Wednesday, July 11, 2012


That’s NOT Self Sacrifice!

by Reb Akiva’s Air Force Daughter @ Mystical Paths

(We’ve previously written about Reb Akiva’s Air Force Daughter here.)

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.


  1. Excuse me but do you think that the Gedolim are idiots? That they don't know about what goes on in the army? There is no reason why those who are serious about learning should be in the army. They are doing a service for klal yisrael as well. Your own brother had a horrible experience.

    Maybe if the army would sit with the Rabbanim and work out what would be a suitable situation then it would be totally different.

    Please don't disrespect the Gedolim just because you and some others have had good experiences.

    There is a need for full time learners just like there is a need for soldiers. There is no reason why chareidim have to be enlisted en masse and not on a case by case basis.

    Just the other day there was an article on Israel national news how soldiers were forced to be mechalel shabbos in the IDF prison. These things can NEVER happen in a Jewish army.

    If you look through the Torah there have been armies but the armies were run 100 percent according to the Torah . Take a good look at Sefer Yehoshua , perek Aleph , Pasuk Zayin..

    Also, it is against halacha for a woman to use a gun.

    When the religious will be the ones controlling the army then it is a different situation.

    I also suggest that you take a look at Megillas Esther. We didn't defeat Persia (ancient Iran) through the might of an army but through Teshuva and Tefilla.

    There are valid concerns about the army. Don't dismiss them.

  2. Anonymous - I have no idea how well informed the gedolim are. But I have plenty of reason to suspect they are NOT well informed and are heavily manipulated by the askanim. (Example.)

    NOBODY said there is no need for full time learners. But 100% of the community? EVERYONE knows that 100% are NOT actually learning full time.

    How about 50%? I'm certain there's 25% that are real, serious and that we desperately need for the future of yiddishkeit.

    Why can't a gadol sit down with the army and give them a straight set of requirements for that other 50%? And then commit that if the requirements are met, they serve.

    What happens when charedim are 50% of the country? We downsize the army by 1/2? Do you really think that will be ok?

  3. Words from the heart!

    I really wonder how a true Gadol would respond to this.

    In my opinion, its time for the Haredi to make a public offer to enlist en-masse - take control of the situation.

    As for the seculars - "Be careful what you ask for, you might just get it all."

  4. Air Force Daughter, anachnu matzdi'im lach! (We salute you!)

  5. I agree with you Akiva. Read an article by Isi Leibler in the JPost today and he set out the situation pretty good. Some of the Gedolim are congnizant of what needs to be done and have begun taking steps in that direction, but there is unfortunately a shadow of the "Spies" that is with us today and they are the zealots against everything the zionists do. Because of the way the Israeli frum boys are brought up, they need some Torah learning before even entering the o/s world, otherwise I think they would abandon their lifestyle out of sheer lack of motivation.

    I see this coming from Shamayim, as well as the opposition to the Chief Rabbi's position. There are Jews out there that know nothing haval, and with a more inclusive Israel it might get their attention. As Reb Gutman so amazingly does.

    PS I think your daughter is brave, and doing what she thinks is the right thing to do. Hashem should bless her and keep her safe for her future husband and her own family.

  6. Kol ha kavod! Well done and well said my dear, Hashem should protect you and all of Klal Israel xx

  7. The Jewish people have had lots of tzoros when we did NOT follow the tzaddikim of the generation.

    Reb Avika and family, as Chabadnikim you were willing to follow the instructions of the Rebbi from Chabad, ztz'l. Because he was a fitting leader, not because the newspapers called him a godol.

    We should all ignore the newspapers, media, and politics, and all of the sheker around them.

    Yes we need to use our heads, but that includes for each one of us to find a godol we want to follow, and doing so. I want to follow Moshe Rabeinu, and not Korach, even if Korach has good arguments. And don't forget Korach accused Moshe Rabbeinu of manipulating things improperly.

    Akiva, no one is asking you to agree with every godol. But to say I dont't know, and then insult them, does not seem to be proper.

    To the first Anonymous, yasher koach.

  8. I think I fully agree with 'daughter' but I also understand a thing (not two) about psychology in that if someone is going to be put up against the wall, be prepared for that person to be ultra-defensive or ultra-aggressive.

    The current noise is about media and politics, not about integration or sharing the burden. The Charedim originally did not want to speak Hebrew, but they slowly accepted it entirely. The same thing is happening in the army. Moshe Yaalon said that five years ago 500 Haredim were drafted, and last year over 2000.

    So the media raises a buzz and makes it seem as if this is the most important issue - subsequently forcing the politicians to react and get invovled, and unfortunately some of them are not thinking about anything other than making more noise.

    I do accept that the askanim surrounding the gedolim have their own agendas, but I also don't blame the gedolim for putting up the wall so that they start at a higher part for negotiations.

  9. Need for Ahavas ChinamJuly 12, 2012 10:44 PM

    Yes we have to put our effort into Guarding Eretz Yisroel, however as with all efforts/Hishtadlus in life, we need to follow the guidance of Torah. (And this is each to their own). However based on what you have said as couple of weeks ago about the horrors that your son/brother went through, it would seem the effort would be to lean away from joining, but again each to their own proper Hishtadlus.

    Also we have to remember that our effort has Nothing to do with the outcome, Our effort is only what G-d asks of us (for us to grow in this world) as spoken of in “The Duties of the Heart”. So therefore in actuality what the Army does in their Hishtadlus to protect EY does not actually effect the outcome, hence the differing opinion of the Gedolim.

    The Charedim actually had their own army in EY, before the State of Israel was founded, as that was the proper Hishtadlus at that time (and of course run by Torah guidance). However the fear of the Gedolim with the the new army, is the reality that it is not being run under Torah guidance and thereby being a situation that could likely be quite damaging to impressionable young men, as any time a person goes out into the ‘real’ world (world based on Western values). Also, based on the Hishtadlus issue, apparently Torah guidance feels that it is a better Hishtadlus (and protection for EY) for the men to be learning, then to be working or in the army. This also is the reality in the USA. But again, each to their own.

    That said, I believe we have to ALL step back and realize that Nobody can judge others on their actions, (until proven guilty, again based on Torah guidance).

    I personally believe that this is the test, that is being put in front of us (actually before all of Bnei Yisroel, the Whole world has been taking about this!) during these 3 weeks, a time which is auspicious and demanded of us to work on our Ahavas Chinam. Therefore of course the Yeser Hara is working very hard to stop that (that is his job!), and unfortunately, (but hopefully only apparently) he does seem to be succeeding.

    Who knows? Maybe if we really get our act together we will allow Moshiach to revealed through this Tisha Bav, if we have to wait so long.

    Just remember the Y”H is not evil, he is only giving us tests, as his job, to help us grow. And we know that G-d will never give us a test that we can’t handle. So in essence we can pass it, if we put in our effort (hishtadlus).

    P.S. Akiva, thanks for the great blog, I read it all the time.

    May we only have success in our Hishtadlus!


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