Torah vs. IDF

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    I have seen many comments on this site that men learning Torah should not be required to fight in the army because Torah is equally necessary to protect Klal Yisroel and we would be doing our security a disservice to force men to go from the Beis Medrash to the IDF. My question is, is that for a Milchemes Mitzvah everyone is required to fight, and there is no ptur for Torah learners. Also, in Sefer Shoftim, Hashem specifically told Gidon to take the talmidei chachamim to fight. They would be the best soldiers, and it is in their zechus that Klal Yisroel would be victorious. Hashem did not tell Gidon to just take the Am Aratzim and let the Kollel boys learn. One can argue that since we are fighting a defensive war, this is a Milchemes Mitzvah, wouldn’t yeshiva men be required to fight? And even if you say it’s not a milchemes mitzvah, we obviously need soldiers for self defense, don’t we see from Gidon that the talmidei chachamim would in fact be the best soldiers?


    Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t a Milchemet Mitzva only when Hashem tells us explicitly to go and fight? I’ve heard from my Rosh Yeshiva that we need both, the people fighting with their guns, and the people fighting in the Beis Midrash. It’s pashut to me that klal Yisrael would be a lot more dominant in the physical battlefield if the government and the people appreciated the spiritual battlefield, and not try to extinguish Yahadus and the flame of the Torah.


    1. Torah is not equally imporant as the Army. Torah is more important.

    2. There is no Milchemes Shel Mitzvah today.

    3. All citizens should be required to sit in Yeshiva and learn Torah for at least as long as they want to require Army service. After they implement that, we’ll discuss Army service.

    4. Since you are discussing Torah law, newlyweds and anyone afraid of war gets an exemption.


    drszooger- in number 4- that’s only by milchemes reshus. I don’t think there are exemptions for milchemes shel mitzvah. And even a milchemes reshus, many meforshim explain that being afraid means those who are afraid of sin. In other words, the talmidei chachamim are the ones who fight. Obviously, it’s the Torah that protects us, but it seems that the Torah that the Talmidei Chachamim learn will make them better soldiers, and they are the ones who should fight. That’s how the Torah protects us. Not with the Am Aratzim on the front lines and the talmidei chachamim in the beis medrash- it’s with the talmidei chachamim themselves on the front lines.



    The Ramban writes, “Behold we were commanded with conquest in every generation.” (Supplement to the Rambam, Sefer HaMitzvot, positive commandment #4).

    The Rambam give 3 definitions of Milchemet mitzvah and the 3rd, “To save Israel from the hand of the enemy.”(Rambam, Mishneh Torah, Hilchot Milachim, 5:1)

    So we have a milchemet mitzvah twice over, conquering the land and saving the nation.

    Everyone must serve, yeshiva bachur or not!


    simcha613: Not everyone in Yeshiva is a talmid chochom who is unafraid of his sins. (And non-talmidei chachomim have every right to be in Yeshiva, inasmuch as talmidei chachomim do.) You are also disregarding that these are not milchemes shel mitzva.


    My point is, is that it seems the Talmidei Chachamim would make the best soldiers. Learning Torah and serving in the army are not mutually exclusive.


    The Gedolim of the Yeshivaleit are dead-set against it. In the strongest terms possible. And the Yeshivaleit follow their Rabbonim. So the issue is non-negotiable.


    mermaid- it’s true and you’re right. The Gedolim have spoken. I don’t necessarily understand and I don’t necessarily agree which is why I’m expressing my opinion. But, at the end of the day, they are Daas Torah and I am not, and they obviously know things that I do not. I can question the Gedolim from a theoretical perspective, but in practically they are miles ahead of me and of course their decision is final. I don’t c”v mean any disrespect.


    How is it a Milhemes Mitzvah? It’s a fight about money and real estate. Are the Palestinians demanding that Jews stop learning Torah? Do they demand the Jews open their shops and drive their cars on Shabbos? Are the Arabs demanding the Jews wear immodest clothes and engage in lewd behavior (such as women singing in front of men, not to mention many other things we don’t talk about on YWN)? Are they insisting that people other than our gedolim control religious community life (run mikvas, shuls, etc.). Do they even demand we say hallel on their holidays?

    The goyim were willing to let Orthodox Jews live in peace in Eretz Yisrael. The war began when the zionists demanded political control (and that the Arabs be reduced to a secondary status). Had the gedolim staying in control, as they were before 1914, there would have been no war. It’s the hilonim’s war – let them fight it. We should worry about our own survival, which is a function of Torah and Mitsvos.


    apukerma- this is the kind of thinking that brought us the holocaust-where millions of “jerei’m’ “ushleimim” died because of thinking like yours. The majority of those who died were shomrei torah umitzvos.

    Avi K

    Rav Tzvi Yehuda said that if the Defense Minister would declare that everyone or a certain person is needed then it would be mandatory. Until then we need both- and the relationship is symbiotic (Sanhedrin 49a).

    However, those learning must really be shteiging. Not hanging around. Not reading newspapers. Not going to chazzanut concerts. Learning three sedarim per day as well mornings on arvi Shabbatot.And have to pass periodic exams. During ben hazemanim they should do some volunteer work, preferably give shiurim to soldiers.


    ROB, akuperma is absolutely right and you can’t face the reality.

    Why do you take a classic Zionist lying tactic and tell outright lies in the face of Zionist gems like “One cow in Palestine is worth more than all the Jews in Europe”? But that line was surely very helpful during the Holocaust, yes? Kol HaPoseil…? If you can’t admit your own “issues”, at least don’t blame religious Jews who do the ratzon Hashem, unlike Zionism which despises Him.

    Hashem, and, lihavdil elef alfei havdalos, not the IDF, is the One who has sustained us throughout this long galus, and IY”H will continue to do so ad beas goel tzedek BB”A, DESPITE the tragedy of Zionism and its many, many halachic problems, not the least of which is its denial of the shalosh shevuos which we read just the other week.

    May Hashem redeem us all, BB”A.



    Actually not. Are you reiterating what one poster posted yesterday here something to the effect of “the Rabbis in Europe who were all for Shabbat and Kashrus were turned into soap”? Really? The One Who hallowed us with His commandments punishes us with a holocaust BECAUSE of keeping Shabbos and Kashrus. “jerei’m’ “ushleimim”, shomrei torah umitzvos were killed for following daas Torah? Right on! Had we joined IDF on the “blessed garden” we would still be alive.

    For your information, what brought about the holocaust is explicitly stated in a sefer (Hebrew book), written many years before the war. I think the name of the sefer is Meshech Chochma. He forewarned that mingling with the gentiles would only bring a catastrophe (I think he actually used the word shoah) of tremendous proportions. He prophetically describes churban Europe vividly! Go see for yourself.

    So no. It’s not the “jerei’m’ “ushleimim”, “shomrei torah umitzvos” who bring a holocaust. It’s those who proclaim ???? ??? ?????? and ??? ????? ???.

    write or wrong

    I think the reasoning of the Gedolim is that there is no Milchemes Mitzvah when the leaders of the army are apikorus. If the leader of the army was David HaMelech, it would be a different story.


    Write or wrong: I don’t think that’s P’shat. There were Milchamos Shel Mitzvah all throughout Bayis Rishon (maybe Sheini too), even when the leaders were Resha’im. There are other reasons to call this a Milchemes R’shus (or not Halachically a Milchama at all), but that’s not one of them.


    Hakatan (Joseph of old?)and akuperma: I have no intention or desire to enter into another sterile discussion of Zionism, the medinah and the Holocaust. You believe in one thing, I believe in another way. As I have said numerous times in my past postings here, history will tell who is right. May we all be ‘zoiche’ to be there and witness the geulah.


    zeeskite- I have to make this comment in answer to your comments. I never said that the Holocaust was “because we kept the mitzvos”.I have always maintained that we do not know the why of the Holocaust and we should not try either.

    I was commenting on the nefarious comment of apukerma who stated that religious Jews have no common tie with other jews IN DEFENDING JEWS. It is a fact that the majority of victims of the Holocaust were shomrei torah umitzvos and the german jews- many assimilated jews- escaped with their lives. Hakodosh boruch huh does not want us to be divided, especially when it comes to protect all of us.


    Zeeskite, you quote a sefer saying “mingling with the gentiles would only bring a catastrophe (I think he actually used the word shoah) of tremendous proportions.”

    Seems to me that would have been a tremendous justification for establishing a Jewish state, regardless of how frum its leadership was, so long as it reduced or eliminated mingling with the gentiles.

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