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A respectable delegation of Netzach Yehuda (Nachal Chareidi) rabbis, who escort chareidi soldiers throughout their army service, attended the levaya of HaGaon HaRav Shmuel Auerbach ZT”L. One of them is Rabbi Yitzhak Bar-Haim, among the noted founders of Netzach Yehuda Association and the Brigade itself. Approximately one year ago, Bar-Haim was assaulted by extremists who claimed to represent the battle against the draft of yeshiva students.
In an interview after the levaya, Rabbi Bar-Haim explained that he chose to attend because, “Rav Shmuel was a gadol, great in Torah and avodas Hashem. Even if he opposed things that I’ve done, there is no question regarding the stature of his Torah and service of HKBH. That’s why it wasn’t even a question for me whether I should attend this levaya. The world is now sorely missing a righteous Jew who toiled in Torah despite immense challenges and adversity.”
Rabbi Bar-Haim adds that along with attending HaGaon HaRav Shmuel’s funeral, he also attended a memorial that took place simultaneously on Har Menuchos for the yahrzeit of a chareidi soldier from the Netzach Yehuda brigade who was niftar one year ago. Bar-Haim attended both the late soldier’s funeral and memorial.
Participating in the funeral along with Bar-Haim was a large contingency of chareidi soldiers and veterans, as well as Netzach Yehuda rabbis including Rabbi Yochanan Danziger, Rabbi Yaron David, and Rabbi David Fuchs.
Recalling the beating he endured approximately a year ago from draft protesters, Rabbi Bar-Haim explains, “I know what a gentle person Rav Shmuel was. He was pleasant, soft, and unusually sensitive to the poor and downtrodden. If he had any idea how much the soldiers are suffering, I have no doubt that he would have protested strongly against the negative behavior. The people around him fed him lies and deception, and those in his court stirred the cauldron. This was not who he was and this was not the house where he was raised.” Bar-Haim adds that, “I’m not convinced that those same people who threw eggs at me attended his funeral at all. It’s hard for me to believe that the inspiration for such activities came from Rav Shmuel. A Jerusalemite Torah scholar once confided in me that he himself is frightened to enter into certain batei medrash in Jerusalem out of fear of what they’ll do to him.”
Discussing the bitter conflict that has arisen regarding the draft of yeshiva students, Rabbi Bar-Haim notes that, “Since the beginning of time, there have been differences of opinion among the Jewish nation. Beis Shammai and Beis Hillel disagreed with each other, and the whole Gemara is chock-full of debates and machlokes. The actions that I’ve taken were not made independently; I always consult with rabbonim who are much greater than me.
“I once asked an esteemed Torah scholar, who is one of the gedolei hador, if I have to worry about Rav Shmuel and other Rabbonim harboring a grudge in their hearts against me? He answered, ‘You have whom to trust and rely upon, so there can be no grudge.’ This is beside the fact that the Netzach Yehuda Brigade has been in existence for 20 years and is continually developing, succeeding, and growing. When Chassidus began, there was also strong opposition and even cherems imposed. Opposition is positive, because it compels us to prove ourselves and show that despite the hostility and criticism, we are accomplishing and succeeding on behalf of Klall Yisrael and acting L’Shem Shomayim. Twenty years is a long time that’s enough to prove itself.”
In addition to the rabbis who attended the funeral, Nachal Chareidi Organization also published an official mourning sign proclaiming: “The rabbis and administrators of Nachal Chareidi Organization, along with thousands of students and all of Klall Yisrael mourn the passing of Sar HaTorah HaGaon HaRav Shmuel Auerbach ZT”L, who was one of the celebrated teachers of Torah in our generation. The passing of HaGaon HaRav Shmuel ZT”L, is a tremendous loss for all Jewish people and for chareidi Judaism in particular. HaGaon HaRav Shmuel’s legacy of diligence in learning and stringency in every matter of halacha will continue escorting and guiding us.. ”
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem/Photo Credit: Hillel Mayer)