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What Did HaMashgiach HaRav Don Segal Say About The Chareidi Draft Law?

Kikar H’Shabbat on Monday revealed a recording of the Mashgiach, HaGaon HaRav Don Segal,  speaking about the Chareidi draft crisis.

In the recording, someone poses a question to the Mashgiach:

“HaMashgiach, I’m close with the Rosh Yeshivah, HaGaon HaRav Tzadka, and he’s in great tza’ar that not enough emphasis is being placed on the fact that even weak yeshivah bochurim cannot be drafted to the army. They’re trying to reach severe compromises on the issue. Is there a heter for a bochur who isn’t learning to go to the army?”

HaMashgiach: “Chas V’shalom. I thought that was clear.”

A source told Kikar: “It has to be understood that this would mamash be a gezeirah. There are thousands of bochurim who may be weak and go to yeshivos designed for weak bochurim but later they’re mechazeik, they get married and establish true homes of Torah – many of them even continue learning in kollel.”

“There is no justification to send them to the army – where they’ll definitely veer off the path of Torah. This would lead to the destruction of the Olam HaYeshivos – no Gadol Yisrael ever provided a heter for such a thing.”

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)

16 Responses

  1. @lbj – Dati Leumi Gedolim actually send the all – including the strong Bachurim – to the army with the attitude that what they’re doing is a tremendous Mitzva – they have the zechus to protect Klal Yisrael in Eretz Yisrael. After the army, the Hesder Bachurim return to Yeshiva for two more years of serious learning.

    You may or may not agree with their Shita – but knowing a number of guys who have gone through this Hesder system, I can say that they’re much more knowledgeable and confident from a Hashkafic perspective than most Chareidi Yeshiva guys. The Hesder boys are actually encouraged to ask difficult questions on Hashkafic topics, as opposed to Chareidi Yeshivos where anyone who asks questions like that is considered to be “problematic”.

    It’s interesting how the Chareidi world has changed reasons for why they don’t go to the army over the years. Historically, most Chareidim did go to the army, as until 1977, only 800 Chareidim were given deferrals. Then, the reason given for not serving was that “the learning provides spiritual protection – so we’re doing our part”. Now, it’s “We can’t take the risk that even our non-learners will go in, because they may end up non-Chareidi” – in other words, a control issue. Sorry, but the rest of Israel is no longer willing to go for this – especially when the 7 October attack and subsequent war make it clear that what’s needed is more boots on the ground – not more technology. The Chareidi attitude of “Shalom alai nafshi” is just not going to cut it any more.

    an Israeli Yid

  2. It does not matter if they are willing to go for it or not, no frum Nachum and kos shekein bachurah ,belongs in the idf or anywhere near it.

    If you can’t understand that, than you lack a hergesh for Yiddishkeit

    It’s really that simple.

  3. It does not matter if they are willing to go for it or not, no frum bachur and kol shekein bachurah ,belongs in the idf or anywhere near it. If you can’t understand that, than you lack a hergesh for Yiddishkeit It’s really that simple.

  4. NO YID (Frum or not) should go to the army until all current leaders and policies are changed.

    They put our soldiers in grave danger so not to hurt terror supporters and their families because of political correctness. They care more about the media than the lives of their brothers and sisters.

    When the folks and policies change then and only then can we debate who should or shouldn’t go to the army

  5. In Tanach, in Sefer Shmuel Aleph, chapter 18, verse 7,
    we see Shaul HaMelech and the General of Shaul’s Army,
    David ben Yishai. (This was before David became King.)

    They are both returning home from recent victory in war.

    We see the Jewish women publicly praising both of them:


    From this we see that the soldiers who fight our enemies
    deserve to be publicly praised and thanked.

    We also see from this that those soldiers who slay
    more of our enemies deserve even greater praise
    than those soldiers who only slay a few of our enemies.

  6. What is he saying? That the yashivos are making weak minded men? Maybe the yashivos need to re vamp there learning system if this is such a possibility? Also if the reason is that the guys learning are spiritual warrior then why do they have summer vacation. I get why is normal non war times but she they not be learning with vigour with no vacations as they too are holding up klal yisrael in this time of war?

  7. change in traditional Jewish societies happens from the bottom up. Eventually, the leaders adapt to the change.

  8. @lbj – on the contrary, anyone who does not feel the need to protect his fellow Jew from life-threatening danger lacks a hergesh for Yiddishkeit. After all, Kol Yisrael Areivim Zeh loZeh.

    @y2r – OK, so you’re proposing that the army go home and leave the field open to Hamas because you don’t agree with the current government’s actions as they try to balance military needs with the need for at least a certain amount of world support? Remember, Israel does, unfortunately, need to import weapons and raw materials for the weapons it manufactures itself – and if it becomes a full international pariah, it will not be able to do so. You or I may have a different view on where the balance should be – but the government has not been unreasonable in its decisions. Note that I say this based on what I hear from people serving on the ground in Gaza, where what’s actually happening is not completely aligned with what’s published. And I say this as one with skin in the game – several of my sons are serving, including in actual battle in Gaza. If you think you can do better – move to Israel and run for the Knesset.

    @justasec – you can go back further than Rav Shteinman Z”L. Rav Shach Z”L was known for chastising those boys who weren’t learning with “if you’re not learning, then go to the army!” The Chazon Ish Z”L is the one who struck the original deal that 400 Bachurim would have a ten-year deferral (not exemption) from serving so as to replenish the world of Torah – but all others would serve in the army.

    Note that the attitude of the government in the times of the Chazon Ish was much more anti-religious than it is today – there was an active attempt by many to make people less Frum. That is no longer the case – yet, the Chareidi attitude toward serving has moved to an extreme, with the reason constantly evolving as prior reasons given fall away. The bottom line is that today’s Chareidi leadership does not have confidence in what they’re teaching – to the point that they’re afraid that if their young men are exposed to something else, they’ll quickly give up the Chareidi hashkafa and way of life.

    an Israeli Yid

  9. anIsraeliYid, it’s tiring having you repeat the same point on any article that mentions the draft whilst ignoring all the previous rebuttals to your many comments. Enough now . Quit banging your tired lone drum.

  10. There is learning and there is learning. Months of non-stop mental gymnastics, which most bochrim won’t remember anyway, vs. learning al m’nas l’lamed v’la’asos is altogether different. In all my years of learning in major yeshivos there was never a push from the hanhalah to finish a mesechta. Not even the slightest encouragement to do so. Kvetching a machlokes between the Ramban and Baal HaMaor until all the juice ran out, and remembering little to nothing for the trouble, was considered learning. One thousand may enter a bais medrash and only one exits to become a posek is true enough, but that doesn’t exempt any bocher from completing Shas at least once in five or more years. This “shmira of Torah” that keeps getting repeated is perhaps more in the function rather than the form, unlike the sedarim of Litvishe yeshivos.

  11. A ‘Torah Hashkafa’ that blows away from a ruach metzuya is not Torah Hashkafa.
    If all the litvish world has to show for its decades of post war efforts is this sorry group of bocharim, then they are beyond help.
    Busha veCherpa.

  12. @Ash – I’ve yet to see a rebuttal. Screeds, yes – reasoned rebuttals, no. And the arguments against the draft are just as repetitive – and much less intellectually coherent.

    an Israeli Yid

  13. @anIsraeliYid I am in the Haredi world. I have friends who are in the hesder world. There is literally ZERO comparison between the two in the levels of kedusha, serious harevaneh in learning, pure Torah knowledge, both in depth and breadth, between the hesder “graduates” and the Haredi yungerleit. I estimate that most of the people who get into serious learning in the Dati Leumi crowed end up in the Haredi system.

    As for Hashkafeh: Why is that your model of what matters most? Do you know how many of them are learning Kabbala? Musar? Most people who are truly leaning don’t learn mussar on the side, they’re picking up Maharal, Ramchal, Arizal, Rav Moshe Shapiro, etc. They might not have a handle on why they’re non-Zionist, or why they wear white all day, but they don’t really care about that, they are working on improving their middos within the system. No need to second-guess the system all day long. (However, most of them do understand that, too.)

    As for how far back the rabbis go? Things have changed A LOT, and while I’m not saying both thing haven’t changed, but the army’s goal is to create an “Israeli” and not a “Jew.” If the government would create a system that makes sense that Haredim can actually be a part of it, then we can start talking. Until then, it’s “JOIN OUR SYSTEM” which is anti-Haredi, so why would Haredim join? To defend the anti-Haredi system? The conversation needs to be “How can we make it work?” not “It works, so you’re evil for not joining.”

    Nobody’s denying the life-saving work that’s being done with boots on the ground. But nobody can measure the life-saving work that’s being done by lomdei Torah either. Famous story how a gadol was giving honor at a dinner to a rich person who donated a lot of money to a hospital but the Bnei Yeshiva came and said they donated 10x more beds than you.

    You would like to believe the system is less anti-Jewish. It is. However, it’s not “pro-Haredi”, which means that people like you think that they understand Haredi needs, and want to be in control of us…. to make us less Haredi. You can’t have it both ways. You can’t send 30,000 Jews to jail either.

    So either make it work for us and encourage joining, or go home.

  14. @aymdock – I fail to understand why you feel the need to denigrate the learning level in Hesder Yeshivos (falsely, I might add – stop into Merkaz haRav, Gush, or Shaalavim at some point for proof) as part of your post – and the fact.that you are in the Chareidi world only means that you don’t have a true understanding of the Hesder world. I, on the other hand, attended Chareidi Yeshivos, and continue to have close family members who are significant figures in the world of Chareidi Yeshivos today – so I am not speaking from a lack of inside knowledge of both sides.

    I am absolutely certain that you are correct that there are those in the Chareidi Yeshiva world who are truly dedicated to learning Torah, including Gemara, Halacha, Mussaf, and all other areas of Torah – but that completely misses the point. An essential part of Yidishkeit is Kol Yisrael Arevim Zeh loZeh – and by not doing their part, the Chareidi Bnei Yeshiva are simply ignoring this principle. You can give me fine derashos from today to tomorrow about how really, the Chareidi learners are doing the real work – but that’s a poor help to the Hesder guy in Rafah whose been fighting for the last six months since there’s nobody to cover for him when he was supposed to go back to Yeshiva. I refer to people like my son, who when he was given three day’s leave from Gaza, spent one day at home sleeping – and the next two days in Yeshiva, before needing to close his Gemara, put his uniform back on, and head once more into Gaza.

    As to your final point on the army trying to make Chareidim less Frum or less Chareidi – the army has repeatedly tried to open a dialogue with Chareidi leadership as to how service in the army can be made more accommodating to the Chareidi lifestyle, but the Chareidi leadership has refused to engage – preferring to come up with ever-changing reasons to say “no” instead of figuring out how to get to “yes”. This intellectually dishonest refusal to engage is one of the main reasons the general population – including an increased portion of the DL community – is fed up and pushing for wholesale drafting of Chareidim. After all, if Chareidim are not willing to work in good faith toward an agreement, there’s no point in the other side trying to figure out how to accommodate them, is there?

    an Israeli Yod

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