Tuesday, April 01, 2014


The Season of our Redemption, Chaos and Culture War

by Reb Akiva @ Mystical Paths

The season of our redemption has arrived, happy Rosh Chodesh Nissan – the month of geulah!

As the Fed pumps in the U.S. (free money for all the bankers!  who said Democrats don’t believe in supply side economics?), the world has quickly descended into multi-polar chaos with EVERYONE lying to the cameras (Russia announces they’ve stabilized the situation by pulling back 500 troops after stationing 40,000 on Ukraine’s border.)  Since such techniques are now endorsed by the U.S. administration (“you can keep your health plan”), it’s hard to criticize.

One wonders how in a generation of six sigma quality controls the results of politicians are never measured or taken into account. 

In Israel, the government, under demand by the Supreme Court that arbitrarily canceled the last draft law as “unfair” (it is apparently “fair” for 9 judges to capriciously decide what is fair and equal versus the people’s 120 elected parliamentarians), has completed the new “fair burden” draft and national service law.  Whether the new law is fair or not (and it does not include any requirements for Israel’s Arab citizens), the immediate results are in: a 70% drop in charedi applications for national service.  While numbers for charedi enlistment have not been released, the IDF did announce they were suspending the creation of a 2nd charedi infantry battalion due to lack of charedi soldiers to fill it.

The inanity of this is that PRIOR to the start of this political action, charedi national service and enlistment was already 75% of the way to the goals of the shiny “fair” new law. 

The whole approach would be CRAZY if one assumed the politicians were trying to fix a societal problem.  If one views it as politicians pandering to their constituency (by hurting the other guy), it makes perfect sense.  Politics is never straight and always dirty (Pirke Avos says the same, and that’s from 2,200 years ago!  More technology, yes, but people iz still people.)

Not to be outdone on being stupid, the charedi response has been to increase non-compliance in minor bureaucratic procedures that have serious penalties and no downside, then throw nationwide protests when someone is called on it.  Today’s example is a man who ignored 3 draft notices.  The notices are to come, have your health checked (and be excused from the army if you don’t pass), do some basic testing (and be excused from the army if you don’t pass), and to apply for a delay and/or exemption (which may or may not be granted depending on the reason and the army’s implementation of the draft law changes).  Since the army doesn’t want to take people that may become exempt according to the new law, for which all the regulations aren’t written yet, ANYONE who applied for a delay or exemption was put into the “pending” pile – which has been building up for over a year so far, and WAS NOT DRAFTED.  If by chance they hit age 22 while pending, according to the new law they are now automatically exempted.  Mazel tov, you’re out.

Our protagonist of the day ignored his 3 draft notices, and the army ignored him for 4 years!  He received a final “arrive or we’re coming after you notice”, so after consulting with his Rebbe, who told him to go but not cooperate and speak only Yiddish (and take his tallis and tefillin, as he’ll probably be arrested), he arrived at the draft office.  Speaking only Yiddish didn’t work as one of the young ladies in the draft office spoke Yiddish (it is Israel after all, and plenty of people have Yiddish speaking elderly family members).  After refusing to speak to her and refusing to cooperate, he’s off to army prison.

The good news, being 23, he’d have been exempt from service according to the new law IF HE BOTHERED TO GO TO THE OFFICE AND APPLY FOR THE EXEMPTION.  So he’ll probably get a military judge, who will yell at him in Yiddish and give him 15-30 days in military prison (meaning it’s not criminals, it’s misfits) and then be thrown out with his exemption that he never filed for.  He’ll be received back into his community as a hero and get brachos from his Rebbe.  And for that month, the army will be obligated to sent his wife and children a support check – which may exceed his normal paycheck as a (religious) school teacher.  Sadly he may or may not get to spend Passover at home, though the prisons sometimes do give furloughs for holidays.  If not, he’ll have a story for generations about how he resisted the evil zionist regime.

No doubt there will be street protests blocking traffic as I try to drive home tonight.  Because momma always said stupid is as stupid does. 

In Russia, Prime Minister Putin has vowed to defend against any anti-semitism, and is going to take over some former Soviet areas to defend against “nationalists, neo-Nazis, Russophobes and anti-Semites.”  Poland, having recently banned kosher-slaughter (saying it’s not anti-semitism, it’s animal rights – while the non-kosher slaughter houses kill their cows with pneumatic pistons – because a hit to the head is civilized while a slice to the carotid artery is not), is worried that Russia may attack. 

The Palestinians have scored a diplomatic coup, having gotten the World Soccer Federation to threaten to ban Israel for not giving Palestinian soccer players first class bus tickets from their towns to Israel’s Ben Gurion airport and shopping discounts at the Israeli duty free shops at the airport.  FIFA is reportedly particularly upset that Israel only allowed enough concrete into Gaza to build 2 attack tunnels into Israel and rebuild the missile silos under the FIFA soccer field, not leaving enough concrete to fully rebuild the stadium seating.  FIFA has stated the situation is intolerable.

Not to worry, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is returning to Israel to push the peace process this week (more traffic jams for Akiva as they close the highway to prevent a Palestinian terror attack on Mr. Kerry’s motorcade), and is bringing the Palestinians more balls.


  1. To Mystical Paths blogger,

    i was concerned about your calling the actions of the Chareidim "stupid" when the young men are doing what their Rabbis told them to do. You are in effect calling the Rabbis stupid which is clearly a severe violation of Halacha as we are to respect our leaders even to the point that if they tell us it is Wednesday and we know it is Monday we are to believe them and do as they say.
    I am not saying this in anger, rather in fear that you could say such a thing about our holy sages.
    R. Sharvit

  2. Rivka,

    The majority of the gedolim (with only 1 exception) instructed their talmidim to follow the bureaucratic procedures up to the last step of showing up for induction. And none of the gedolim instructed their talmidim to go protest every arrest for not following procedures.

    This case is similar to a young woman, when any woman can get an exemption by simply going to 2 offices (once to the rabbinute and once to the army) and declaring herself wanting a religious exemption, who ignored all draft notices, did not get an exemption, and then got arrested 2 years later at passport control at the airport trying to fly out with her new husband.

    People are not following their gedolim, they're ignoring it completely. And that's stupid.

  3. By "following instructions up to the last step" they will prepare themselves for destruction.
    The Shoa was facilitated by naive, compliant Judenraten instructing their followers to "go along to get along."
    Instead of complying, people need to organize and prepare to resist and defend themselves.


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