Posted 26 August 2012 - 12:46 PM
I know that many gedolim in the 1950's protested Sheirut Le'umi in no uncertain terms. I know that the terminology used was strong - yeherag v'al ya'avor. I have heard various reasons why not - (from Rabbi Zev Leff) the entire situation, no matter the details, is inappropriate, as unmarried bnos Yisroel, still part of their father's household are being put under the authority of the government; (from the old frumteens site) the ultimate goal of SL is to get the girls into the army; (from no specific source but well known) the problems of pritzus and giluy arayos, not to mention the general atmosphere and hashkafa which isn't ideal; (from a chashuv man I know) nobody fully understood the psak, but did their utmost to follow it altz emunas chachamim. I know that the gedolei hador of today (R' Elyashiv ztz"l, R' Shteinman) have reiterated this psak of not joining SL. I know that while doing chessed is a wonderful thing, the end does not justify the means, and their are many other ways and places to do chessed than joining SL.
I have the following questions:
1) Who, specifically, besides the Chazon Ish, is included in "the gedolim of the 1950's" who protested Sheirut Leumi?
2) Where could I find documented sources for some or all of the above disapproval?
3) Was there a specific reason/s given why not? Was there any one reason more than others? If so, what?
4) There are rabbanim today who will "ok" a girl's entry into SL - why? Do they not know of the opinion of the gedolei hador? Do they not care? Are the "small fry" (relatively) taking things into their own hands when they shouldn't be? Is everyone bound by what R' Elyashiv ztz"l and R' Shteinman said? Does there still exist such a concept as undisputed leaders of the dor? I follow their psak, but not everyone does - do they have to?
5) If someone asks a Rav regarding enlisting in SL, and is told that it's fine, are they still held responsible for doing something wrong?
6) Is there any situation where, depending on details (don't ask me for an example - I'm not thinking of anything specific; just asking a general question), it would be an ok or an appropriate thing for a girl to enter SL?
7) Is there any difference between an Israeli girl entering SL and a foreign one volunteering to do so?
I'm not trying to start a fight, open a can of worms, or anything else. I did not go looking for these questions - they found me, and while I have kept myself out of the discussion as much as possible, I still would like the clarification for myself. I don't agree with Sheirut Leumi - I would not enlist, nor would I allow any daughter of mine to, and I would strongly discourage anyone who was thinking of enlisting from doing so. But certain facts, and hashkafa viewpoints are unclear to me, so I wanted to ask.
Posted 26 August 2012 - 02:02 PM
1) The Brisker Rav, R. Isser Zalman Meltzer, R. Zelig Reuven Bengis, among others.
2) Depends what level of "documentaiton" you are looking for. An informative narrative of the entire episode can be found in Chapter 27 of "The Brisker Rav" (vol. 3) by R. Shimon Muller. Rav Shach (Michtavim Umaamarim 3:350, 351. See also 2:113 regarding volunteer Shairut LeUmi) writes generically that יהרג ואל יעבור was the opinion of the Gedolim in Eretz Yisroel.
3) The factors you mentioned are among them, but only as contributing factors to one of the two reasons for the Psak, namely, that Sheirut LeUmi is an אביזרייהו דגילוי עריות, which is יהרג ואל יעבור. The other reason given was that because Israel's motivation for attempting to get frum women into the army was to change their attitudes and acclimate them into the Zionist / Israeli mindset, it put Shearut LeUmi into the category of שעת השמד, which makes it automatically יהרג ואל יעבור. And it is not correct what you are told that nobody understood fully the psak. That is simply not true. (How can anyone even claim to know such a thing even if it were true? Did he take a survey of everyone's understanding of the Psak?)
4) Everyone is bound to this psak, since the collective authority with which it was made remains, by far, without peer. This has nothing to do with "undisputed leaders of the Dor", which is a bizarre, strawman-like requirement for obedience, considering, among other things, that any fool can create a "dispute" about whatever he chooses. By requiring "undisputed" leadership you are giving every Tom, Dick, and Harry in the street veto power against the authority of any Torah personality, since they can, at will, cause anybody's authority to be "disputed" - if they choose to dispute it. I don't know where you got this criterion (actually I do know where you got it - it's a pretty common claim in certain circles), but it is incorrect.
The point is, people are obligated to follow the Halachah as interpreted by the Gedolei Hador, not because of any "leadership" positions they have but because of their expertise in deciphering the Halachah. With that standard, there is nothing to discuss here, because, as I mentioned, the level of authority declaring a prohibition here is not close to paralleled by, as you put it, the "Small fry."
5) Yes, unless they have no idea what the Gedolei Hador have said about this. If someone they know shirks authority like that, they should not ask such a person shailos. Everyone has a responsibility to choose a rabbi that they honestly believe to be able to answer questions correctly. If you know a certain rabbi is permitting things that such superior authority - qualitatively and quantitatively - said one should rather die than do, and that there is no room for discussion about it, he should find someone else to ask his questions to. He has no heter to listen to a random smicha recipient in such a case.
6) קרקע עולם maybe? But seriously - not that I can think of.
7) No. Giluy Arayos has the same requirements for both.
Posted 26 August 2012 - 07:10 PM
1 - Why is SL considered אביזרייהו דגילוי עריות? If a girl is just going to visit the elderly, and work with special needs kids, and help out in broken homes? It seems to me to be a government regulated chessed program? (I know I said that I understood that the general pritzus and gilui arayos were a problem, but thinking about it again, I realized that I'm not really clear on why; just that I've heard it so many times and so definitively stated that I just accepted it as fact.)
2 - I don't know the nuances of SL. I don't know what is being taught, or what the exact details of the setting are. But would it still be considered שעת השמד now? (Same as above - it seems to be a government regulated chessed program...)
3 - This is already on a slightly different topic than SL, however: Why is the psak of a contemporary gadol hador binding? They aren't the Sanhedrin (who, even if they make a mistake, their psak is still binding - i.e. if the Sanhedrin tells a person to eat treif; whereas today, correct me if I'm wrong, but if a person was told by a Rav, even the gadol hador, to eat treif, they would not be supposed to listen?). Who are the gedolim who have the final say? Is there anyone with that be all and end all authority? R' Elyashiv, ztz"l, was a great tzaddik and talmid chacham, but why does any one person have to listen to him? Is "that standard" that you mention the crux of emunas chachamim? We hear people say that the gedolim are not omniscient, and can make mistakes or perhaps rule sometimes without a complete understanding of the specific nuances of a situation or topic (including the gedolim themselves - I know of a situation personally where one of the current gedolei hador changed his psak when the situation was presented to him differently/from a different angle). So what is the reason that what they say is binding? I understand that it takes big shoulders to disagree, but why can't someone?
Just for the record - I am asking theoretically. I honestly do not question the gedolim, and follow them in every regard. But this topic recently came up in a large extended family discussion, and there are a lot of ideas and disagreements flying around, and I want the clarification. Especially since I feel like if I can't express what I know and feel to be true in a coherent manner to someone else (not that I need to or will, but even if I wanted to), then I don't have a full grasp and clarity about it.
Posted 30 September 2012 - 10:53 AM
1 - Tznius is not just skirt lengths and sleeve lengths. A foundation of the entire concept is the idea that a בת ישראל is not under any man's dominion except her father's or husband's. A woman in the army, taking and being bound to fulfill orders of random male strangers is itself a violation of Tznius.
2 - Probably. The Zionists would like nothing better than to see frum Jews integrated into the Israeli culture and mindset. In this case, to get Bnos Yisroel out of their home environment and culture (as in #1 above). Sheaut le'Umi helps that happen.
3 - I could tell you that there are those who say that listening to Gedolei HaDor comes under the category of Lo Sasur, or that there are Poskim who say that a Godol haDor has the status of one's Rebbi Muvhak. But that would miss the main point. For the main point see here.
The authority of the Gedolei haDor is what our religion is based on. Without that, it all falls apart. The reason is, because why are the words of the Gemora binding? Weren't the Talmudic sages human? And can they not make mistakes? And Moshe Rabbeinu - didn't he hit the stone and bring the Erev Rav out of Egypt? Perhaps I know better than Moshe Rabbeinu? Was Moshe perfect?
Please ask those who were invovled in the family discussion you mention why their argument for not listening to contemporary gedolei hador does not also apply to Rashi and the Rambam; or the sages of the Talmud; or the Avrohom Avinu - were any of them omniscient?
The reason why we listen to the Gedolei Hador is because they know what they are talking about - see that link I cited above. The recognition of who is greater than whom is the basis of our entire religion. Without it, there is no reason to obey what our sages said.
If someone will say that we have to obey the sages because the Torah says Lo Sasur - who says that's what the Torah means? perhaps it means only the Sanhedrin? Not the Talmudic sages? And if someone will say that Klall Yisroel have accepted upon themselves to obey the words of the Talmud, the quesiton is: Who says Klall Yisroel agreed? Rabbis? Why can't I disagree with them and say Klall Yisroel did not agree?
Or better yet, why does "Klall Yisroel"'s agreement bind me? Was I asked? And even if I was, why can't I change my mind? Because rabbis say so?
No argument is going to explain why our Torah is binding, unless you accept the axiom that there are people much much greater than ourselves and we are fools, not to mention dishonest, if we think our opinions matter against theirs.
That established, what then, is the threshold of greatness that the family members you mentioned must claim exists that separates those too great for me to disagree with and those not as great? And how do they identify who is on which side of it? The arguments you cited - not omniscient, can err, etc etc - apply to everyone in history, and if we take their arguments to their logical conclusion, we don't have anybody whose opinion is binding, including Chazal, which destroys the authority of the entire body of sages throughout history.
The real answer to your question is, the reason we listen to the opinions of Gedolei Yisroel is because the vast degree of expertise they have in the field being discussed makes our opinions, if we are honest, irrelevant.
The question now is how to recognize greatness. That's a different discussion. But the idea that because someone is not omniscient or perfect means that we can disagree is surely exposed as untenable by anyone who says that but at the same time believes in the authority of Torah Shebiksav and Torah Shebal Peh.
Posted 23 January 2013 - 08:11 PM
I saw over here that the Steipler ZT"L said not to publicize the reasons for the psak:
He didn't mean it's a secret. He meant not to allow it to be subject to distortion and attack by the Zionists, who were (and still are) attacking the Psak, not because of any Torah reasoning but because of Zionism. It accomplishes nothing, and damages a lot, when you subject Torah to the visceral distortions of people like that (for example, look at today's bloggers, and what a travesty they make of any Torah proclamation they don't like).
So he said just to declare the Psak in its final, bottom-line form. But he never meant that if someone is really asking because they want to know, that you shouldn't tell them. He just meant keep the Torah out of the hands of the תלמידים שאינם הגונים who will be מגלה פנים בתורה שלא כהלכה.