Volume 20 Number 54
                       Produced: Thu Jul 20  9:52:56 1995

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Abandoning bases
         [Kenneth Posy]
Following Orders
         [Steve Ganot]
Kings, etc.
         [Zvi Weiss]
More on the IDF Controversy
         [Janice Gelb]
Rabbis Rule: Don't Abandon IDF Camps
         [Eli Turkel]


From: Kenneth Posy <kpposy@...>
Date: Wed, 19 Jul 1995 23:51:20 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Abandoning bases

The following Statement was issued by the Rabinic authorities of religious 
zionism, as posted on MJ:

"C.  A permanent army camp is also in and of itself a Jewish settlement
for all considerations, uprooting and abandoning it in the hands of
Gentiles is basically uprooting a settlement in the Land of Israel which
is prohibited by law.

"D.  Therefore, in reply to the question, it is clear and simple that it
is forbidden for all Jews to participate in any activity which aids in
the evacuation of a settlement, camp or facility, and so it was ruled
(Laws of Kings Chapter 3) by Rambam that even if a king commands to
violate the Torah the command is not followed."

     It appears from this quote that the rabanim who issued this p'sak
are basically forbidding the Israeli government to reliquish
territory. Since there are permanent army bases that would have to be
removed in order to establish a Palestinian state, and they cannot be
according to halacha, then the only way to establish a palestinian state
is with Israeli troops remaining in their camps (not a likely outcome of
the negotiations). Is this the correct understanding?

> "B.  And it is simply clear that the area within which the IDF is 
located and controls, the commandment of the settlement of the Land
of  Israel is being observed as Ramban wrote, it includes also "to
conquer  and not relinquish to the hands of the nations".  And the
area which the  IDF will withdraw from will be under the control of
the Gentiles and  this is a nullification of the aforementioned
positive commandment.  In  addition to this, there is also an
endangerment of Israeli lives and an  endangerment of the survival
of the State and this is a matter of "do  not stand on the blood of
your neighbor".

     The rabanim who issued this psak seem to be making the ruling
based on two different issues.

1) The first is simply the action of leaving is a bittul asey
(transgression of a positive commandment) Perhaps something was lost in
translation, but could someone provide a more precise reference to the
commandment and the Rambam? Does an area where "The IDF is located and
controls" require both conditions, or is one enough? (If one was enough,
then it would include all of the territories as a direct torah
prohibition to relinquish) And does this mitzvah apply to the Syria,
where the kedusha of Israel is only d'rabanan?
 2) the second issur is the long term results of the action are
negative, and therefore, by performing it now they transgress the issur
of "lo sa'amod al dam reyecha". There are two points here that I don't
understand. First, doesn't the prohibition of lo sa'amod apply
specifically to not taking action that could save someone in a dangerous
position, rather than against taking action that will put them into a
dangerous situation?
     Second, I assume that if the government decides to abandon the
bases in is because they feel that there is NO endangerment to the
survival of state, and therefore no "lo sa'amod". Even if the rabanim
disagree with them about this subjective question of the particular
scenerio, can they be held in violation of this prohibition if they do
not see the danger? If a blind person fails to prevent someone from
committing a crime on someone else, is he liable because of "lo
     Of course, whether or not the analogy is correct is a political
issue that is inappropriate for this forum. I am simply asking a
"l'ta'ameich" (according to your own opinion) question.  However, at the
bottom line, I do not see how it is possible to seperate this p'sak from
the political and nationalistic opinions and philosophy's of those who
issued it, (not that they ever claimed otherwise). DISCLAIMER: Heaven
forbid that this post should be construed as any disrepect, or anything
but honor and reverence, for the gedolai torah who released this
statement. I do not want to go into the issue of da'as torah which has
been discussed extensively on this list, but suffice it to say that I
acknowlege and appreciate the fact that every opinion of these great
Rabanonim comes from their deep insight and commitment to Torah and
C'lal Yisrael.


From: Steve Ganot <STEVEGAN@...>
Date: Thu, 20 Jul 1995 13:04:35 GMT+0200
Subject: Following Orders

> For example, three
> weeks ago there was an (all too minor IMHO) uproar here because a hesder
> unit was called out of its base on Shabbos to go to Ashkelon and guard
> the arrival of Shimon Peres' helicopter on his way to Azza for a meeting
> with Arafat.  If the soldiers had known in advance that this was the
> reason they were being called up and not for a matter of pikuach nefesh,
> would they be permitted to disobey the order?  

The question comes down to "Why did the army meed to guard the arrival
of Peres' helicopter?"  If this is part of the need to guard our leaders
at all times, and I assume that it is, then this certainly must also be
done on Shabbat.

Steve Ganot


From: Zvi Weiss <weissz@...>
Date: Wed, 19 Jul 1995 19:20:16 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Kings, etc.

For what it is worth, the halacha is quite explicit that there is NO din 
of "mored b'malchut" -- rebelling agianst a king -- the king is ordering 
one to do something that is prohibited by the Torah.
Anyone interested in a fuller development could start with the story of 
Shaul and Doeg and the command to destroy the city of Nov (for allegedly 
rebelling against Sha'ul by helping David)... which was refused by the 
King's generals unitl Do'eg himself did the deed..  The commentaries and 
Midrashim provide a good overview.



From: <janiceg@...> (Janice Gelb)
Date: Wed, 19 Jul 1995 14:48:40 -0700
Subject: More on the IDF Controversy

In case you haven't seen this...
The following letter was received by hebron_today via SNS (Shomron News 
The following is an open letter from Rabbi Sholom Gold to Am Yisroel.

Rabbi Sholom Gold
Rav-Kehilat Zichron Yosef-Har Nof

It would have taken only one minute to read the halachic ruling by the
rabbis last week. What a shame that so many people and organizations
condemned and rejected the ruling without having bothered to peruse
it. The shrill self-righteous voices of horror and shock will seem very
foolish indeed after they read it.

It would have taken only one minute to learn that the rabbis did not
call upon soldiers to disobey orders, nor did they preach violent civil
disobedience, nor did they advocate civil war (no war is really
civil). They did not undermine nor attempt to destroy the foundation of
the State or tear apart the fabric of the IDF.

They can only be accused of courageously coming to grips with a dilemma
that is troubling many people in the country, soldiers and civilians
alike. None of the many voices of opposition dealt with the issue except
to state something to the effect that soldiers must follow orders. That,
of course is a morally indefensible position. One that Jews, at the end
of the 20th century, must simply reject with revulsion. We, who lost one
third of our people at the hands of an army that "followed orders"
cannot consecrate that position.

Furthermore, the IDF recognizes and protects a soldier's right not to
act in contradiction to his religious principles, e.g., a soldier cannot
be ordered to desecrate the Sabbath if not permitted by halachah. If
mandated by halachah (Jewish law - ed.), it is no longer a desecration
but a mitzvah, e.g., when there is danger to life.

What option have the chorus of condemners given the soldiers whose
dilemma will not go away nor conscience be assuaged by being told that
he must follow orders? Is the motto of the IDF "Ours is not to reason
why, ours is but to do or die"?

It's time to take a first look at the psak (ruling according to Torah
law - ed)and study it carefully.

The ruling is typed (in bold type) on one side of a regulation size
piece of paper that contains six brief paragraphs. The first four
describe the problems and cite the sources of the psak.

They talk of the danger to life and the very survival of the State,
posed by the planned withdrawal of Israeli soldiers from parts of
YESHA. The Biblical commandment to settle the land and not transfer it
to gentiles is also cited.  That command incidentally was why Jews
unlike any other people on the face of this earth remained loyal to
their ancestral home and began to return here about one hundred years
ago. It is also the reason why there was always an uninterrupted Jewish
presence in this country. The dream and the hope that propelled the
Zionist movement came from those many passages in the Bible. The psak
cites Maimonides who rules even a royal edict should not be obeyed when
it conflicts with Torah law.

The last two paragraphs are the ones I want to draw attention to.

5.  "Never has an army (in a democratic state) placed its soldiers in a
situation where they would be forced to act against their religious,
moral or national conscience. We call upon the government and the
military leadership not to put soldiers in a position where they will be
torn between their loyalty to values upon which their lives are built,
and a military order.

6.  We turn to the government and the one who stands at its head not to
allow the division of the nation and the IDF, and to strengthen with all
their might the unity of Israel at this difficult hour."

This is not a call for rebellion, this is not incitement, this is not
sedition - but a reasoned sincere plea for sanity, humanity, and the
sanctity of the human personality.

I feel privileged to have been present last Wednesday in the study of
Rabbi Avrohom Shapira, the former Chief Rabbi and Rosh Yeshiva of Mercaz
HaRav, together with the rabbis who dealt with his momentous question.
The atmosphere in the room reflected the historic nature of the
gathering, which was conducted with majestic dignity.  The study was
charged with a sense of the gravity of the question.

Now let's start all over again.  Let's deal with the psak calmly, with
reverence and respect.  No name calling - only serious reasoned debate.
No clichis, no condemnations, no hackneyed phrases, no superficial

The question is too grave, the situation is too serious for anything
less than an intelligent, dignified exchange of ideas.

Let not those who oppose the psak be accused by history of having
trivialized the sublime.

It takes only one minute.....


From: Eli Turkel <turkel@...>
Date: Wed, 19 Jul 1995 12:34:52 -0400
Subject: Rabbis Rule: Don't Abandon IDF Camps

     Joseph Steinberg brings down the ruling of some rabbis concerning
abandoning army camps. These psak halakhot have always been
controversial with many rabbis for and against. I think it is clear that
this psak has no relevance to those people who do not accept these
rabbis as their poskim. Within the hesder movement I would be amazed if
Rav Lichtenstein accepted the psak. Rav Ovadiah Yosef and others have
already publically disagreed.

   More substanstively:	

>> "A.  We set that there is a Torah prohibition to evacuate IDF camps and
>> transfer the place to the authority of Gentiles since there is in this a
>> nullification of a positive commandment and also the endangerment of
>> life and an endangerment of the survival of the State.

    What is an endangerment of the survival of the State is better
decided by the army than these rabbis. Basically they decide facts to
conform to their psak.
    One thing I have never understood is what should a unit do during a
"real" war when there base is threatened and they have no realistic way
of defending themselves. Are they required to fight to the death to
avoid the transfer of authority to the enemy? Once one concedes that
they need not committ suicide then it is a question of degree. under
what conditions can they surrender and not give up their lives? Maybe a
peace treaty that saves many lives is enough of a justification. If one
does believe that such a peace process is possible that is a political
decision and not a halakhic decision.

>> "D.  Therefore, in reply to the question, it is clear and simple that it
>> is forbidden for all Jews to participate in any activity which aids in
>> the evacuation of a settlement, camp or facility, and so it was ruled
>> (Laws of Kings Chapter 3) by Rambam that even if a king commands to
>> violate the Torah the command is not followed.

   Rav Soloveitchik noted that King Solomon did give lands to Hiram the
King of Tyre. As stated above this psak means that if the officer in
charge gives an order to retreat then every soldier must decide whether
such an order is justified or against halakhah!!!!



End of Volume 20 Issue 54