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Plesner Ponderings: Draft Haredim, or Not?

By Rabbi Lazer Brody
7/5/2012, 12:07 AM

Politicians have no emuna: they attribute anything good in our country to themselves, and anything less than desirable to their opposition.

The Haredi politicians, at least, should know that everything comes from Hashem, including the termination of the Tal Law (which enables military deferments for Torah students) and the Plesner Committee, which despite being disbanded, is calling for the draft of Haredim into the army. It's not Plesner, Bibi, and Mofaz that are clamoring to draft Haredim, it's Hashem. Yet, rather than stopping and pondering what Hashem is trying to tell us by way of the calls to draft, the Haredi political parties are chasing the proverbial stick rather than looking at who is wielding it. That's befitting a cocker spaniel, but not a person with emuna.

Why the ruckus? The Mishna tells us straight out who will be drafted and who will not. "Rabbi Nechunya ben Hakanah says: Whoever accepts the yoke of Torah upon himself will be spared the yoke of government and worldly affairs" (Avot 3.5). That's a hard spiritual fact. If the Torah learners as a whole were really learning Torah - as a "yoke" and not as the easy way out - Hashem wouldn't be threatening them with the draft.

Of my three sons, my first two served in IDF special forces units. My third son wanted to learn Torah full-time. I agreed, on condition that he learn with the same dedication - mesirut nefesh - that his older brothers served in their dangerous units. As someone who is every bit as familiar with the inside of a halftrack or chopper as I am with the inside of a Yeshiva, I can objectively say that if a person isn't doing his part to protect our beloved homeland by learning Torah in total immersion around the clock, than he should at least be manning a duty station in the IDF around the clock. Our enemies - the Hamas, Hizbulla, and the Iranians - are super dedicated. To defeat them, we must be more dedicated than they are.

Forget about the easy life. The Gemara tells us that three things don't come easy - Torah, the world to come, and the Land of Israel. We have to sweat for all three. If a person in Israel is living an easy life, he's not doing his job. Those Yeshiva guys who really learn with emuna and with all their hearts will continue learning. But the others who are looking for an easy life can expect draft notices, unless they do heavy-weight teshuva and start learning with day and night dedication too.

Remember, the draft notices are not from Plesner or Bibi, they're from Hashem. Let's stop whining and get to work. It's no-nonsense Torah or basic training. Choose whatever you want.

Torah and IDF, hand-in-hand Emuna Outreach, www.lazerbrody.net??