Many Rebbes, shlita, affiliated with Agudas Yisrael graced with their presence a special conference, “B’ad Ameich, For Your People,” in Yerushalayim’s Binyanei Haumah convention center Sunday night.
The convention was attended by hundreds of Agudah members from all over the country, representatives of the movement in various institutions, representatives of many communities and chassidic courts, all of whom came together to bask under the Agudah umbrella and to work toward a kiddush Hashem.
Thousands of others took part via live hookups across Israel.
The Rebbes and Rabbanim who spoke at the event stressed the obligation to vote for United Torah Judaism and not, chas v’shalom, for a non-chareidi party. They discussed the dangers if, chas v’shalom, the chareidi parties do not have enough power, and that all their achievements over the last years, rectifying the damage that the previous government had enacted on the religious community and the religious character of the state, could be lost.
After the entry of Gedolei Yisrael, the emcee, Rabbi Yaakov Waltzer, the secretary of the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah, invited the Zutchka Rebbe, shlita, to recite two pirkei Tehillim, passuk by passuk, for the refuah of the Skulener Rebbe, shlita. This was followed by the tefillah of Acheinu Kol Beis Yisrael.
The first speaker was the Biala Rebbe, shlita, who quoted the passuk at the end of Megillas Esther that Mordechai Hatzaddik was accepted by “most of his brethren” – on which the Gemara expounds that some of the members of the Sanhedrin didn’t agree with his approach. Yet, the Rebbe noted, Mordechai remained the leader of Klal Yisrael. The Rebbe said that this is similar to the approach on voting in the elections. “Ruba d’ruba, the outright majority, of Gedolei Yisrael in Eretz Yisrael have said that it is one’s obligation to vote in the elections, to strengthen chareidi representation in the Knesset and municipalities. This is our only way to fight back and ensure the future of our values.
“Those whose Rebbes and leaders have instructed them not to vote must listen to their daas Torah, but those who do not have an explicit instructive otherwise must go out and vote for UTJ-Gimmel.”
The Rebbe also noted that all the achievements of the chareidi parties over the last years could all be overturned in a new government that will be based on the anti-chareidi parties.
The Vizhnitzer Rebbe, shlita, said that “Agudas Yisrael holds responsibility for all of Klal Yisrael, not only for the chareidi community. This makes our votes, and responsibility, even more important and influential.
“It’s shocking to think that there are chareidim who consider voting for a non-chareidi party. What have we come to?
“On the other hand, there are those who say that ‘I am a kana’i, and will not vote.’
“We need to clarify and explain the meaning of the concept of ‘kana’us.’ The symbol of kana’us in the Torah is in Parashas Pinchas, ‘Tachas asher kinei l’Elokav v’yechaper al Bnei Yisrael.’ When one worries about Hakadosh Baruch Hu, kvod haTorah and the dignity of Chachamim – that is the kana’us that the Torah refers to.
“Some claim that someone who doesn’t take money from the government or doesn’t vote in elections is a kana’i. That is not the case. These are two separate things. One can take money or not take money, and one can go to elections or not vote, but that is not a matter of kana’us. A kana’i is one who thinks about Hashem and works l’shem Shamayim, without any other interests.”
The Pittsburgher Rebbe, shlita, spoke of the importance of adhering to daas Torah, even when things do not seem accurate or right in the eyes of the layman. He added that the limud haTorah in Eretz Yisrael is probably at its peak since the Churban Bayis Sheini – and this all stands at risk now.
The Rebbe said that the yetzer hara tries to persuade people that voting – even for a chareidi party – is “politics,” but we must know that with our votes we are increasing Torah, kedushah and Shabbos, and it isn’t just politics.
Hagaon Harav Meir Mazuz, shlita, Rosh Yeshivah, Yeshivat Kisei Rachamim, took part in the conference and spoke, noting that “we are all one people. All Ashkenazi Jews learn the sefarim of our Sephardi Gedolim.
“We must unite together against the chillul Shabbos and the breaches in religious issues. If we will all join together and work in tandem we can reach 10 mandates. “
The Kaliver Rebbe, shlita, made the herculean effort to take part in the conference, noting that he has been bedridden for the last three years. The Rebbe led the crowd with kabbalas ol Malchus Shamayim.
The next speaker was Hagaon Harav Michel Zilber, Rosh Yeshivah, Yeshivas Zhvill.
Hagaon Harav Pinchas Friedman, Rosh Hakollelim of Belz, conveyed the words of the Belzer Rebbe, shlita.
At the end of the conference, Rabbi Yaakov Waltzer, the secretary of the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah, read the conference’s resolutions, calling on all to vote for UTJ-Gimmel.