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.]