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The Mizrachi?!


Various Rabbis

12 Kislev 5765
Until recently I dreamt of coming to Israel to help fight for our protection, then eventualy marry and move to a settlement. My Rosh Yeshiva recently "bashed" me and I am left with many doubts, about contuing in life. Of course I would like to fulfill my dreams but he raised some very good points which I was hoping you could help me with. Please provide "mara mekomos" for all your answers. I will list his complaints in order. 1) serving in the army is not a mitzva, and sitting and learning will protect jews much more. 2) there is no mitzva of yishuv ha’aretz bizman haze. 3) it is forbidden to live on settlements especialy since one is endangering himself, and there is no logical reason for it. 4) When I said I wanted to learn in a hesder yeshiva he said he has seen first hand that there is absolutely no real learning there. 5) There is absolutely no Da’as Torah supporting the mizrachi movement today. 6) Statehood is the cause of all Jewish problems in the world today. 7) Mizrachi has no kavod hatorah or self respect considering the no hat no jacket colored shirt sandal look. 8) Al pi halacha jews should not rule Israel and there should not be a state(99% of the gedolei klal yisroel were apposed to a state before its establishment). PLEASE HELP ME RESPOND TO THIS
Shalom, We've read what you've wrote and we weren't sure how to answer. Some of the points you brought up are well known to us and their answers are clear and written in jewish sources, while the rest are strange and almost ridiculous, so before answering them we should first check if the argument is an argument at all. For example "Mizrachi has no kavod hatorah or self respect considering the no hat no jacket colored shirt sandal look" - since when were hat & jacket defined as signs of Kavod? The definition of respectable varies according to place and generation. The Shulchan Aruch writes in Hilchot Tfilla that one should stand before his creator "as one stands before a king" not "as one stands with a hat and jacket". Every time and place kings respect themselves differently, so these things change. Nowhere does the Halacha state that a Jew must walk around all day in what he wouldn't even wear to his own wedding. True, in a Tzibbur that does wear hats and jackets there might be an Issur to daven without them, but it is impossible to derive from here a law forcing anyone else who does not follow that Minhag. The claim that "Statehood is the cause of all Jewish problems in the world today" cannot be taken seriously. Is the Rosh Yeshiva a prophet? How does he know what causes the troubles of Am Yisrael? It is customary for us to say that the sins of Yisrael cause them to suffer, but jewish sources mention an Israeli kingdom (or - state) as one of the biggest Mitzvot the Jewish nation can perform, not as an Issur. Besides, one can plainly see how the Jewish state stopped the terrible intermarriage that was expanding all over Europe (continuing nowadays in the USA) and made a great contribute to the rehabilitation of the Jewish nation after the horrible holocaust. In addition - tosay Hashem gave us the tools we need in order to protect ourselves in any case of enemies plotting against us. Should we disdain these tools? Are we not commanded to see Hashem's guiding hand in all that happens in this world? Is the event of Am Yisrael miraculously standing on it's own two feet, almost from nothing, unworthy of learning and understanding? Saying that "there is absolutely no real learning in hesder yeshivas" is almost evil Lashon Hara. I don't know when your Rosh Yeshiva visited the Hesder Yeshiva he spoke of (perhaps during lunch break) or which Yeshiva he saw, but there are dozens of dozens of Yeshivot in which the students persevere on Torah learning day and night, combining it with Yishuv Ha'aretz, protecting it's borders, and saving lives by recruiting to the army. That is besides dozens of Yeshivot Gvohot (high Yeshivas) where students perservere many years, get married and build their homes around the Yeshiva and bring up their children according to the way of the holy Torah. Claiming that 99% of Gedolei Yisrael don't support the Mizrachi isn't right either. Perhaps there are Talmidei Chachamim your Rosh Yeshiva doesn't count, that's his problem, not the Mizrachi's. You would agree that you can't just take any Talmid Chacham that supports the Mizrachi and turn him to an Am Ha'aretz in order to prove that it doesn't have Talmidei Chachamim... Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Hacohen Kook lead the National rehabilitation movement before the Mizrachi was founded and he set it's foundations (and continued to support it later on), Rabbi Soloveichik also stood at the top of the Mizrachi in the USA and lead it (though he had some legitimate criticism on it). Rabbi Herzog, who became the chief rabbi of Eretz Yisrael after Rav Kook, he too was among the supporters. Rav Kook's son - Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda Hacohen Kook was the Rosh Yeshiva of Mercaz Harav (founded by his father) and led the believing, frum, national crowd in Israel. Today, the Rosh Yeshiva of Mercaz Harav is Hagaon Rabbi Avraham Elkana Kahana Shapira (former chief rabbi of Israel) and another supporter of the movement is Hagaon Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu (former chief rabbi of Israel). At the first elections to the Kenesset all frum jews were united under one party and a proclamation was issued calling all jews to vote to that party to the first Knesset of the state of Israel which is "Reishit Tzemichat Geulateinu" (the beginning of the flourishing of our redemption)(this was written in the proclamation). Later on the party splitted and the Chareidis who couldn't stand the violations of Torah done in the state shook it off entirely. Rav Kook was a son in law to the Aderet (Hagaon Rabbi Eliyahu Daivd Rabinovich Teomim) who appreciated him very much, and said of him that "my son in law is bigger than I am". The Aderet was the Rosh Yeshiva of Ponovich. The ponovich Yeshiva still put an Israeli flag on top of the flagpole on Yom Haatzmaut. Likewise, Rabbi Tzvi Yeshuda Hacohen Kook testimonied that most Gedolei Yisrael did not oppose to the state when it was established. There were few who opposed, few who supported. The majority refused to take sides. Afterwards political activists came and made a whole mess of it. These were responses to the not serious claims in your letter. The rest ("serving in the army is not a mitzva", "there is no mitzva of yishuv ha’aretz bizman haze", "it is forbidden to live on settlements especialy since one is endangering himself", "Al pi halacha jews should not rule Israel and there should not be a state") Should be studied more deeply. We're sending you a number of Shiurim on these subjects so you can deepen and widen your Torah knowledge. If you have further questions please contact us and we will pass your questions to one of the Rabbis. We will just add, as a footnote, that serving in the army includes several Mitzvot, starting with the Mitzva of saving the lives of Klal Yisrael (and it doesn't matter why they are in danger or who brought it to them - there is a Mitzva to save jews in danger. Period.), ending with the Mitzva of Yishuv Haaretz as the Ramban wrote (Hashmatot L'sefer Hamitzvot, Mitzva D) "we were commanded to conquer the land that Hashem gave our fathers, Avraham Yitzchak and Yaakov, and not leave it in hands of any other nation or in wilderness, and that's what the pasuk says (Bamidbar 33:53) 'Vhorashtem Et Haaretz Viyshavtem Ba, Ki Lachem Natati Et Haaretz Lareshet Ota. Vehinachaltem Et HaaretzAsher Nishbati Laavoteichem' ". The Ramban emphasizes that the Mitzva exists at all times but there were times when Am Yisrael was forced not to fulfill that Mitzva. The Rambam, Hilchot Melachim (5:10) wrote: "Gedolei Hachachamim used to kiss on the borders of Eretz Yisrael, and they would kiss the stones...", the Rambam does not bring this Gemara down in a book of Agada or Mussar, rather his big Halacha book, the Mishne Torah, in order to say that there is a Mitzva to love Eretz Yisrael. It's not enough to live in it and build it, one must love it as well, live it in one's thoughts and be part of it in one's consciousness... Afterwards we can speak of the actual practice, when and where to fulfill the details of this important Mitzva. Also the claim that this Mitzva isn't worth taking risks does not hold halachicly for the following reason: Halacha determines that one should not put himself into danger performing Mitzvot only when the Mitzva "meets" a Pikuach Nefesh, but when the Mitzva is all about a possible danger, we can't dismiss it because of danger. For example: I'm sure you'd agree we wouldn't say that one who has been sentenced to death in Beit Din shouldn't be killed since he might die through performing the Mitzva... Likewise we wouldn't accuse everyone with a child of putting heir wives into danger by letting them give birth... Even Brit Mila has a certain risk to the baby but we haven't heard of anyone saying we shouldn't endanger the baby for the Mitzva... Only Mitzvot like Shabbat, Tefillin, Kashrut etc. which aren't based on one being in danger can be "put off" because of Pikuach Nefesh. You can read the following Shiurim: // //
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