Torah Commandments)? I am afraid that I, myself, can only find examples of Torah violations within this list, violations which occur on a regular basis.

There are more. Just look at the results of the increasing numbers of men and women forced to serve in close proximity to one another. Look at the results of the risking Jewish soldiers' lives in order to protect not only a enemy's "civilians," but to save known terrorists as well.

I believe that even former IDF Chief Rabbi Ronsky said that saving a terrorist was based on what information could be obtained from him which could be used to saved Jewish lives.

Actually, many years before this, Rabbi Meir Kahane hy"d made similar statements, but don't tell anyone. Someone might accuse you of applying Torah logic to your arguments like he did.

Unfortunately, much of the above will simply go in one of Rabbi Fueurstein's ears, and out the other, or worse,...over his head. I expect that he, like most all mamlakhti rabbis, would say that the situation on the ground of these various issues is "complicated."

No, sir. It is not complicated, even if you believe it to be so.

It there is a conflict between the Torah and man-made laws, it is not in the least bit complicated as to which of these two takes precedence. It is not complicated to me, and it is not complicated to the close to a half million Jews who attended this past Sunday's pray rally.

The more those Tzohar un-dying State loyalist rabbis get their hands on power, and their fingers into our lives, the more trouble Am Yisrael will be in.

And that is an "alternative" that I am not willing to live with.


Devorah Chayah said...

Go get 'em!

Shy Guy said...

Yeh, go get 'em!

Esser Agaroth said...

Shy Guy,

Not sure why you posted a link to Rav Bar Hayim's video.

Was it to show that he and I disagree?

I intended to clarify my position even further shortly in another post.

Shy Guy said...

Yes, I was being sarcastic. Waiting for your clarificatziah. :)

Ze'ev said...

If you live in and are a citizen of a state in which military service is compulsory, you do the service or get out. It's as simple as that. No need to even get into a halachic discussion.

Esser Agaroth said...


Thanks for commenting.

However, halakha touches ever aspect of a Jew's life, not just what goes into his mouth and what he can do on Shabbath. Thus, everything can have a halakhic discussion about it.

The problem isn't compulsory military service. The problem is the State's underlying motivations for it, not to mention the halakhic authorities', ALL halakhic authorities', unwillingness to be a part of this process.

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