Analysis: When a Chareidi Soldier is Called a Nazi


idf-chareidimBy Rabbi Yair Hoffman

It is a point of fact that we in the Chareidi community do not readily like to admit. There are times in history when complete D’oraisah Mitzvos are entirely ignored. Here are three examples:

  • In America in the 1940′s the overwhelming majority of Orthodox Jewish women who lived here did not cover their hair.
  • In the late 1980′s the overwhelming majority of Yeshivish orthodox Jews were not strictly observant of the prohibition of eating bugs in vegetables.
  • And in Me’ah She’arim last week at about twelve in the afternoon, a large percentage of onlookers did not strictly observe four very important Torah mitzvos.

This third example is most egregious.

The newspaper reports about the incident are horrifying: “Following an in-home visit with one of his IDF soldiers, the platoon commander was surrounded by a group of dozens of ultra-Orthodox individuals who began threatening him and pelting him and his car with eggs, stones, bags of water and soiled diapers. His car sustained significant damage.

The officer also said that several female residents threatened to kill him if he did not leave immediately.

The commander’s mother, a resident of the Jewish settlement of Kiryat Arba near Hebron, claimed her son barely made it out of the neighborhood alive. She said, that her son told her,”they had murder in their eyes..” Nobody in the crowd tried to protect him… He escaped by the skin of his teeth.”

Let’s take it as a given that those who are attacking a fellow Jew are beyond the pale and are in violation of attempting to violate one of the aseres hadibros of lo sirtzach – do not murder.” Nonetheless, they must be reigned in and they must be reigned in now. We in the Chareidi community must stand up and not merely condemn this clear violation of Torah and humanity, but we must demand that we find the individuals involved in this travesty and fulfill the dictum of uviarta hara mikirbecha – removing the evil from our midst. It is not acceptable to allow such an attack to go unpunished.

But furthermore, just like all other aspects of Torah we must educate ourselves about some very basic Torah Mitzvos.

Lo Saamod Al Dam Rayacha

There is a negative Mitzvah of not standing idly by your brother’s blood as well. This is mentioned in Shulchan Aruch (CM 426:1) and in the Rambam. We have to explain situations where this might come up and give specific examples as well. We must do so in order to ensure that we do not stand idly by our brother’s blood.

Lo Suchal l’hisalaym

There is yet another negative commandment associated with the positive commandment of Hashavas Aveida, and that is the verse in Dvarim (22:3), “You cannot shut your eyes to it.” This verse comes directly after the Mitzvah of Hashavas Aveidah. The Netziv (HeEmek Sheailah) refers to this Mitzvah as well. We must teach this Mitzvah too in order to make sure that we are always ready to uphold it.

V’Chai Achicha Imach

The Sheiltos (Sheilta #37), based upon the Gemorah in Bava Metziah 62a, understands these words to indicate an obligation to save others with you. The Netziv in his He’Emek She’ailah understands it as a full-fledged obligation according to all opinions. He writes that he must exert every effort to save his friend’s life – until it becomes Pikuach Nefesh for himself.

V’Ahavta l’Rayacha Kamocha

The Ramban, Toras haAdam Shaar HaSakana (p42-43) understands the verse of “And love thy neighbor as yourself” as a directive to save him from danger as well. Although he discusses the issue of medical danger, it is clear that this is an example, and it would apply to danger from physical enemies as well. Even without the Ramban, however, it is clear that defending and protecting someone from danger is a fulfillment of this Mitzvah.


One might think that these Mitzvos are simple matters and do not need to be modelled or explained, but they do. The evidence here points to the great need. To say nothing of the massive Chilul Shaim Shamayim that has transpired here.

What we need here are two things:

The first is an unequivocal statement condemning this time of violence by the respected leaders of the Chareidi communities. Everyone has the right to express their halachic and political opinion as to what can undermine Klal Yisroel and what represents an existential threat to Torah and to Klal Yisroel. However, when that rhetoric causes some to exceed the boundaries of halacha and engage in what constitutes possible Shfichas Damim there is a responsibility to speak out. Specifically, and with the greatest of Kavod, the Satmar Rebbe of Kiryas Yoel, the Satmar Rebbe of Williamsburg, the Toldos Aharon Rebbe, the Toldos Avraham Yitzchak Rebbe, the Dushinsky Rebbe, and the Gavad Eidah and HaCharedis HaRav Weiss have all spoken out against Chareidim entering the IDF. But when the meshugayim begin interpreting this as a green light for shfichas damim there is a halachic obligation to speak out against this too. It should not just be relegated to the litvisha Gedolim of Klal Yisroel and to their papers to condemn it. They must do so themselves.

What we also need here some organization that will create literature that concentrates on these Mitzvos and upon educating the youth of the Chareidi communities including Meah She’arim with practical applications of these Mitzvos with both religious and irreligious people who differ from the way we may look. The Mosdos and the Rebbeim should be paid to implement these program, and there should be oversight to ensure that they are being taught.

These Mitzvos must be observed just as the Mitzvos of proper hair covering, and staying away from bugs must be observed. No one has the right to flaunt halacha and these are clear-cut halachic issues.

The author can be reached at


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  1. In the late 1980?s the overwhelming majority of Yeshivish orthodox Jews were not strictly observant of the prohibition of eating bugs in vegetables. ????????????? What???

  2. sad but true there are more then just 3 mitzvos that are totally discarded
    go through the sefer chofetz chaim of todays mitzvos & see if you can figure out which ones im referring to….

  3. The truth is that this is Lapid and Lipman’s fault. It used to be that while most chareidim did not go to the army, they were respectful of those who did. However those reshoim initiated the arrests and changed the status quo regarding the army. It now became a red line that is crossed and thus the outlook at those in the army totally changed.

    True reshoim in every sense of the word.

  4. Who will get up and say:
    “Rosho – lamma sakeh ess rei’echo”

    See Rashi there: whoever raises his hand against a yid is calle ROSHO

  5. Rabbi Hoffman is 100% right, if — and I do say IF — the story is actually true.

    Unfortunately, neither I or any one else (and that includes Rabbi Hoffman) knows whether or not it IS true! What we DO know is that the Israeli news media regularly grossly exaggerates and even INVENTS stories out of whole cloth so as to discredit Chareidim.

    There was a similar story about a year ago about a chareidi soldier who, on leave from his front line unit, was accosted in an ultra-orthodox neighborhood. It turned out that the soldier was NOT Chareidi, did NOT serve in a line unit (he was a broadcaster for Army Radio) and the ONLY source for the story was his own posting on his very own Facebook page. On that page he described the actual incident itself as little more than dirty looks and mumbled snide comments but the good ol’ reliable Israeli media blew it up into a near violent confrontation.

    That said, and with all (genuinely) due respect; Rabbi Hoffman, perhaps YOU need to be reminded of the commandment to judge your fellow Jew favorably. We should not jump to conclusions without a FULL possession of the facts and, frankly, most especially in regards to issues relating to the Chareidi community, the Israeli news media is a notoriously poor source to rely on for facts.

  6. There are two sides to every story but the author prefers the side of the left media, the anti charedi media. How about listening to what the charedim had to say about this?

  7. Baloney number 1. There is no excuse to threaten verbally or physically another Jew just because you don’t agree with his actions. You can express your disagreement but name calling and throwing stuff is demeaning for the person who is doing it and is completely antithetical to the Torah they are puporting to defend.

  8. “began threatening him and pelting him and his car with eggs, stones, bags of water and soiled diapers”
    a) NOBODY in Meah Shearim will spend the money on eggs – stones are readily available and are free.
    b) bags of water??? Why? What does that do? Who fills up the bags?
    c) how did so many soiled diapers suddenly appear? I thought they save them all to throw at the Women-Off-the-Wall – a whole month worth of diapers. And now they’ll be empty handed next Rosh Chodesh.

    “several female residents threatened to kill him”
    Yup – a real threat. Those women have been known to carve up people. They’re known as the Shviga Patrol. They’ll probably soon supersede the Russian Mafia.

    Come on guys, get real.

  9. “In the late 1980?s the overwhelming majority of Yeshivish orthodox Jews were not strictly observant of the prohibition of eating bugs in vegetables.”

    What is the author talking about?

    Firstly, how does he know this? Maybe there were less bugs then, due to more pesticides in use at the time, compared to now.

    Secondly, even if he is correct to some degree, why is he singling out Yeshivish people for such a putdown? Is he implying that the situation was different among other segments of Klal Yisroel? I think, if there was a problem then, it was due to lack of awareness, and that was not limited to one Orthodox subgroup.

    I think an apology is called for for such a slur on Yeshivish people. Rabbi Hoffman, please explain yourself, or apologize and correct what you wrote.

  10. are you serious? There is never an excuse for us to call a fellow Yid a nazi. Particularly not a yid who is enabling us, with Hashem’s help, to live in Eretz Yisrael. Would you rather a Palestinian State? Furthermore, “collateral damage” is a Western term, and what exactly are we fighting? We need to unite, to bring Mashgiach. In addition, we as frum Jews need to set a positive example. Acting like these people did is no better than the rioters who burned stores in Fergusson. We are better than that. We owe this solider an apology. Whatever our personal feelings, there is never an excuse to treat another human being the way they did. We are Yidden, a Goy Kadosh. Kidoshim do not act this way. I am embarrassed, and beg Hakadosh Baruch Hu to forgive us.

  11. I second the thoughts of #13 you are way out of line on the bugs issue there was no awareness of the issue not an ignoring of Halacha and there was no more neglect on the chareidim’s part than any other sect of Yiddishkeit, shame on you!

  12. Guys, there were dozens of eyewitnesses and there was video evidence of the Nazi incident. Unfortunately, these seem to be true. If you don’t believe these stories, come live here and see for yourself.

  13. @ #2 Gluten free

    35 years ago the majority of people are fresh broccoli
    Raspberries and blackberries
    Today most (all?) reliable kashrut agencies require a hechsher on such items
    People just rinsed lettuce and are it without proper checking
    In the frum world today people don’t eat such things without proper hechsher (berries, broccoli…) or proper preparation(lettuce)