Israeli Draft

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I had wanted to avoid taking a position on the change in the Israeli draft exemption for yeshiva students. To my great shame, I live in the Diaspora and neither I nor my sons have served or will serve in the IDF. I am as guilty as the Israeli Charedi community of violating Bamidbar 32:6:

האחיכם יבאו למלחמה ואתם תשבו פה?
Shall your brothers go to the war and you sit here?

Who am I to say anything?

However, with a prayer rally planned for this Sunday in NY and many yeshivas arranging for their students to attend, I told concerned parents to instruct their sons to do the following: If they are forced to recite prayers, they should follow Rav Shlomo Aviner’s position and pray that yeshiva students voluntarily enlist and fulfill the great mitzvah of defending the Jewish people and land.

About Gil Student

Rabbi Gil Student is the Editor of, a leading website on Orthodox Jewish scholarly subjects, and the Book Editor of the Orthodox Union’s Jewish Action magazine. He writes a popular column on issues of Jewish law and thought featured in newspapers and magazines, including The Jewish Link, The Jewish Echo and The Vues. In the past, he has served as the President of the small Jewish publisher Yashar Books and as the Managing Editor of OU Press. Rabbi Student has served two terms on the Executive Committee of the Rabbinical Council of America and currently serves as the Director of the Halacha Commission of the Rabbinical Alliance of America. He serves on the Editorial Boards of Jewish Action magazine, the Journal of Halacha and Contemporary Society and the Achieve Journal of Behavioral Health, Religion & Community, as well as the Board of OU Press. He has published five English books, the most recent titled Search Engine volume 2: Finding Meaning in Jewish Texts -- Jewish Leadership, and served as the American editor for Morasha Kehillat Yaakov: Essays in Honour of Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks.


  1. Generally agree, I would have left out “nor my sons “, there is still hope that our descendants will have a redemptive moment – see this week’s audioroundup
    Professor Smadar Rosensweig-The Hidden and the Revealed in the Destiny and the Initiative of Esther and Mordechai
    Tanach wide themes that destiny must be earned and one can be mitakein (fix) predecessors’ errors to redeem their destiny.


  2. yoni the yogi

    And about deciding for oneself and to not go if you don’t agree with this asifa.

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