Hagaon Harav Shmuel Halevi Wosner, shlita, expressed deep concern over the possibility that yeshivah students will be forcibly drafted. Addressing an assembly of the Vaad Hayeshivos in Bnei Brak Tuesday night, he said, “At this time of trouble, when there is a threat that yeshivah students will be drafted, we must strengthen and unite to preserve the Torah world.”
An emotional call was issued to government and IDF officials: “Let the bnei yeshivah learn the holy Torah, as their pure souls desire.”
Harav Wosner also said it was an obligation to strengthen the status of all the yeshivos and of the Vaad Hayeshivos. He indicated the severity of the threats to the Torah world in Eretz Yisrael, and noted that the Midrash speaks of the Torah of Eretz Yisrael as “the gold of that land is good.” And “there is no Torah like the Torah of Eretz Yisrael.”
He said that in the times of the Chasam Sofer, zy”a, there was a draft decree issued against Jewish bachurim. It was a very difficult time for Klal Yisrael. The Chasam Sofer entered the beis medrash, drew open the aron kodesh, and burst into bitter tears. ‘What do You have from it, Father, that we have been sent to exile, as now we have to enlist?’ And all this took place out of Eretz Yisrael, about two hundred years ago.
“What can we say when the decree comes from Jewish people, sons of Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov, who have thrown off the burden of Heaven? How much more so do we ask Hashem that we should have siyatta diShmaya to strengthen religion and the yeshivos! We all hope that in this merit we will be able to endure until the arrival of Moshiach, may it be speedily in our day.”
He expressed the hope and prayer that Hashem will help and that the terrible plans of those who want to draft yeshivah bachurim will not come to fruition, and the Torah world will be unscathed.
The resolutions of the meeting were read by Attorney Eliezer Etzioni: “The Vaad Hayeshivos expresses deep pain and distress at efforts by people who have never tasted the flavor of Torah to pass terrible decrees against the yeshivos in Eretz Yisrael and to reduce the number of people learning. The Vaad vigorously objects to all these efforts.
“The Vaad Hayeshivos is appealing to the government and reiterates that Am Yisrael, since its inception as a nation, has always made great strides in Torah learning despite all the challenges and difficult situations it has faced.
“The Vaad Hayeshivos is asking that those learning in yeshivos be left alone to learn the holy Torah. The Vaad Hayeshivos will work with the government and IDF in accordance with the decisions of the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah.”
The meeting was attended by Harav Aharon Leib Steinman, shlita, in whose home it was held; as well as Hageonim, shlita, Harav Nissim Karelitz; Harav Eliyahu Shmuel Schmerler; Harav Shaul Alter; Harav Menachem Ernster; Harav Gershon Edelstein; Harav Chaim Wosner; Harav Moshe Shaul Klein and Harav Shalom Cohen. Harav Baruch Mordechai Ezrachi, shlita, and Harav Shmuel Rosengarten, shlita, were unable to attend personally and sent letters indicating their support.
The members of the Vaad decided to appoint Harav Chaim Aharon Kaufman as director of the Vaad Hayeshivos to succeed his father-in-law Harav Asher Tennenbaum, zt”l, who passed away several weeks ago. Divrei azkarah on Rabbi Tennenbaum were delivered.
After the meeting, Harav Kaufman visited the homes of Harav Chaim Kanievsky, shlita, and the Vizhnitzer Rebbe, shlita, Harav Yisrael Hager, and received their brachos in honor of his new position.