Rav Sadan to Chareidim: Your Unwillingness to Serve is Not About Torah


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ponRosh Yeshivat Bnei David, Rabbi Eli Sadan, viewed as the father of the “Mechinot”, the IDF preparatory yeshivos; speaks out regarding the sharing the burden and the position of the chareidi tzibur at large.

Rav Sadan’s words were carried in a pamphlet distributed in the weekend edition of the Makor Rishon newspaper, affiliated with the dati leumi tzibur.

Heading the first Mechina Yeshiva, which was established about 25 years ago, Rav Sadan takes umbrage with the position of rabbonim representing the chareidi tzibur.

“Simply, all of us, and I mean all of us, including the talmidei chachamim among us must serve in the IDF. This is so from the point of derech eretz precedes Torah and from a point of it being a Biblical and Holy requirement since a war of survival is a war viewed as a milchemes mitzvah”. Since this war has been ongoing for over 65 years, and we cannot disable all the security needs of the nation and even more simply, it is impossible to stop the building of Torah in Am Yisrael.”

The rav feels the Torah and security experts must sit together to find an acceptable response to the security needs of the nation as well as the continued building of Torah in Am Yisrael.

In the rav’s outline, he stresses the positive approach, first working to strengthen the yeshivot willing to work with the IDF; a mutual partnership and one of respect – even administratively, funding arrangements and economically, budgeting issues.” He refers to the dati leumi yeshivot gevoha and pre-military yeshivot as well as the hesder yeshivot.

Directing comments to the chareidi tzibur, Rav Sadan continues, “Tell the truth” he adds, continuing “There is no greater humiliation or demeaning chilul Hashem than to use the Crown of Torah by lying and in vain. You cannot argue that you do not enlist because you are busy building Torah for if this were true, why do so many who do not learn Torah at all, or study very little don’t serve? What would be subtracted from the world of limud Torah if they did an abbreviated military service of hesder and then return to limud to become talmidei chachamim, taking part in the security burden along with others towards the survival and existence of the state?”

“Those who do not cease their limud, which is day and night, sitting and learning, we are not touching them. We admire them and are pleased for them to continue their limud towards highlighting the pillar of fire that leads the camp. But in relation to the majority, this is a relatively small minority.”

The rav continues explaining this is not a “burden” but a privilege – taking part in the security of the nation aside one another. He also expresses opposition to national service for chareidim, calling this “blindfolds for those who do not believe in the state to give them a feeling that they are taking part in the burden. This is a lie and we mustn’t strengthen a lie.”

He feels the national service programs will not be serious and at best, it will provide work the chareidi community required nonetheless. Rabbi Sadan feels such programs will only serve to increase the state’s financial burden and instead of sharing and easing the burden, it will increase it.

“Military service places a person in a position that he may have to risk his life for the country and this is the heaviest burden, which has not relevance to a civil service program.” He continues by stressing the idea of a national service is an “artificial alternative”.

The rav stresses the emphasis to continue building the Olam HaTorah, and to strengthen yeshivos, but calls for the need to define criteria and to monitor compliance. First and foremost, this must refer to true Torah study, day and night, with the proper diligence.”

View the 32 page publication online:

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)


  1. When is the last time he walked into Merkaz Harav or Mir or Slabodka at 12 or 1am. Or Ger and Satmatr at 5 am? A sight for spiritual eyes!!
    Also, he contradicts himself. Burden or Privilege?

  2. “Rav Sadan” there are 2 dinim concerning toirah, one is to live a life of learning torah 24-7 and one is livivng a life of torah, even those who cnat dediacte their lives to full time learning, if they join the army they won’t have a life of torah, but rather a life empty of any real values. Tis is why the gedolim say this is a time of shemad. The point if the “join the burden” is to make sure no lives by torah values

    Also u claim this is a melchmes mitzvah. The gedolim don’t agree at all with thid point

  3. Okay Rav Sadan here is the truth. It is not just about bitul torah. It is about a Zionist ideology that is at odds with Torah. It is about an Army that forces frum yiden to listen to Kol Isha and it is about an Army environment that severely challenges the frumkeit of soldiers on a daily basis.

  4. If it was a mir roshei yeshiva who wrote thins what would you say then?
    The problem is the charedi community discredits anything a dati leumi rabbi says

  5. Rav Sadan is a tzaddik and a talmid chacham. You will find him in his Beis Midrash at 5:00 AM, wheere one of his chavrisas was Roi Kleim zt”l, a tzaddik and talmid chacham who jumped onto an exploding grenade to save his soldiers, while shouting Shema Yisroel.

    You may disagree with his approach, but shame on anyone who makes fun of someone like Rav Sadan.

  6. Although I agree that the overwhelming majority of the Gedolim were against the establishment of the State, we are no longer living in 1913 but rather in 2013. The question that needs to be asked therefore is how do we deal with the State 65 years after its establishment. There really are only 2 choices – maintain the state as a Jewish one, or walk away from it and let the arabs run it. With the history of wars, intifadas and terrorist attacks that have taken place since its inception I believe that the latter option would be suicidal, leaving only the first option – maintaining a Jewish state as being viable. All that this Rav is saying is that for those who are learning full time they should continue to do so as the zchus of their learning helps, but everyone else should serve. After all if the only viable option is to maintain the state then if whole segments of the population walk away from its defense – whether it be chareidi, dati leumi or chiloni- who will act in its defense?

  7. Mully and others, by the merits of the person whom you’re not willing to refer to as rav, thousands of young Jews who aren’t fit for full-time learning join the IDF at a higher level of emuna, and with greater maturity, than otherwise. If so, he may have prevented more cases of OTD than any person alive. Turn off the hate spigot and give respect where it’s due.

  8. Milchemes Mitzva is described by the Ramba”m as when we go to war to protect Yidden from enemies who wish to kill them. not to spend 3 years training for that…

    If and when there’s a need for everyone to fight, during an ongoing war, after Gedolei Torah were involved making sure there isn’t a way out through negotiations, the learners of the Ramba”m will not hesitate and close the Gemara and shoot not with 3 years of training but with the power of the Torah…

  9. I believe the facts are not as the Rav states them: there is actually no need for Charedi soldiers at all. The question is more one of fairness and equity: why should I risk my neck while you think about a Rav Chaim? So if its not pikuach nefesh, there are guidelines when to serve and when not to.