Rabbi Gershon Edelstein
Rabbi Gershon Edelstein Photo by Yaakov Naumi/Flash90

Rabbi Gershon Edelstein, a leading Lithuanian-haredi rabbi, responded to Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman's (Yisrael Beytenu) decision to change the eligibility criteria for daycare subsidies by urging his followers to learn Torah.

"To our great anguish, there are public figures who have a goal of making economic decrees against those who busy themselves with Torah," Rabbi Edelstein began.

"There are those who do not understand that it is the merit of Torah which protects all of Israel. They don't understand this, and they want to make economic decrees so that people won't be able to learn, so that they will go work."

"But everything is in the hands of Heaven, and it is all dependent upon our merits," Rabbi Edelstein emphasized, urging "those who are busy with Torah," to "busy themselves with Torah as they should, such as learning the laws of Torah study, engaging in it day and night, each person more or less according to his ability."

He also urged "those who work to earn a livelihood" to "busy themselves with Torah as much as they are able to, each person according to his ability, but according to the laws of Torah study, to learn Torah according to your ability."

"If all of Israel, the public who learns Torah, if they learned Torah as they should, as the laws of Torah study dictate - then there would not be an issue of decrees," he concluded. "This is because 'those who attempt to purify themselves are helped from Heaven,' and there is help from Heaven that there will be no decrees."

"If we want to prevent decrees against those who learn Torah, the only thing, the advice, is that we need these merits that our Torah study will be strengthened."