Divrei Torah

The Divrei Torah in this section have been translated by Rav Reuven Ungar, Director of Alumni Affairs

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The Spiritual State of The State (of Israel )- Part 1

By: Rav Aryeh Hendler

Sgan Rosh Yeshiva, Rav Aryeh Hendler, engages contemporary issues. Note: A 12th grade student at a prestigious ulpana (yeshiva high school for women) asked the following question of Rav Hendler. As we study the sin of the spies, let us train ourselves to appreciate the Land of Israel , and what transpires in our Home .

Question: The current reality that Hashem reveals to us conflicts with the Torah. The government does not permit fulfillment of the command of settling The Land of Israel. The service of female soldiers (specifically in combat units) in the IDF creates difficulties for male soldiers. The state of education...

Where have we gone wrong? Perhaps we are not engaged in the dawn of the redemption (atchalta dege'ulah)? Perhaps the law of the land ( dina demalchuta dina) does not apply? Everybody is against us. All the values that we were raised upon are exploding in our faces. The People ..The Land .. The fulfillment of the Torah ..

What will be?

Response: I certainly understand the feelings that you express. If we were not to harness these negative emotions we would simply pick up and go elsewhere (does such a location exist?). At times I identify with the words of the prophet who wondered "who will establish for me a dwelling place in the desert?"

However, the truth is that what is transpiring here is completely different. Perhaps the facts that you mention are correct, but the conclusions, in my opinion, are not.

Initially I will relate to the specific points that you raise. You state that the government prevents the fulfillment of the command of settling The Land (Mitzvat Yishuv Ha'Aretz). The government (memshala) is not my address. The government currently governs what transpires in the State ( Medina ). My address is the State. Governments come and go. Perhaps we presently have a specific difficulty with the current government. This government is not eternal; it is highly likely that in the near future it will disband and the people will state that they desire an alternative.

"The government prevents the fulfillment of Mitzvat Yishuv Ha'Aretz"- this is an inaccurate statement! The government facilitates the fulfillment of this important mitzvah in many locations in The Land of Israel. Yet, simultaneously, it intends to destroy the settlement of the Land in other regions. Although this is a confusing situation, it does not constitute an absolute annulment of Mitzvat Yishuv Ha'Aretz. Thanks G-d, after 2000 years of exile we have the opportunity to settle The Land. Granted, not all is accomplished with ease; nevertheless, something is happening! Not all is for naught; rather there are barriers to progress in certain locations. One must view the full picture and to put things in perspective; despite the pain generated by the planned uprooting ("disengagement").

It is correct that male soldiers are subject to difficulties due to the presence in combat units of female soldiers. However, we should not be oblivious to the great progress that has transpired in the IDF regarding the service of religious soldiers. The original state of affairs was not superior to the current situation. Yeshivot Hesder- and all that accompanies this concept- were non-existent in the initial era of the IDF.

An irreversible fact has transpired; the religious community serves in the army. This necessitates the authorities to provide adequate solutions for difficulties that arise in the IDF. A commission has been appointed to coordinate the inclusion of women soldiers in combat units without tampering with the sensitivities of religious soldiers. I hope that the commission will succeed in its mission.

As far as education is concerned, I notice only improvement in our educational networks. The national religious camp-in all of its various streams- has established a powerful alternative to the secular educational system. This alternative provokes non-religious individuals to contemplate enabling their children to receive religious, or at least traditional education.

In this realm, the yeshiva high schools (yeshivot tichoniot) have earned a great achievement. Who were the parents of the children who presently learn and have previously st udi ed in yeshivot tichoniot? Were they uniformly Chardalnikim (Chareidi Le'umi- Stridently meticulous in halacha, with strong national feelings)? No. The majority of the mothers of these students did not cover their hair; the fathers did not exactly pray thrice daily and study Daf Yomi. The yeshivot tichoniot generated a spiritual revolution in our education; despite the criticism that I and others have regarding them.

We must not be impatient. We must analyze the sprouts that we observe in the field and recognize that we are involved in a process that will yield greater developments than what we have been privileged to realize until now.

Be'ezrat Hashem next week we will explore the issue of atchalta dege'ulah.


Categorized under: 1: Machshava > General
2: Parshat Shavua > Shlach Lecha
Uploaded: 8/31/2005 6:09:16 PM