IDF Chief Rabbi: Regulations Supersede Halacha


IDF Chief Rabbi Brigadier-General Rafi Peretz convened members of the military chief rabbinate on Sunday morning to discuss the ‘disturbing trend of trampling the honor of women” Israel Radio’s Reshet Bet reported on Sunday morning.

According to the report, the army’s highest-ranking rav expressed concerns over the increase in the number of incidents that signal a lack of respect for women, and he is working to ensure that this does not occur in the IDF, instructing his staff to take appropriate steps to avoid such incidents.

Ynet adds the meeting attended by dozens of military rabbis is taking place in Tel Aviv. Ynet quotes the military’s chief rabbi as stating “military regulations are above all else and in a case where there is a dilemma between Halacha and a commander’s order, we explain to subordinates they must obey the commander”.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)


  1. Israel, more than any other country (perhaps other than post-Nazi Germany) has traditionally emphasized that an illegal order does not have to be obeyed. Halacha is law. It is an ancient and worthy and any of the principles of natural law that were the basis of the Allied prosecutions after World War II (for Germans who obeyed order they had every reason to believe were legal). Furthermore, halacha has never accepted the European legal defense of superior orders (we hold: Divrei ha-Rav, Divrei ha-Talmid), so even if a law of the State of Israel (or any state) conflicts with halacha, halacha prevails (Dinei Malchus Dina is really only a doctrine of conflict of law/private international law – and in any event wouldn’t apply to a discriminatory law adopted for the purpose of persecuting frum Jews.

  2. I don’t believe this comment was quoted at face value. There isn’t a single person- that’s frum, never mind a Rabbi, that would say you have to listen to your commander over Halacha unless it was a matter of Pekuach Nefesh. Unfortunately we are seeing more and more of this anti religous behavior in the IDF because B’H things have been quiet.I don’t think during operation Cast Lead they were thinking “hmmm, I wonder which female soldier we should get to sing hatikvah every morning?”

  3. Concerning Rav Shach, zatzal, I believe it was in his last year or so when he was very weak and rarely spoke at all. His family asked him about serving in the Nachal HaChareidi and that was his answer, if my memory is correct.

  4. #4- I believe that was well before R. Shach, and referred to a woman being conscripted, and was based on the theory that conscription into the army would be analagous to a woman being conscripted/enslaved and would therefore be subject to sexual harassment such that it would raise to the level of “yehareg v’al yaavor”. The zionists didn’t press the matter and decided not to make a serious effort to conscript frum women.