Friday, January 25, 2013

Torah protects...

Via Rationalist Judaism,
In this week's Mishpachah magazine, editor Rabbi Moshe Grylak writes about why charedim in Israel don't serve in the army (online here). I drew upon various blog posts that I have written and put together a response that you can download at this link. It's a PDF file, so you can print it out and share it on Shabbos with people who read Mishpachah.
A possibly relevant source is this Yerushalmi in Masechet Terumot, 8:4:
רבי אימי איתצד בסיפסיפה אמר ר' יונתן יכרך המת בסדינו אמר ר' שמעון בן לקיש עד דאנא קטיל אנא מתקטיל אנא איזיל ומשיזיב ליה בחיילא אזל ופייסון ויהבוניה ליה אמר לון ואתון גבי סבון והוא מצלי עליכון אתון גבי ר' יוחנן אמר לון מה דהוה בלבכון איעבד ליה יתעבוד לון ימטא לההוא עמא לא מטון אפיפסירוס עד דאזלון כולהון
My translation:
Rabbi Ami was captured by bandits. Rabbi Yonatan said, the dead one will be wrapped in his sheets. {that is, there is no way to save him.} 

Rabbi Shimon ben Lakish said, 'I will kill or be killed' (lit: Until I kill (or) I will be killed. i.e. I will try to save him, by killing all his captors, or will die in the process. We know from elsewhere that Rabbi Shimon ben Lakish was a bandit, skilled in weapons, before he repented and became a scholar.) I will go and save him by force. 

He went and persuaded them (convinced them to turn R Ami over, perhaps with threats) and they gave him over to him. 

He (Resh Lakish) said to them (the bandits) go to the Old One (Rabbi Yochanan) and he will pray for you. They went to Rabbi Yochanan (note, this is *not* Rabbi Yonatan of before, unless it is a typo.) 

He (R Yochanan) said to them, 'that which was in your hearts to do to him should come to pass on you.' They did not reach Apipsiros before they all went (died). 
Note that neither Rabbi Yonatan nor Resh Lakish simply sat down and studied. They didn't have as much bitachon as modern-day chareidim.

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