Chief Rabbi Lau: Be Mechazeik in Limud Hatorah, Don’t Give Opponents Fodder


rav-dovid-lauIsrael’s new Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi, Rav David Lau, has called on yeshiva bochurim to focus on limud haTorah in botei medrash as much as possible, rather than be seen being idle in public, so as not to create the impression that the demand to exempt them from military service is unjustified.

Talking to yeshiva bochurim at a summer camp at Yeshiva Beit Matityahu, where he was once a talmid, the well spoken Rav Lau decried those in the Torah world who give their opponents the opportunity to speak against them.

As an example, Rav Lau mentioned yeshiva students who watch Maccabi Tel Aviv’s Euroleague basketball games in public places. He said that when he is asked, as a rabbi, to explain the issue, “I really have no answer for that. There are some Thursday evenings when, for some reason, in my hometown of Tel Aviv, there is a screen…at kiosks, and some of the viewers around it belong to a public which wears a hat and a suit and some who only wear a shirt, but most of them have tzitzis and a kipah,” he said.
“Even my supervisors (kashrus mashgichim who visit the kiosk as part of their job) are ashamed to go in there on those hours,” he said.
He added jokingly that he could not understand the habit: “What difference does it make if the black men paid in Tel Aviv defeat the black men paid in Greece?”

Rabbi Lau told the campers that many intersections – like the Shilat Junction at the northern entrance to the city he lives in, Modiin – were jammed almost all hours of the day, with young chareidim waiting to hitchhike, “so that not a single car can stop there. How many times can I say that they are going to listen to a chaburah (shiur)? Come on. We have to be careful. I’m not talking about it from the prohibition side right now. I am talking about what it looks like to those on the outside. These are difficult times for us and you don’t know what it looks like among the public.”

Rav Lau, who spoke with a smile and with great love for the bochurim, wished them all much hatzlacha and coupled his words of mussar with a message of chizuk for them all.

{ Israel News Bureau}