Dodging War
Rabbi Reuven Mann Dean - Masoret Institute
As an orthodox Jew I am totally opposed to exemptions for yeshiva
students.This policy has no basis in the Tanach and talmudic sources.
Historically, the greatest Jewish spiritual leaders eg. Moses, Joshua, David
etc. were also great warriors. David's eulogy of Saul and Jonathan extols
their courage and fighting prowess. In Deuteronomy the Torah lists those who
are exempt from war. It does not mention a yeshiva student or
Torah scholar. Moreover even the exemptions listed apply only to an optional
war not one of self defense which everyone is biblically obliged to engage in.
One who refrains from partaking in a war for the defense of the Jewish people
violates a Torah command.The current exemption policy, in addition, only
contributes to the hostility between the religious and secular camps. The non
religious have a legitimate gripe: why should we and our children bear
the risk and burden of military service while the religious get a free
ride.The illegitimate use of religion as a means of dodging one's
responsibility to the state brings dishonor to Torah and arouses a general
animosity to Judaism. Those who profess to live according to the strictest
requirements of Torah should be role models admired and emulated by all.
Willingness to serve in defense of Israel would be a monumental step in the
right direction.