What a courageous thing to do. My hat is off to him. I don’t say this often enough about Charedi rabbinic leaders. Especially in Israel. But VIN has reported that one of the Charedi world’s foremost Rabbanim, Ponevitch Rosh Yeshiva, Rav Gershon Edelstein has actually agreed with things I have said on this blog about current events and the wrong attitudes on the part of some people towards secular Jews.
His words are my sentiments exactly. I don’t usually do this, but rather than excerpt what he said, I am going to publish the VIN piece in its entirety. This is the right approach to what is going on in the world of the extremists and their supporters.
Jerusalem - Following criticism of his statements last week praising even irreligious Israeli soldiers, the Rosh Yeshiva of Ponovitch spoke on Monday to a group of students affiliated with the Eida Chareidis in order to further clarify his words and said that those who engage in extremist behavior are making a mockery of the leading Rabbonim of our generation.
R’ Gershon Edelstein was approached by the group of students who wished to better understand his statement that even those Israeli soldiers who are not religiously observant have earned their share in the world to come by virtue of the fact that they are willing to give their lives for the sake of others.
According to reports in Israeli news source Kikar Hashabat, R’ Edelstein told the students that while there were those who felt that his words last week contradicted the Gemara, the Rambam and others, his statements were not his own thoughts but those of Gedolei Yisroel. Quoting R’ Yechezkel Levenstein zt’l and the Chazon Ish zt’l, R’ Edelstein said it is forbidden to hate the chilonim and while we must hate any sins, we must have pity on the chilonim who fall under the halachic classification of “tinokos shenishbu” and are therefore not responsible for their sins.
R’ Edelstein took to task those extremists who continue to incite animosity against the chilonim.
“There are those who go out of their way to foster hatred for irreligious Jews and ultimately all they accomplish is to make a mockery out of our great Rabbonim,” said R’ Edelstein. “There were those who lampooned the Steipler and the Chazon Ish when they instructed their followers to go out and vote in the elections, but it is clear to all that their motives were only to belittle our gedolim, not for the benefit of klal yisroel.”
R’ Edelstein concluded by making it clear that he welcomed the opportunity to further clarify his statements for anyone who had any additional questions.