Thursday, May 08, 2014

A Kiddush HaShem from the IDF and Lubavitch

Guest Post by  Moshe Sanders*

Special Needs Soldiers Are 'Great in Uniform' (Arutz Sheva)
For those who think that the Israeli army (IDF) is all evil, think again. The following was submitted by someone who works in the mental health field. He asked to remain anonymous and I have agreed to honor his request. Moshe Sanders is a pseudonym. His words follow.

-       IT has always bothered me (maybe as a BT) why Torah Jewry/Orthodoxy has not been at the FOREFRONT of understanding/sensitivity/integration of individuals with special needs

-       How often we rightly remark about OUR historical and communal involvement as a people/nation that “when they were doing x. we were..”

-       BUT that has NOT been by and large when it comes to special needs.

-       The Torah world has NOT been at the forefront of special needs in all these decades past – and being a LIGHT unto the nations in this SPECIFIC area. Yes there are this and that story, but not as a whole at all

-       The SECULAR and non-Jewish world is in many ways WAY AHEAD in so many of above areas I convey above

-       WHY IS THAT?  Surely with a religion like ours that embraces such CORE values of family, sensitivity to others, a focus on the INTERNAL, etc. we would be EXPECTED to be at the FOREFRONT of such special needs issue. A focus on diminishing the superficial (a disability) and focusing on the REAL person, the neshama etc.

-       Of course MUCH of this is to do with STIGMA in the community. But that is no excuse.
-       Yes VAST changes for the better have been made.
-       But it does still raise the question of deep introspection.

This video (below) is a wonderful example of how it is being addressed …in Israel….and again WHY for these kids just serving in IDF makes them FEEL PART of the nation of Israel and playing their part.

*Not his real name

I should note that this wonderful organization is a project of Chabad. Which is why I once again firmly believe that their ought to be more Achdus with Chabad than there is now. The reason there isn’t can be blamed on both sides. There are issues between Chabad and the rest of Orthodoxy that seem irreconcilable. 

For Lubavitch they do not want to give up any control over what they do. Combining with others would do that to some extent. I can’t really blame them. They have been mighty successful in what they do without us.

From the non Lubavitch side there is the ‘Rebbe as Moshiach’ issue. This is a huge theological problem for the rest of Orthodoxy and impedes our participation with them.  I am not going to get into details. I have done that many times in the past. What I will say is that the issue is very complex and that even within mainstream Lubavitch there is controversy over it. But whatever the controversy from within - there is at some level a belief that the now deceased Lubavitcher Rebbe will - or at least could at some point - rise from the dead to be Moshiach.

I don’t think that should be ignored. But I do think it should be over-looked as far as mainstream Lubavitch is concerned. Their belief in such things is foolish, but not Apikursus  – which is how Rav Ahron Soloveichik saw it.  I agree. And the fact that mainstream Chabad no longer goes around talking about it means that it not really relevant to what they do. We should therefore unite. There is strength in numbers. Imagine what Orthodoxy would be capable of doing if we were united. Who knows… maybe it would bring Moshiach. 

The video follows. It is truly a Kiddush HaShem!