Question: How should one relate to Yaakov Neeman’s proposal to cut thegovernment funding for yeshivas?
Answer: First, a brief introduction is necessary. As part of their neverending struggle against religious Jews and Judaism, the hellenists have placed the war against the yeshivas on the top of their agenda. This is what motivates them in their campaign to draft yeshiva boys, and it is what motivates them in their incitement against “religious corruption”. So even if there is truth in their claims, it must be remembered that it is all being used as an EXCUSE to attack Judaism. And so, when Yaakov Neeman gets up and makes his proposal, it is perceived by the Israeli public as if he, a religious Jew, is giving backing to the hellenist left and media. The newspapers arduously covered the story, giving it huge headlines, and we still do not know if Neeman was acting for the sake of G-d, or simply trying to kiss up to the left.
Getting down to the matter, part of Neeman proposals are necessary. Real order must be made concerning so many “yeshiva boys”, who are listed as learning in yeshivas, but hang out and do nothing. But this shake up should be done by the yeshivas themselves, much more than they should be done through reallocation of state funding (in which there is a much more serious perversion – for example, the billions that are allocated to our enemies!).The proposal to crack down on Collel students who don’t learn, or put in a token two hours and then go off to work somewhere off the books, is important. And the problem with yeshiva boys and their army service should be solved through the establishing of separate “haredi” units, in order to alleviate the fear which many religious Jews have (and rightly so!) concerning the influence of the IDF army camps, which are bastions of decadence and lewdness.
But none of this should be done by the Minister of Treasury, whose obvious interest is to save money, thereby making it appear to the public that the real problem is one of money – corruption. The correction must be initiated by those G-d fearing Jews who realize the desecration of G-d’s name that is caused by the situation. (The situation is not a desecration of G-d’s Name because it causes the leftists to hate yeshiva boys more, but rather, objectively speaking, it is problem which must be solved- see Rambam, Hilchot Talmud Torah, 3:10 Kesef Mishnah)
Question: With the growth of the religious parties in the Knesset, is it possible to bring about a spiritual revolution?
Answer: It must be understood that a spiritual revolution in Israel cannot occur simply by stressing the need to do “mitzvot”. Rather, the entire Jewish idea must be spread, and blatant contradictions between Jewish and western concepts must be dealt with.
Unfortunately, in the Torah world itself, the authentic Jewish idea has been so watered down, and so many have turned the Torah into a “mitzva” collection, taking the soul out of Judaism.
The source of this evil is the exile, which severed the Jewish nation from a vital and living Torah. When one lives outside of his country at the mercy of the gentile culture and mentality, it is virtually impossible to preserve the pure Torah concepts, which are in essence the heart of Torah. And so, even after we have returned to our land, the distortion has not been corrected, and the idea or soul of the Torah is missing. Today the concepts of Torah have become putty in the hands of the pervertor, and there is noone to counter.
And so, despite the steady increase of “Baal Teshuvas” over the years, there is no electricity in the air, and no special atmosphere which is the requirement for any revolution. Something is lacking. Learning partial messages of Torah, while turning the more vital messages into something “unimportant” because they are “controversial” or “politics” will bring minor changes, but will not create an explosion or revolution. The trend towards Judaism we witnessed these past elections and the blessed growth in the number of “Baal Teshuvas” is a reflection of the disappointment for the secular way. But this is not enough.
Immediately following the huge victory of the religious parties in the elections, the media scurried to launch an incitement campaign against the religion and the religious, as only they know how. The religious, as only they know how, began apologizing: “G-d forbid, we are against religious coercion”. “There is nothing to be afraid of, everything will stay the same”. At the same time, each religious party entered its war room to prepare its blitzkrieg on the portfolios, the “kavod” and the money. On these issues they wasted no time with needless apologies, because they knew by doing so the rival party might snatch up the cherished goodies.
What the religious politicians don’t understand or don’t want to understandis that what turned people off to the religious parties in the past was the image that they are greedy and only care about money. The only reason they merited so many seats in these past elections was because they were the opposition, and the people, who are basically still normal, were searching for something real, for a party with principles.
The truth is, and it is critical to know, that religious legislation and the adding of Jewish character to the state bothers only a handful of leftist-hellenists (who convince us that the entire public feels the same way). But the fact is, that the average Israeli is not bothered by it at all. It is more likely that the subject of “religious coercion” is merely agood excuse for the religious parties to clear their agenda for what really interests them: Portfolios and “Kneidalach”.
To teach us, the more things change, the more they stay the same.