Letter from HaGaon HaRav Aharon Feldman Regarding the Machloke in Eretz Yisroel

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    Letter that HaGaon HaRav Aharon Feldman שׁליט”א sent to the Atzeres Tefila in Lakewood, which was read publicly to the entire ציבּור

    To all Bnei Torah who have assembled here tonight:

    This gathering was originally scheduled for last Thursday, but because of technical reasons had to be rescheduled to tonight. Although I was planning to speak on Thursday night, I am unable to attend tonight because I am now Yerushalyim, as I had planned to do for months, for the wedding of a grandson.

    This meeting was called for Tefillah Betzibur to be מעורר רחמי שׁמים so that הקבּ”ה should have rachamim [on us] over the impending law regarding the drafting of Bnei Yeshivos into the Israeli army. It was called due to the requests of one of the גדולי ראשׁי ישׁיבה and two of גדולי עולם החסידוס.

    It was a תנאי קודם למעשׂה that this Kinus was not meant to take sides in the machlokes in Eretz Yisroel between Degel HaTorah and Eytz. This machlokes is a מחלוקת לשׁם שׁמים where each side believes that his way of dealing with the problem is the best. It doesn’t matter if one side is a רוב or a מיעוט. Until Sanhedrin paskens a shaaleh, as the Ramban writes in Sefer Hamitzvos, a חכם שׁהגיע להוראה is allowed to dispute even a majority of Sanhedrin. Therefore each side is permitted to hold its view and each side should respect that right.

    But this Kinus has nothing to do with the machlokes. Because לית מאן דפליג that for the first time in the history of Israel a law is about to be passed which if certain conditions are not met — and these conditions are not easy to meet — will subject every 18 year old Ben Yeshiva to the army. In other words, a law is about to be passed which has Chas V’Sholom the potential to wipe out the existence of Yeshivos in Israel. This threat is a threat which has nothing to do with any machlokes. This is a genuine עת צרה ליעקב for every Jew. The side which is letting the law pass believes that the alternative, to immediately subject all Yeshiva bochorim to the draft, is worse, which is what will happen if the law is not passed and this law is therefore רע במיעוטו. As I said, they have a right to their opinion. But this does not make it less an עת צרה ליעקב. Therefore it is incumbent on every man woman and child to be מתפלל ומתחנן that this גזירה shall not pass.

    We also beseech the Israeli government: we beg you, do not undermine in any way the Olam HaTorah. We have survived as a nation because we have had Lomdei Torah and Gedolei Torah throughout the ages. With this law you are threatening the existence of the Jewish people. Furthermore, you should not be passing this law for your own good. Any nation that has attempted to eradicate Torah from the Jewish nation has not survived. We beseech you for your own good and for the good of the millions of Jews who live in Israel dependent on you, do not start up with the Olam HaTorah.

    We also wish you to know that if the situation ever comes about that you draft all the Yeshiva bochorim, we will resist you vigorously in any way possible.

    With Tefilos for the flourishing of Torah in Am Yisroel and the return of all Jews to Torah.


    Rav Aharon Feldman


    I disagree with the bureaucratic process for granting draft deferrals under the new law and strongly support the concept of some form of alternative service for bnai torah in EY (whether in special IDF units such as Nahal Haredi forces or work in public institutions such as schools, hospitals, hospices or assisted living facilities). However, to engage in hyperbole such as this law would “eradicate torah”, “wipe out yeshivos in EY,”, threaten the “suvival” of klal yisroel etc. suggests that the writer has not read the law or is predicting outcomes inconsistent with the terms of the draft legislation pending in the Knesset.

    Avi K

    Mod, why do you allow these topics but not not my post of Rav Eliezer Melamed’s dissenting essay?


    Since when is he a posek?


    T22T, Ray Aharon Feldman, Shlit”a is not a posek either.


    Since when is your mother jewish?


    So it is the machlokes between GImmel and Etz. If you’re against the law, you’re Eitz!


    @Toi I received the letter in paper form only but manually typed it up for your perusal.


    Reb Toi, any rebuttal to Rav Feldman shlita?


    I think the Supreme Court issued a ruling earlier today that deferred any final action on the draft issue for kollel yuungerleit until AFTER the April elections.

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