VIDEO: IDF Soldiers Stand Firmly Behind the Torah HaKadosha




The Mobilizing in Faith (מתגייסים באמונה) organization continues to spread its message, that the Torah is supreme and serving in the IDF does not give one the right to chas v’sholom disobey Halacha.

The organization released a new brief video taken at the same venue where soldier Avraham Shapira announced his commitment to Torah. He has since been jailed after tried by Colonel Eliezer Ben Harush, the commander of Base 22, sentencing him to 30 days imprisonment.

Now, soldier Moshe Ochana sends the same message in light of the border police takeover of the Yitzhar yeshiva building.

Ochana emphasizes one may not obey orders that contradict Halacha. He explains it is prohibited to turn a beis medrash into a military base. Ochana states “My good friend Avraham Shapira made his clear statements here” after the beis medrash was overrun by border police.

Ochana adds that instead of jailing Shapira, he should have received a commendation for his remarks. “I will continue telling it like it is” states Ochana, who warns against anyone complying with IDF orders that contradict the Torah HaKadosha, ending “we must battle the real enemy”.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)


  1. The leading religious Zionist rabbis such as Rav Aviner and Rav Lichtenstein hold that it is asur for an IDF soldier to refuse orders. So do the IDF’s own rabbis. If every soldier gets on his mobile phone to check with his rav before deciding to obey orders, there is no more IDF. The Arab rashaim would love this and will kill us all. This is a matter of pikuach nefesh.

  2. #2 If it’s assur for an IDF soldier to refuse orders, it’s better not to join them in the first place because many times they go against halachah. Who are the IDF “rabbis” anyhow? Do they have any form of smichah or even the basic knowledge of Torah and halachah? Is it a matter of pikuach nefesh to drive to hilltops on Shabbat and destroy their homes on Shabbat? Is it a matter of pikuach nefesh to listen to women singing? Is it a matter of pikuach nefesh to refuse to work alongside women? There are hundreds of other cases that the IDF go against halachah. Kol hakavod for these courageous boys. Hope there’ll be many more like them.

  3. Sorry, Mr. Hall, but how exactly does refusing to participate in the takeover of a yeshiva building qualify as pikuach nefesh?

    It is perhaps assur to refuse orders in battle, where lives are on the line. But no rabbi can say that it is assur l’fi Torah to refuse orders when those orders have zero to do with pikuach nefesh and everything to do with politics.

  4. 1.The incident of the Yitzhar yeshiva involved a religious zionist yeshiva whose students and teachers were allegedly involved in attacks on the army. If they hold that the existence of the state and the army are in accordance with halacha, then they should be supporting the state and the army, and following orders. In fact, they are arguing over politics rather than halacha.

    2. For hareidim who hold that the state (and therefore its army), and the decision to go to war against the goyim are contrary to halacha, every order including the order to join the army, are contrary to halacha.

    3. Many soldiers are subject to frequent military punishments for such things as insisting on davening in a minyan (which in theory is protected by military regulations, but those regulations are ignored except in a few segregated units). These are the true heroes, not the ones making political statements (that are, questionable even from a religious zionists perspective, and that are absurd from a traditional Torah perspective).

  5. I don’t know why opinions of people living in Chutz La’aretz make a difference, as Ketubot says that they are as if they don’t have a G-d, but whatever.

    Not so Chachom (I’ve already told you how arrogant you are for even choosing that name, as even the greatest Rabbis are too humble to even sign their name with a title), if a soldier refuses to participate in Kol Isha, they can’t be disciplined. They have thrown religious soldiers out of Officer’s Course, but the reasoning had to be that they were “not qualified” and not because of disobeying an order. And the Netzach Yehuda battalion has no women anyway, so no problem there.

    Akuperman, I know that your normal Chutz La’aretz money worshiping attitude makes you a bit one sided, but I’ll respond anyway.
    1)Yitzhar is a bit on the extreme side quite often, but I wasn’t there, so I can’t comment.
    2)You don’t believe in the state? Don’t take state money!! You can’t say that the army in and of itself is contrary to Halacha and then take welfare. And most Haredim don’t even believe that. Most mainstream Haredim do in fact believe in the State, at least to some degree.
    3)I’m glad that you have such extensive knowledge on the army based on your service. I was in the army, and the only time I didn’t daven with a minyan was when there was no minyan or when operational duties precluded davening with a minyan (and operational duties is considered Pikuach Nefesh). I was on kitchen duty once, and they wanted me to not daven with a minyan because of the lunch rush. I stood my ground and they backed off. If you don’t stand up for your rights, of course people will trample on them.

    Except during the Gerush, there is never any conflict between religion and army service in Israel. And as in the Gerush, of course Torah supersedes army regulations. The only disagreement between Religious Zionist Rabbis is whether to openly disobey orders or whether to call in sick or something similar. No one will tell you to disobey Halakha.

  6. How was the “gerush” a halachic issue? If you hold that the zionists have a right to establish a medinah (rejecting the views expressed by the Satmar Rebbe, as de facto accepted by most hareidim as evidenced by their refusal to serve in the IDF – since if you hold the Medinah to be ligitimate you would also have to hold that the IDF is protecting the Jews from their enemies), then you should also hold that issues on location of settlements, borders and deployment of forces are matters in which the Medinah may decide. If you reject the idea that the Medinah can make such decisions, then where do you feel you have authority to serve in the army of an illegitimate government. If the zionist state is kosher, then the state was in its rights to withdraw from Gaza and any other settlement.

    My personal experiences with the IDF date to the mid-20th century (before the “revolution” of 1977), but I’ve talked to acquaintances and relatives with more recent experience, and I believe it is fair to say that in normal units (not hesder, not hareidi) the regulations requiring the army to follow halacha are frequently ignore with impunity)- in theory, any Jew could serve in any unit (e.g. Golani, Navy, etc.), no matter how frum the soldiers was, and not be hassled, and that isn’t the case. Note that the senior officer who deliberate scheduled to female singers an an officer class graduation was not court martialed – so this seems to still be a general problem.

  7. ahirsch:
    Your “understanding” of that gemara is clearly not Chazal’s understanding. You also pick and choose parts of that gemara Kesubos, evidently, as in not 111a.

    As to the IDF, in addition to the shmad and znus of the IDF, even outside Israel it is known (also from people who live in E”Y) that the heads of these chareidi programs in the IDF have stated that the IDF is not a place for a frum kid. Period.

    As Rav Chaim Brisker said already back then (you presumably hold he’s also “domeh liMi sheEin lo…”) the Zionists need a state in order to shmad (not the other way). And his son, who did move to E”Y, held it would have been proper to leave E”Y because of the Zionists, except that the chinuch in Yerushalayim was unavailable elsewhere.

    But even liShitascha, it’s certainly better to be “domeh liMi sheEin lo…”, in chutz laAretz, rather than being of the faith of shmad and apikorsus of, in the words of the Brisker Rav, who lived in E”Y, “a drop of Torah mixed in with a sea of heresy” referring, of course, to “Religious Zionism”. Other gedolim said things like Amalek, etc.

    “Domeh liMi…” seems much more preferable than outright shmad and apikorsus and all that…

  8. #1,
    Well said. Not only that, what about jailing soldiers for refusing to shave off the beard. The prutzitz over there is horrible. The low kashrus standard on food, the low standard of shabbos observance over there. He needs to change the words from Firmly Behind the Torah Hakdosha to Firmly behind religious persecution.

  9. Ok, well I can’t respond to all of those comments, because I can’t exactly write a thesis online at this time.

    But anyway, regarding the Gerush issue, the majority of Jews reject the Satmar position, and even among Haredi mainstream outlook in Israel, their previous objection and current issues with the state are with the religious level of the original planners of the state and its current religious level (probably legitimate concerns). What you may not know is that the Religious Zionist position has nothing to do with Hertzel, Ben Gurion, or any of the secular Zionist ideals. The Dati Leumi idealism stems from the writings of Harav Kook zt”l mostly which talks about the mitzva of settling Eretz Yisrael and the greatness of having Jewish control over the land. Harav Tzvi Yehuda Kook zt”l said that we should say Hallel for the Medina and Kinot for the government. The State of Israel represents Jews coming back to their homeland and running the country as a Jewish state, while the government is the body which makes the actual laws. Some of those laws are good, some bad, and occasional some of them are horrible. But that is the nature of democracy.

    About the Gerush, removing Jews from their homes in Israel is horrible. This was a political decision made by the government for no good reason, and it even endangered Jews in the south. If this was a military retreat of indefensible territory, we would have to leave due to pikuach nefesh. But army officials specifically said quite often that Gush Katif actually acted as a buffer to stop terrorists from leaving Gaza. The fact that Sharon and Olmert says something doesn’t make it right.

    Hakatan, first off let me say that I like your user name. With all the users like Chachom and Talmid Chacham etc, it is nice to see someone with some humility. Anyway, Harav Chaim Brisker and pretty much all of the frum communities’ statements on Zionism back in the day in Europe came from a real worry that nationalism would push religious observance away. This was a real concern when the original architects of the State were mostly non religious and very communist. If I were around back then, I would have opposed Zionism as well, not from an ideological standpoint, but from the practical standpoint of their representatives. I am very confident that Harav Chaim zt”l would not say that Religious Zionism is kefira if he were alive today (as is evident by his grandsons in America zt’l, as I personally learned with Harav Aharon zt”l in Chicago before making aliyah).

    Domeh liMi.. probably would apply less 50 years ago or even 30 years ago when the mesirut nefesh of living here was so great. There was malaria here, wars were rampant, and the economy was not that strong. Now that every 12 year old has an iPhone and everyone has a car, the level of mesirut nefesh is not that hard to move here. So today, what keeps people in America is money, plain and simple. People don’t want to sell their Lexus in order to buy a Suzuki in Israel. Or sell their huge Long Island house for a smaller apartment in Israel. So what would you call money worship other than lack of faith?

    And I don’t know where you got Shmad or apikorsut from. Go visit Hevron, Beit El, Yad Binyamin, or Gush Etzion and show me the apikorsut. I couldn’t find it.

    About the army, I was in Hesder, and the pritzut level was less than on the street in New York. Netzach Yehuda has even less than Hesder. The kashrut standard is higher than in civilian life, and by law, you are entitled to mehadrin food if you ask for it (they may give you vegetarian, but you have to choose your chumrot). Regular army food is probably a higher level than the majority of US kosher food! No Chalav Nochri, all beans, rice etc are thoroughly checked, and no Issur Chadash, even if it is from Chutz La’aretz. There is definitely no problem with being Religious in the army.

    This doesn’t mean that I agree with the Haredi draft law. Most of the army is in what we like to call Unit 804. Come in at 8, do 0 work, and go home at 4. So why should I care that a group of people do the same thing but wear black instead of green?