by Reb Akiva’s Air Force Daughter @ Mystical Paths
This morning I went on the web site Kikar Shabbat, one of the big gist online charedi (ultra-orthodox) web sites.
The top headline is was gedolim (Torah leaders) crying out that ben Torah (every Jewish Torah scholar) must be willing to go to jail with mesiras nefesh (self sacrifice) to avoid Israeli army service.
And me? I just sigh sadly, what a Chilul Hashem (desecration of G-d’s name).
For sure not every charedi bocher (ultra-orthodox young man) is ready to enlist, not at all. And for sure sadly the IDF, the Israeli Defense Force, isn't ready to handle to them.
Yet this is not generations ago where the Tzar’s army stole Jewish children for 20 years to de-judaize Russia. Nor is it the ultra-secular zionist Israeli army of the 50’s-80’s, where religious Jews were abused during their service.
I did army service, going through no frum (Jewish religious) program. The Israeli army of today is not the one of the past. It’s not perfect, but religious observance rights are available and enforced. (Yes one has to assert their rights.)
At the same time I see the Israeli government sending a wake up call to the ultra-orthodox world, one the charedi world is still trying to ignore or push aside BUT CAN NO LONGER IGNORE.
See, we the chardim are no longer the little brother, the tiny minority. We can no longer can just sit on the side and just take. We must learn to function outside of our little world and box that we have created for protection of what has been done to us in the past. The minority is on it’s way to being a majority, and is now already a significant force.
I will not say it is מתאים for every bocher to go into the IDF - but could the IDF take some serious steps and the rabbonim (the rabbis) can as well.
Instead as I see it, they are making a Chillul Hashem, literally making a joke of themselves.
It is so sad to me. And (sarcastically) perfect for the 3 weeks.
(G-d willing) my children and my children’s children will do Israeli army service because if we don’t, who will?
I want to live … and live in the Land of Israel. That requires that we protect this Land and protect ourselves.
When I served, on Israel’s largest air force base, I met religious and ultra-orthodox Jews from Bnei Brak, Ramat Beit Shemesh, Jerusalem and elsewhere. (I spent one Shabbos with the base rabbi’s sister in Bnei Brak.) They came from Torah homes, they davened (prayed) 3 times a day, ate glatt kosher food, had time to learn Torah and go to base shiurim (Torah lessons)…and protect their land. They were able to learn and DO.
How dare the gedolim who, because of people like me (Israeli Defense Forces – Air Force) and my brother (Israeli Defense Forces – Army Nachal Charedi) are able to sit and learn safely all day, with no one shooting at them, say no to any army service.
Would they prefer gunshots ringing out on their neighborhoods? Rockets landing on their yeshivot? Bombs going off in their supermarkets?
I don’t want a life like that, so I’ll learn to shoot in a skirt (exactly what I did, the first air force girl to qualify on an M-16 in a floor length skirt). I’ll work in the heat and in the dirt to keep the planes defending our lives in the air. My brother will sweat through the summer, guarding and defending even on Shabbos Kodesh (as required by the Shulchan Aruch), Fast Days and Yom Tovim. And knowing our lives are literally on the line… for our families, for the Jewish people, for our Land.
That’s mesiras nefesh (self sacrifice)!
I’m furious at the gedolim!
I put my life on the line for you! And I’m willing to go back and do it again if needed!
And you have the audacity to tell me and my brother that you’ll have the mesiras nefesh to sit in jail to avoid the army? That’s not mesiras nefesh, that’s being selfish. It’s only caring about your needs, not thinking about others.
We need Torah scholars, we need moral authority in our lives. But a stint of army service is no longer incompatible with that. And further, if Israel is going to be the land of the religious Jew, who is going to defend them?
I thought about my needs when I went into the army, but I also thought about the needs of the rabbim - of the many. And the many need protection everyday, so they don't get killed – and our enemies are literally trying to kill us every single day.
So much more so during the 3 weeks. How lucky are we to be able to live here in the Land of Israel and to be able to protect it. How our brothers and sisters during the time of the Beis Hamikdash would be crying right now to us…
About Achdus (Unity). About having the ABILITY to defend ourselves, what a blessing!
A blessing not to be ignored.