Edah Haredit Will Not Pray For The IDF

The JPost has picked up on an earlier Ynet story about haredim canceling vacations in order to study more during the war, with the idea that the additional study and prayer helps the IDF. But the Post’s Matthew Wagner fleshes out the story a bit more than Ynet, and notes this at the article’s end:

Rabbi Moshe Sternbuch, head of the Edah Haredit’s Rabbinical Court told The Jerusalem Post that it was an inopportune time to go on vacation. He called for all yeshiva students to continue to learn and pray.

Many yeshivot that belong to the Edah Haredit do not go on vacation after Tisha Be’av anyway.

Sternbuch declined to say whether a special prayer should be said for the success of IDF soldiers.

Shmuel Poppenheim, editor of the weekly Ha’edah, the mouthpiece of the Edah haredit, a virulently anti-Zionist group of haredim, many of whom continuing centuries-old haredi communities that preceded the establishment of the state of Israel, said that mass prayer vigils had been held for the past week.

“We say Psalms and special prayers for peace and for the protection of all Jews everywhere,” said Poppenheim.

“But we do not pray for the IDF.”

Poppenheim explained that theologically it was problematic to pray specifically for the success of “Zionist soldiers”.

We don’t pray for the IDF because it causes a blurring of vision as if we were advocating a body that is not based on Torah ideals. People might get the wrong impression.

“But we do pray for the safety of every Jew including a Jewish soldier.”

Of course, the IDF (made up of Jews and some non-Jews, by the way) is all that physically stands between Hamas, Hezbolla, Islamic Jihad, etc., and Poppenheim’s pimply haredi butt. But no way no how will our dear haredi anti-Zionist brethren admit this, even now, even on Erev Tisha B’Av, even in a time of war.

The Post also notes this:

But these [rabbis and yeshiva heads] were also concerned that a mass exodus from the yeshivot to vacation sites at a time of war would result in a backlash of resentment among secular and modern religious Israelis who serve in the army.

“Imagine secular Israelis’ reaction if a group of yeshiva students go for a hike some place up North and get stranded like they do every year, and the IDF is called in to bail them out,” said one yeshiva head, quoted in the haredi weekly Bakehila.

“Image the desecration of God’s name.”

Also imagine the financial backlash.

The Post points out that Rabbi Ovadia Yosef was the first to call for cancelled vacations and increased study and prayer. That call seems to have been based entirely on the obligation of haredim to do what they can to (spiritually) support the IDF and residents of the north. There seems to have been no need to point out the hillul HaShem aspects of haredim vacationing while their same aged compatriots are fighting a dangerous and bloody war. Ashkenazi haredim seem to need the extra push.

Earlier discussion about London’s (Ashkenazi) haredim and the war is here.

[Hat tip: The Beadle.]



Filed under Haredim, Israel

15 responses to “Edah Haredit Will Not Pray For The IDF

  1. The Beadle

    I think we must give credit where its due.

    They are staying true to their party line of defending the country by learning and saying Tehillim. Whether or not one agrees that this helps the soldiers, they are least not saying that its nothing to do with them.

    I too was slightly bothered by the PR reason given, but as, in the end, they are doing what they do best, and not shirking what they consider their responsibility, I cannot find it in my heart to be too critical.

    The fact is they are saying Tehillim and davenning for the soliders and all our other fellow Jews who are in trouble. It is a bit much to expect them to become Zionists as well!

  2. avrohom


    please be very careful and do not go back to the old ways. Try to understand that you should point the positive which in this case is obvious that in general most and the majority of majority of charedim do empathize with the soldiers and do think that in their way they are helping in the best way they could.

  3. MP

    Like all Jews, haredim are praying for the soldiers, but will simply not admit it for fear of sounding ‘too zionistic’. I am sure if an acceptable formula could be found to name the soldiers as ‘fellow Jews who risk their lives to defend the nation that dwells in Zion’, all haredim (except the mosrim from NK) would have no ideological probem with offering a special prayer to that. The only thing that stops them is that it may be ‘look like’ as a prayer for ‘the medina’ or that they would be creating ‘new prayers’. And for sure they do not want to use terms like ‘TZAHAL’ or ‘medinat israel’… Even Chabad will not do that. But Chabad has no problem identifying totally with the army, usually as ‘Jewish soldiers’.

    Anyways… in these trying days we all need to look for the good in our fellow Jews. May G-d protect the lives of Jews everywhere, specifically in Erezt Yisrael. And may He watch over every Jewish soldier! May they all come back to their families unharmed and victorious! May these days of sorrow be transformed into days of unbridled joy with the coming of our righteous moshiach! Amen.

  4. Anonymous

    In the spirit of repentance, reconciliation and tisha beAv, why don’t you at least change the misleading, sensationalistic headline of this post ?

  5. Anonymous

    why don’t you at least change the misleading, sensationalistic headline of this post ?

    actually why not take the spider webs from our eyes?
    what penitence and reconciliation? who should repent ?

  6. Franji

    it seems chareidis that don’t (pray for the IDF soldiers) include pure anash minyans of chabad.
    chabad led hedyotot and baalei tshuva minyans however do sometimes recite the prayer if requested by vocal congregants.
    to “make up” for not saying the prayers, chabadniks in avreikhim costumes, take every opportunity for photo op’s hoping on tanks and armoured personel carriers, and using the photos for collections, demonstrating that they “care” so to speak.

  7. NoDemonstrations

    Many poskim say that it is improper to add any tefilos to the siddur. Chabad minyonim are saying tehillim as are many other charedi shuls. The only time you’ll find a “Chabad” minyan saying a recently composed tefilo is if only the rav is Chabad and the shul davens whatever nusach was used in the shul before he took over (as a paid employee or unpaid volunteer and not as a shaliach).

  8. Neo-Conservaguy

    “The only time you’ll find a “Chabad” minyan saying a recently composed tefilo is…”

    Remember that statement this Friday evening when you are singing Lecha Dodi – composed 1000 years after the close of the latter talmud – and then get back to us.

  9. Nachum Lamm

    Um, hasn’t Chabad added the line “Yechi” as a standard part of their teffilah?

  10. NoDemonstrations

    By recently I mean long after the siddur was standardized. And no, yechi is not standard in any but a few nutter minyanim, nor is it a part of any tefilah but just said at the end even by the diehards.

  11. lev

    “few nutter minyonim”?, ie. the main shul of 770 and they dance after the lecho dodi! part of the tfilah.

  12. NoDemonstrations

    And in whose hands is 770 right now? Many people don’t daven there because of the nutters who set the tone, and many of those who still do are there because of what 770 was and should be.

  13. Nachum

    Well, it was an abortion clinic…

    Seriously, you’re just redefining terms so you come out on top. “Oh, those aren’t really Chabad…”

  14. NoDemonstrations

    They are of course Chabad but the silent majority is not behind them. Every community has its loudmouths who sound off in public but in reality represent nothing. The silent majority has either left 770 until order is restored, goes there out of tradition or inertia anyway, or we’re keeping up the 33 small shuls in CH.

  15. Thanks for posting this, I used some of the info in a D’var Torah on Shoftim regarding who is exempt from going to war, you can see it at:
    Reb Barry

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