Reading through the media, the general operative assumption is that Haredi men are useless. What do they do anyway? Sit and smoke on their yeshivas. So why not draft them and make life easier for the rest of us?

But while Haredi society has its share of shirkers, drafting every Haredi will not solve our security problems. In fact, it will only make things worse.

In Judaism, the most exalted pursuit is Torah study. Talmud Torah keneged kulam. This spiritual pursuit, once explained to me as “understanding the way G-d thinks,” is the ultimate in human endeavors. Nothing even comes close. Someone who suggests that a yeshiva student who is successfully shteiging away (really learning hard) at his Talmud would be better off in uniform is missing the point.

Ultra-Orthodox men protest against the universal draft initiative. The sign reads, 'It is better to die than to transgress the prohibition against joining the army, civic service or national service." (photo credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Ultra-Orthodox men protest against the universal draft initiative. The sign reads, ‘It is better to die than to transgress the prohibition against joining the army, civic service or national service.” (photo credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

More than the IDF, it is Torah study that protects us. In spite of our intractable geopolitical predicament, the state is still afloat — but only because so much Torah is studied here.

It’s high time that we realized the spiritual value of yeshiva study. Yeshiva students tap into a vein of the most rarefied and sublime of wisdoms: Hashem’s only Law. When we start to value this instead of scorning people who refuse to buy into the prevailing values of superficiality, hedonism and materialism, we’ll stop devising schemes to put the Haredim in green and give them the respect they deserve.

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