Why I’m planning to go to the Haredi rally today

I don’t like crowds. I don’t like standing outside for hours. I’m not up to reciting the entire book of Psalms but yet I feel my place is at the Atzeret HaMillion, the Assembly of the Million. The idea is simple — to gather up all Jews who feel themselves part of the Covenant that took place at Sinai to cry out to heaven: Today is Rosh Hodesh Adar 2. Purim is two weeks away and this rally promises to be a latter day  reenanctment of
Queen Esther’s prayerful gathering of the Jews which is described in the Megilla.

For an event that is after all, a drive for legislative change, the publicity posters are surprising apolitical. Names of polls aren’t mentioned, not Bibi Netanyahu or Naftali Bennet or Ayelet Shaked. That is because they are irrelevant. To a believing Jew there is only one source for everything in the cosmos, from tsunamis to terrorist attacks to legislative reforms and that is Hashem.

There is nothing unpatriotic afoot, no intention to derail or dishonor the IDF. By our attendance and our prayers, we are proclaiming that we are Jews.

A Jew is a person who  believes in a symbiotic relationships between the physical and spiritual worlds. Just as an armed soldier may provide protection so can a prayer or a page of Talmud studied.

Our military victories in the 1948 and 1967 were not only triumphs of strategy, they were open miracles. That is not to belittle the contribution of IDF soldiers many of whom lost their lives, but only to recognize that the two parts, spiritual and physical were working in concert.

The Haredi public isn’t opposed to the IDF. The Haredi leaders, most famously Rabbi Aaron Shteinman who has given his support to today’s rally have told young men who don’t want or are unable to study in yeshivas that they should enlist. Until the “share the burden” campaign took hold, that was what was happening with the number of Haredi soldiers increasing every year. 

Sadly, the Knesset is populated by Amei Ha’aretz, Jewish ignoramuses who don’t recognize the value of Yeshiva study. Bibi Netanayu never s learned a Rashi or a Tosafos, a Rabbi Akiva Eiger or a Ketzos. Ditto for Yair Lapid and Ayelet Shaked. Perhaps if they had the law would read differently.

About the Author
Carol Ungar is a prize-winning author, writing teacher and food blogger. She has several sons who study in yeshivot. Her husband is an IDF veteran who served in Gaza during the first intifada..