Above: Rabbi Aharon Leib Steinman
I don't have the time to translate the Hebrew sections of this now, but you should be able to get a pretty clear idea of what these haredi rabbis are saying anyway.
Yeshiva World writes:
Recent weeks have been full of tragedy R”L in Eretz Yisrael as so many young people and so much tragedy has befallen so many families in the chareidi community.
This compels us to seek advice from Gedolei Hador Shlita in an effort to respond properly during this most difficult time.
The list in too long, and it includes;
· Young Esther Taub from Betar Illit
· Avrich Rav Yosef Kaufman from Ashdod, who is survived by his rebitzen and 11 children
· Mrs. Batsheva Baumel who is survived by her husband and five children, the youngest being 9-months’old
· Rav Matisyahu Safrin, son of the Admor of Kumrana (קומרנא).
· Avreich Rav Gavriel Mizrachi from Elad, who is survived by his wife and six children
· Avreich Rav Yaakov Alison, the father of an infant
· HaGaon Rav Moshe Yehuda Beigel, Mora D’asra of the chareidi kehilla in Afula
· David Freichlich, 3
· Tova Brandsdorfer from Ramat Elchanan in Bnei Brak, 14
· Yisrael Weingarten from Beit Illit, who was run over by a vehicle
· Racheli Stein 4,
· Infant Moshe Abutbul, 4-months-old
· Tehila Ochayon, 6, from Rehovot (Drowned in a hotel pool in Yerushalayim)
· Eliyahu Refael Trab, 10, from Ramot
· Efrat Trab, 15-months
· A Gerre talmid yeshiva in Rishon L’Tzion who fell from a height
· Margalet Gefner from Modi’in Illit
· Shimon Moiel, 4
· Rav Yitzchak Avitan, 48, survived by his rebitzen and 5 children
· Esther Aryeh of Netivot (died from swine flu)
· Mrs. Sara Asfiss, from Ashdod, leaving 11 children
The above is a partial list R”L!
Maran HaGaon HaRav Aharon Yehuda Leib Shteinman Shlita in recent days spoke out, stating “People are looking for segulos [lit. "signs;" a religious action, like reciting a certain Torah verse a certain number of times while giving coins to charity, that is meant to rectify a physical problem or get the practitioner something s/he desires] to save themselves. One does not have to look. Chazal [the Sages of the Talmud] teach us that Torah protects us and saves us…
“אנשים מחפשים סגולות להינצל, לא צריך לחפש, חז”ל לימדו אותנו שתורה מגנא ומצלא, אפילו בעידניה דלא עסיק ביה, וכמובן לא כשזה בא מביטול תורה אלא שעסוק בדברים הנצרכים.
“אבל צריך לדעת שתורה מגנא ומצלא זה רק אם התורה היא יחד עם מידות טובות כי הלומד תורה ללא מידות טובות זה פגם בעצם לימוד התורה והכלי ללימוד התורה זה מידות טובות וצריך לבלום את הפה ולא להיכשל ח”ו בלשון הרע או בדיבור אסור”.
Maran the Rosh Yeshiva adds “But one must realize that the protection of the Torah is only when the Limud HaTorah [Torah study] is accompanied by good midos [good character traits]. For limud hatorah without the midos is an affront to the limud and the vessel to limud Torah is good midos. And to close one’s mouth and not to chas v’sholom engage in loshon hora and prohibited speech”.
In a schmooze given by Ponevezh Rosh Yeshiva HaGaon HaRav Gershon Edelstein Shlita, he explains “עת צרה ליעקב” and we of late have experienced much tzoros, many attacks and murders along with other tragedies רחמנא ליצלן. There is no doubt this is all Hashgacha Pratis on each and every individual as the Rambam writes in Parshas Bo, ”שאם יעשה המצוות יצליחנו שכרו ואם יעבור עליהם יכריתנו עונשו”
Rav Edelstein adds that if there is disaster, this is a sign there is sinning and the one and only remedy is teshuva and improving one’s midos. The Rosh Yeshiva adds that clearly this is not the aveira of an individual as the entire tzibur is being punished. However, he points out that we do see a case in which the tzibur is punished for the sins of an individual (Sanhedrin 44a) as it is explained Yair ben Menashe was killed. At times, the Klall is punished for the individual as we are responsible for one another and the tzibur must engage in tikun midos and teshuvah.
HaGaon HaRav Yitzchak Zilberstein, a member of the Moetzas Gedolei Yisrael and Mora D’asra of the Ramat Elchanan neighborhood spoke at a kenos chizuk for women, during which he addressed the paramount importance of tznius and the need for women to be mechazeik in this area. He explained that tznius among a Bas Yisrael can shield us from calamity. Rav Zilberstein also said we must do our utmost to remain healthy and advises getting a flu vaccine as the illness has been particularly severe this year in Israel.
During this week’s meeting between the Belzer Rebbe Shlita and his visiting brother-in-law the Skverer Rebbe Shlita, they discussed the difficult situation and the Belzer Rebbe mentioned the pasuk ונתתי שלום בארץ ושכבתי ואין מחריד. The rebbe added we must daven a great deal for merit as we endure the pain of the tragedies that have befallen us of late.
Notice that Steinman's "Torah study protects" – the totem cited by haredi rabbis, including Steinman, as an explanation why it is wrong to draft haredim into the IDF – is qualified by the need for the protected parties to be good, kind, decent, honest, upright, pleasant and all the other good character traits Jews are supposed to have.
What this really means is that Torah study only protects very good people, and since most humans – including most Israelis – are not very good people, most humans are not protected by it.
So either Steinman – top non-hasidic haredi rabbi in the world – is willing to sacrifice those millions of Israelis to Hamas terror or he's talking nonsense.
And since the Torah itself says that all men of military age must fight in defensive wars and provides no exemption for Torah students, one must reach the conclusion these haredi rabbis, as important as they are, are talking nonsense.
Meanwhile, haredim in the haredi settlement of Beitar Illit have taken to buying guns and getting training to use them. They're buying the guns – at gun shows sponsored by the city itself – in order to protect themselves from the most recent wave of Palestinian terror. And yet many, if not most, of Beitar Illit's residents are full time yeshiva students and their immediate families.
Torah study "protects and saves" – as long as you have Glock in your right hand and a Talmud in left. But if you only have the Talmud or have nothing, you're likely in for a heap of trouble.