Chief Sephardic Rabbi Shlomo Moshe Amar Shlita met on Sunday morning with President Shimon Peres to discuss the “sharing the burden” issue, the ongoing effort to draft avreichim.
As the rav was entering the meeting he told reporters “enough of the hate”, referring to the media campaign that depicts chareidim in a negative light and the growing sinas chinam that results from this.
When asked how one can accept his viewpoint while accommodating the “share the burden” camp the chief rabbi told Israel Radio “I don’t have a magic solution but I do know we have bnei yeshiva who are emerged in torah study and they protect us and they contribute towards ensuring the future of the Jewish People. They renewed the Jewish People after 2000 years of galus and those who truly study are holding up the nation”.
But rabbis, there are those who do both, learn and serve.
It is not simple but one must understand to produce gedolim, true torah scholars, we must have those learning sincerely, fulltime. I asked [the president] to give weight to the realization that those studying sincerely be allowed to continue, with the realization of what their contribution is and the vital role they serve.
Do you think that at the end of the day there is a small group of the ilui’im who must continue studying but in reality, the other group, the larger one can continue learning but in conjunction with serving the nation.
I will tell you in all honesty. We do not have the means to accurately measure a persons learning towards deciding but those who we know are not learning, they must serve and HaRosh Yeshiva HaGaon HaRav Aaron Yehuda Leib Shteinman Shlita gave a heter for these to serve in appropriate programs. Hundreds of them, actually thousands of these students have joined. This number continues to increase if they permit it to do so. It will reach the significant number but those who are acting without really being familiar with the situation don’t know and the result will not be a welcome one.
I am afraid that the current climate will have a negative impact and there are those who disagree with me and I am not saying I am always correct but whatever is done the path must be done with love and respect, not what we are seeing today.
There was an earthquake felt last week and some rabbis said that is because of the efforts to draft chareidim.
Thanks for asking this question. I do not agree. I am focusing my energies on stopping the hate. We are in galus over 2,000 years due to the sinas chinam and nothing else and this is my biggest fear, sinas chinam. It simply must stop. This has always been my position in my private and public life.
This is why I came to meet with the president, to warn against the sinas chinam. It has to stop.
What about the social justice protests, those who claim they cannot establish a life hear due to the high costs and the tragic event of a man who set himself ablaze last night.
This is most serious (the rav begins crying). The situation is very difficult. There are those who do not pay taxes. I recall when I was a rav in Tel Aviv I spoke with Mayor Huldai and there were those who were willing to pay more tax just to move the poor to another area and this hurts terribly. On the one hand there are people with wealth and kovod and yet others, they simply do not have bread for the next meal. I travel the country and see those who don’t have anything. I see the men and women who fall in places they should never be. Above all we must stop the hate, the sinas chinam.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)