Being a Frum military Officer

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  • #589004

    chaimss
    Participant

    I’ve mentioned this in passing in a few of my other posts (perhaps some of you have picked it up?) but I wanted to bring it out in the open to get people’s take on it.

    I’m a Yeshiva Bochur (of the “Black Hat” variety if you must label) and I’m also a cadet in Air Force ROTC. What this means is that I get military training while in school (and Yeshiva) and that I don’t have to commit just yet. I have asked shailos both hashkafically (my Rebbi) and halachically (A gadol) but I wanted to know if anybody else has had experience and/or thoughts on this. I’m looking for serious pros/cons, please don’t assume it’s impossible to be Frum unless you know 1st, 2nd or 3rd hand.

    Thank you all.

    #628581

    Joseph
    Participant

    What heter is there to putting ones life at risk (pekuach nefesh) in the service of a non-Jewish military?

    I know of none.

    #628582

    Feif Un
    Participant

    I figured if anyone would rush to judgment, it would be Joseph.

    #628583

    yossiea
    Member

    I salute you! (Joseph, firstly I would imagine hakoras hatov to him, and to your country allows it. Secondly, he’s in the Air Force, not the Army or Marines. His pikuach nefesh would be hurting his nails on a nail clipper while cutting his nails sitting at his desk waiting for an orderly to bring him coffee. 🙂 )

    #628584

    brooklyn19
    Participant

    joseph – is there a difference between that and a jewish military? i didn’t think so!

    #628585

    yros
    Member

    There is no heter unless you are drafted or if it is for Israel

    #628586

    chaimss
    Participant

    For the sake of preventing this thread from turning into an attack I’ll assume Joseph was seriously asking a question and not rushing to judgment.

    The answer is two-fold.

    1. My position would not be inherently life-threatening (I wouldn’t be flying planes or anything like that), and according to the statistics, the number of that kind of Air Force Officer that was killed in Iraq was exactly 1. Which means there’s the same chance of getting killed in the service as with any other way, cv”s.

    2. haba lirodef acharuv, yihareg oso techila- We all know what these terrorists are capable of, at least I’ll be able to join in the fight. (based on an Army chaplain)

    But after everything’s said and done, your choice of words in “non-Jewish” military takes me aback. I’d be protecting over five million Jews, so yeah, I’d say it’s worth it.

    #628587

    Joseph
    Participant

    yros – Even Israel is a non-Jewish Army.

    #628588

    chaimss
    Participant

    yros- Obviously there’s a heter, I’ve already received one from a gadol. And why would Israel be any different? If it’s about defending Jews see my last post.

    And like I said, please be specific. Why is there no heter? Because it’s impossible to be Frum? Because it’s pikuach nefesh? Please clarify.

    #628589

    yros
    Member

    Joseph: YEah But atleast your’e fighting for the holy land.

    #628590

    Joseph
    Participant

    chaimss –

    Please clarify. Does not the military have the right to reassign you in a time of conflict (i.e. another Iraq, G-d forbid) to a combat position should it deem it necessary? If so, Pikuach Nefesh is an issue. I believe (but perhaps am mistaken) that the U.S. Military can, at will, reassign Officers to combat positions.

    I don’t quite understand your point about a ”Chaplain.” And yes, any way you cut it, the U.S. Military is a non-Jewish service, and it risks its soldiers lives based on values not (necessary) in conformance with the Torah.

    #628591

    Joseph
    Participant

    yros – that is not the case. The Israeli Army is an immoral Un-Jewish service.

    #628593

    Yanky55
    Member

    Joseph-

    That was your most nasty, vile comment yet.

    My brother who is a Rav in E”Y, gives gemorah shiurim on an air force base, kashers army base kitchens for Pesach, and once had a career officer court- martialed for bringing leben into a mess tent that according to army regulations was to be used exclusively for fleishig eating.

    May HKB”H stengthen and protect this “non-Jewish” army!

    #628594

    postsemgirl
    Member

    I think the pikuach nefesh would be in the army itself. forget about the enemy. it could be very dangerous for a yeshiva bochur- as you say you are. is there a reason you chose the army instead of regular college?

    #628597

    Feif Un
    Participant

    Joseph, have you ever read the book Lt. Birnbaum? He asked R’ Hutner zt”l to get him out of teh army, and R’ Hutner said no, he SHOULD go into the army.

    It’s not as clear cut as you think.

    chaimss: You obviously don’t know Joseph. He always rushes to judgment.

    #628598

    Joseph
    Participant

    Yank,

    I hope your brother keeps away from the worst kind of shmutz that permeates within the zionist army. The absolute worst.

    #628599

    WolfishMusings
    Participant

    What heter is there to putting ones life at risk (pekuach nefesh) in the service of a non-Jewish military?

    I know of none.

    Joseph,

    I’m curious… what is the statistical level of risk that is acceptable in pursuing one’s livelihood? What does the maximum fatality rate that is acceptable?

    The Wolf

    #628600

    intellegent
    Member

    Feif Un,

    wow! what on earth in joseph’s comment was rushing to judement? What was his verdict btw?

    However, your comment….

    #628601

    brooklyn19
    Participant

    Yanky55 – once they’re out there fighting yes, we need to pray for them. they’re our brothers. the same way we need to pray for female soldiers – even though it is COMPLETELY assur for a girl to join the army. but that doesn’t mean we agree with it.

    i say – if it would stop the arabs from killing Jews – give them the whole land. a jewish life is much more important. (and yes i LOVE the land. i’m obsessed.)

    #628602

    Joseph
    Participant

    intellegent, Thanks, you make good points of course. But pay Feif no heed when he acts like a troll.

    Wolf, That is a good shaila.

    #628603

    yros
    Member

    I pasken that there is nothing wrong with it.

    #628604

    chaimss
    Participant

    Yossiea- Thanks, but I think for me it would be more dangerous- I might spill it! 😀

    *everyone else*: Let me clarify a few things:

    1. My not going to the Israeli military has nothing to do with being anti-Zionist, etc. I’m just not Israeli, and I don’t feel any sort of patriotism or hakaras hatov to them on a day-to-day basis. I know they allowed E”Y to be opened up, etc. but these aren’t things I’m thankful for every day. Also, all-inclusive (Yanky55), my research tells me that it’s much easier to be Frum in the American military than the Israeli military (outside of nachal chareidi which is combat, and I don’t want to do that).

    2. Joseph is right, the military can assign me wherever they fell like it, but since I’m not being trained as a combat officer they won’t put me in a combat position. I may, for instance, be deployed to manage networks in Iraq, or whatever, but like was mentioned above, these aren’t the people who are R”L killed over there. I’m not saying Hashem can’t do whatever he wants, but it’s no more dangerous than, say, crossing Ocean Parkway or Lavista at Briarcliff (Hameiven yovin). It’s simply not worth re-training a person to do something they’re not good at when they’ve already spent millions of dollars training you for something else.

    3. I’m not in the Air Force Academy, I’m in ROTC. This means that I can be in Yeshiva and in a normal college while getting training once a week. I picked this route because I can get a base in Learning before having to join, which won’t happen until, the earliest, three years from now.

    4. The point that Chaplain was making is that there are people out there who want to destroy us, and those of us who have an ability to defend us against them must. I’m not sure I agree with him 100%, but I am sick and tired of reading stories about what’s going on and not being able to do anything about it.

    5. The main reasons I’m considering this, though, have to do with, believe it or not, ruchnius. The discipline and self-control they teach you can be applied wherever you go, and the concepts of respect and professionalism apply to the Frum world as easily as the military one. I can honestly say my davening has been better since I started, and I now have more of a concept of Kiddush Hashem/Kiruv.

    #628605

    squeak
    Participant

    intellegent – joseph did pass judgement. He basically said that he knows of no heter to risk one’s life in the military and therefore one cannot join.

    Instead, he should have said, ‘I wasn’t aware that there is a heter to join the military. Would you mind sharing the psak that you got with the oilem here so as to enlighten us’. To which I would reply, for your own sake please DO NOT.

    #628606

    mamashtakah
    Member

    “The Israeli Army is an immoral Un-Jewish service.”

    I am guessing, Joseph, that you have not been in the Israeli army, so you really should just keep quiet.

    #628607

    WolfishMusings
    Participant

    Wolf, That is a good shaila.

    Well, since it’s a good shaila, why don’t you ask it before condemning the OP? There are plenty of occupations that you wouldn’t blink an eye at that are more hazardous than being a non-combat soldier in an air force.

    The Wolf

    #628608

    Joseph
    Participant

    squeak, The OP of this thread solicited comments on the issue. (As an aside, where above did I state it is impermissable?)

    #628609

    brooklyn19
    Participant

    isn’t the whole idea of fighting for the land not a jewish one? isaeli doesn’t mean jewish.

    #628610

    Joseph
    Participant

    Wolf, you asked a different shaila than the OP.

    #628611

    Joseph
    Participant

    Indeed. The zionist army is probably the MOST morally corrupt military in the Universe.

    #628612

    WolfishMusings
    Participant

    Indeed. The zionist army is probably the MOST morally corrupt military in the Universe.

    Oh, please. Cut the hyperbole and do some reading on military coups in the last fifty years. If you object to the Israeli Army, fine — but stick to reality.

    The Wolf

    #628613

    WolfishMusings
    Participant

    Wolf, you asked a different shaila than the OP.

    That’s right… but you didn’t answer the OP’s question at all. You castigated him for possibly putting his life at risk. So, I asked you what the acceptable level of risk is. If you don’t know the answer, then don’t castigate the OP for it.

    The Wolf

    #628614

    squeak
    Participant

    I agree, joseph, your comment was not out of place in a thread like this. All I said was that you passed judgement. As I already explained – when you ask “What is the heter” and then follow it with a “I know of none”, you are saying it is impermissable.

    #628615

    intellegent
    Member

    Feif Un

    “chaimss: You obviously don’t know Joseph. He always rushes to judgment.”

    What is your issue??? Do you two have something personally against e/o?

    Squeak, “Instead, he should have said, ‘I wasn’t aware that there is a heter to join the military. Would you mind sharing the psak that you got with the oilem here so as to enlighten us’. To which I would reply, for your own sake please DO NOT. ” Oh please. Do you always use such language? I think not. If you would like an example, I can cut and paste but i don’t think that is necessary. I wonder how the coffee room would look if everyone would speak that way. It would probably look like this:

    (that is: blank)

    I hope i don’t sound like Joseph’s attorney. I have nothing with him. I just happen to get nervous from these supposedly self riteous comments and they both have to do with him. what can i do?

    brooklyn19,

    “Yanky55 – once they’re out there fighting yes, we need to pray for them. they’re our brothers. the same way we need to pray for female soldiers – even though it is COMPLETELY assur for a girl to join the army. but that doesn’t mean we agree with it.”

    I know I’ve been making you crazy about your ego, (Hope you forgive me, but I don’t think you mind!) but I have to say, I like your point! Makes a lot of sense! Yitamu Chataim means that we don’t pray that a sinner should die but that his chataim should. So of course we daven for a soldier even if he doesn’t keep mitzvos but it doesn’t make their actions right. Just reiterating.

    #628616

    Joseph
    Participant

    Wolf,

    The OP solicited comments on the matter. There was no castigating.

    Now why don’t you do your usual shtick, and go to your blog and make a post making fun of all the uncultured idiots of the Coffee Room, as you are wont to do.

    #628617

    squeak
    Participant

    Int: You attack me again without understanding my point. I didn’t say that I am not judgemental. I said that joseph was being judgemental, and then I contrasted his comment with a non-judgemental version of it. Do you understand now?

    #628618

    WolfishMusings
    Participant

    Joseph,

    I have never made fun of the “uncultured idiots of the Coffee Room,” as you so derogatorily put it. Sometimes, however, I do find statements that are so outlandish (such as the ones about statistics not affecting yidden) that I do call attention to them (and, as originally presented, that post wasn’t even doing that — it was simply presenting my POV on the value of education). But attack people? Sorry, I don’t do that. Most of my posts that involve the YWN coffeeroom are to discuss (and offer my views) on subjects that come up here.

    I don’t know why you have such venom towards me. You offered an opinion that it might be assur to serve in the military because of pikuach nefesh. I simply asked you to define that and to find out if you held that other occupations that have a higher mortality rate are also assur. That’s no reason to get upset with me.

    The Wolf

    #628619

    Joseph
    Participant

    Wow, all the girls are defending me…

    #628620

    SJSinNYC
    Member

    The Wolf,

    I think Joseph gets angry because you speak truth, and Joseph doesnt like that the truth doesnt fit in with his narrow form of Judaism.

    #628621

    yros
    Member

    stop fighting

    #628622

    Joseph
    Participant

    Wolf,

    How many quotes shall I provide you, of you calling the CR posters (in general and specifically) idiots, in so many words on your blog?

    #628625

    chaimss
    Participant

    Well, Joseph’s right that I solicited comments, so I guess I did ask for it. But I also said, I’m looking for serious pros/cons, please don’t assume it’s impossible to be Frum unless you know 1st, 2nd or 3rd hand. I don’t expect everyone to have been in the military, but maybe “I know a guy who’s brother’s chavrusa had a friend who…”

    But trying to itemize, I’ve basically gotten two three cons:

    1. It’s Pikuach Nefesh

    2. It’s dangerous in Ruchnius

    3. the all powerful “There’s no heter.”

    Does that basically cover it?

    #628626

    intellegent
    Member

    squeak,

    I understand. But I think your quote was unrealistic. Normal people don’t speak that way. I think everyone should chill out about how everyone else speaks and worry more about themselves. I guess that is what i meant!

    As I posted on a different thread, everyone should stop taking everyone else’s comments so seriously!

    #628627

    WolfishMusings
    Participant

    Joseph,

    I don’t think that you’ll find that I ever called anyone an idiot. I have expressed that certain *ideas* are foolish. I have said that certain *attitudes* are even beyond comprehension. But I don’t attack people. And, in the event that you find that I have, then I ask mechila – because that wasn’t my intention. I attack ideas and words, not people.

    The Wolf

    #628628

    WolfishMusings
    Participant

    Chaim,

    Well, let’s look at the points you provided:

    1. Every activity has a certain amount of risk involved. Even just getting up and walking across the street. I’m certain that there are civilian jobs that are more dangerous than those of a non-combat solider in the Air Force. Of course, you still have to do your hishtadlus to determine if you are, in fact, putting yourself at *unnecessary* risk.

    2. I know next to zilch about military culture, so I can’t really address this point. All I can tell you is that there are frum chaplains in the military. Perhaps you should reach out to one of them and have a serious discussion on the matter.

    The Wolf

    #628629

    intellegent
    Member

    Can everyone stop this silliness. Please don’t argue about petty things that people said on a stupid (okay, not stupid) website. PLEASE!

    #628630

    Ashreinu
    Participant

    CHILDREN!! YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF YOURSELVES!

    It seems like SOME people were waiting for a new topic, just to air out their grievances, petty kvetches and monumenally judgemental, unthinking comments.

    At least respect the OP and STICK TO THE TOPIC AT HAND.

    Open your own thread entitled, “I’m In A Bad Mood and Need To Rant About Anything,” with a Sinas Chinam subtitle.

    Sheeesh!

    I would think the CR became overrun with a bunch of bored high schoolers.

    Pull yourselves together and stop attacking everyone in sight!

    #628631

    WolfishMusings
    Participant

    Ashreinu,

    My apologies for upsetting you. I’ll attempt to stick to the topic at hand.

    The Wolf

    #628632

    dd
    Member

    Sorry Ashreinu, this is not just a kvetch. At a time when Jewish boys are being moser nefesh – putting their lives in extreme danger – to protect us and defeat our enemies, there are posters here who make the most vile accusations against those heroes.

    While chayalim are waiting at the Gaza border (including some close friends whose level of sincere devotion to the Torah is something I wish I could emulate) it’s disgusting to hear comments here (and in other threads) by people whose nicknames I can’t even bear to say now.

    I used to think that “J” was just a clown who would defend any absurd action or statement, as long it was done by a chareidi. Now I realize that he is a vile enemy of Torah Judaism.

    #628633

    Itzik_s
    Member

    BS”D

    Have you ever considered the Zimbabwean air force? You get paid billions, if not trillions, for serving in the Zimbabwean military…….

    #628634

    Ashreinu
    Participant

    Chaimss – DO YOURSELF A FAVOR and consult intelligent, informed people on this topic. I know a handful of Frum Jews in different departments of the military (CR people – YES -they are Shomer Shabbos and Kashrus and their kids are in Yeshivos!). Contact your local Chaplain who has a much clearer picture of what you would like to discuss. NOONE here can understand where you are coming from (with the exception of a few individuals) and therefore sound emptyheaded, bigoted and judgmental.

    B’hatzlacha in everything and please discuss this with a knowledgable person….

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