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May 14, 2013 2:44 pm

Dov Lipman: Yair Lapid’s “Useful Hareidi Idiot”

avatar by Moshe Averick

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Rabbi Aharon Feldman, Dean of the Ner Israel Rabbinical College, Baltimore, Md.

It seems that Yesh Atid MK (Member Knesset), Dov Lipman is upset that Rabbi Aharon Feldman, the Rosh Yeshiva (Dean) of Ner Israel Rabbinical College, has publicly condemned him as a “rasha” (wicked person). Lipman – a Ner Israel alumni – penned an “Open Letter to the Baltimore Jewish Community” on 5/8/13 in The Baltimore Jewish Life clarifying his position on Jewish education in Israel – which was the cause of Rabbi Feldman’s condemnation – and why he felt he was judged unfairly.

Lipman, by his own admission, wants to cut off government funding for Hareidi schools that have the unmitigated gall to continue teaching the curricula that have kept the Jewish people alive and well for the past 3400 years. They must toe the line and accept a more “modern” curriculum or fend for themselves. Mr. Lipman feels that his black velvet “hareidi” yarmulke magically invests him with educational expertise and insight that eclipses that of the great Torah sages of both Israel and his native United States, who have unanimously condemned his views. Lipman, who rode into the Knesset on Lapid’s coattails and makes self-delusionary claims that he represents the best interests of the Hareidi community, would be lucky to receive even a handful of votes if he ran as a Hareidi candidate.

Yair Lapid, leader of the Yesh Atid party and Lipman's political boss

He also supports Lapid’s policy of compulsory draft for yeshiva students, while expecting the undying gratitude of the religious world because he graciously has allowed for 1800 full time yeshiva students to be exempt. How Dov Lipman got the idea that he has the authority to decide who should or should not be allowed to study Torah remains a mystery. My guess is that it results from an inflated sense of self-importance due to his role as Yair Lapid’s loyal Hareidi poodle.

In short Dov Lipman has taken on the traditional role of limiting and/or destroying the study of Torah, that in the past was filled by various Roman and Greek tyrants, Hellenist Jews, Russian Czars, Communist dictators, and anti-religious secular Zionists, among others. However, in the interests of peace I have decided to volunteer my services as a mediator between the two conflicting parties:

To Mr Lipman: For your benefit, I would like to offer a clear and unambiguous explanation as to why Rabbi Feldman labeled you a “rasha”; because you are a rasha.

To Rabbi Feldman: Yasher Koach

Knesset Member, Dov Lipman

The issue, though, goes much deeper than the condemnation of a political lackey who will be dumped as soon as he outlives his usefulness. Many people – particularly those who are infatuated with modernity – seem to have forgotten that the Jewish state is only 65 years old, a drop in the bucket when viewed against the backdrop of 4 millennia of Jewish history. Secular/Socialist Zionism, the ideology of choice of many of the early founders of the State of Israel, is essentially dead. It had all the characteristics of a mule, which is the result of cross-breeding a horse and donkey. The upside of a mule: It has the strength of a horse and the endurance of a donkey. The downside: It cannot reproduce; its lifespan is one generation…period. Secular/Socialist Zionism – as far as its ability to inspire a new generation – has utterly failed. Non-observant Jewish university students who – in decades past – were outspoken supporters of the Jewish state and flocked to Israel as volunteers on kibbutzim are now demonstrating for Palestinian rights, marching with anti-Israel Arab jihadists on campus, and urging boycotts of Israeli products.

The future of the State of Israel lies with those who are committed to Jewish observance and tradition in some way that can be deemed significant. This certainly does not mean that all Israelis will be fully observant, orthodox, or hareidi in the foreseeable future; but there is no future for those with an exclusively secular ideology. Nearly one third of all first graders in Israel today are enrolled in Hareidi schools. Close to 60% of all first graders are enrolled in Hareidi, Hareidi Le’umi (Nationalist Hareidi), or Dati Le’umi (Religious Zionist) schools. It is routine for religious/hareidi families to have 6-10 children. It is rare to find a secular family in Israel with more than one or two.

Secular Zionism lasted one generation

If Secularism struggles to provide the depth of motivation and commitment necessary to bring children into the world, how can it possibly hope to provide the commitment and motivation necessary to maintain a Jewish state in the face of worldwide demonization – the UN has passed more resolutions condemning Israel than any other nation in existence – and fanatical Arab/Islamic hordes bent on her destruction? The Torah describes our slavery in Egypt as a “fiery refining furnace.” In the ensuing 3,400 years nothing has really changed. The mission of our people has required us to endure an ongoing series of “refining furnaces” across the ages. In the end only those that cling to the eternal values of the Torah can thrive and grow through such a process.

If Dov Lipman would like to make a real contribution he should point out to Yair Lapid – as I wrote about at length in an earlier article – that the Hareidi community has been demonized and marginalized since the early days of Zionism. The Hareidim has been treated as 2nd class citizens since the founding of the state. Secular Israelis have bent over backwards in their attempts to make peace with the murderous Arabs/Islamists who surround them. It is time to now to make peace with their own Hareidi brothers and sisters. The study of Torah is the only thing that kept the Jewish people alive for thousands of years; the study of Torah is national service of the highest order and without it the Jewish people and the State of Israel would disappear.

My son Danny (left) who served the people of Israel as an IDF soldier and continues to serve the nation by living and working in Jerusalem. He stands with his brother Joshie who has continuously served the people of Israel by studying Torah full-time in the Mir Yeshiva in Jerusalem.

A final message to Dov Lipman: If you want to return to your true Torah roots and accept the authority of the great Torah sages when it comes to the education of our children, we will accept you back with open arms. If not,  remember one thing and one thing only: When you hear Yair Lapid say “jump,” that is your cue to say, “how high boss?!”

Moshe Averick is a regular columnist for the Algemeiner Journal, and author of Nonsense of a High Order: The Confused and Illusory World of the Atheist. It is available on Amazon.com and Kindle. He can be reached via his website. If you wish to be informed when new articles appear, send an email to moe.david@hotmail.com with the email address and the word “Subscribe” in the subject line.

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  • MD

    The headline uses a very incendiary phrase in quotation marks. However, I could find no-one in the story to whom it was credited. Could you please tell me the source of the quote?

    • Moshe Averick


      I confess, it is my own.

  • KJ

    What are your opinions on welfare and support in the US. Are you fully supportive of having your tax dollars (and your children’s future growth in the form of current debt) spent on some people who are more than capable of earning a living for themselves and their families, but instead, choose not to. And then they game the system by having many children because each mouth to feed equal a bigger pay check? My guess is you aren’t too supportive of supporting these Americans. Now you know how secular Israelis feel.

    • Moshe Averick


      You need to read my other article on this subject about the roots of the tension between secular and religious in Israel.


      There is a simple solution to this whole problem that should have been the policy at the founding of the State of Israel and most of these problems never would have existed: 3-4 years of full time Torah study is national service and upon completion, whoever wants to join the work force is free to do so and whoever wants to continue learning can do so. The problem is that the secular government wants to maintain control over the hareidi community no matter how destructive that policy is. They do insane things to try and make peace with the Arabs and refuse to make peace with their own brothers and sisters.

      What a tragedy.

      • Aliza E.H.

        You’re absolutely right about the goal being control over the haredi commmunity no matter how destructive that policy is – and an Ha’aretz article from yesterday confirms this in a very chilling way.

        Now that Yair Lapid believes that he has defeated the hareidim, an author on Ha’aretz wrote an article yesterday that sounds like the kinds of arguments that have been made against the haredim except that they’re now being made against the National Religious Camp:

        “Shatach adds that because these program aren’t in English (with the occasional exception), young religious viewers aren’t exposed to English the way their peers in the general population are. Given the fact that religious schools typically don’t go to great lengths to teach students English, Shatach says, THESE KIDS’ OPTIONS LATER IN LIFE BECOME LIMITED, PARTICULARLY WHEN IT COMES TO THEIR EDUCATION AND CAREERS.” [Emphasis mine]

        National Religious Jews have a high level of participation in the IDF and in the workforce, but the National Religious Camp is the next target in the systematic campaign against religious Jews in Israel.

        They’re using the same argument that they used against the hareidim by saying that the children are limited in options for education and careers, for example.

        They also say in this article “This cyclical system only leads to further cultural isolation and extremism.” This is what they’ve been saying about the hareidim, too.

        Again, it’s a systematic attack on religious Jews in Israel.

        The article is titled: “Israel’s religious Zionist kids growing up in a world where females are taboo.”

  • Danny Kurtz

    Mr. Averick,

    I fully agree with your assertion that yeshiva students who study Torah in Eretz Yisrael are serving and benefitting Am Yisrael, just as I.D.F. soldiers do.
    Having said that, I believe that yeshiva students must show hakarat hatov to I.D.F. soldiers because the I.D.F. enables yeshivot in Eretz Yisrael to function in peace and security. This is one thing that I make sure that my boys who study Torah understand.

    So you will tell me that secular I.D.F. soldiers must also show hakarat hatov to yeshiva students? Granted, but I’m sorry to say that it just won’t happen. Anyway, I expect b’nai Torah to show an order of magnitude more judgment than others, in order to prevent hillul hashem, rahmana kitzlan. (Yes, there IS a double standard!)

    It is absolutely infuriating when hareidi talmidei yeshiva arrogantly say to secular soldiers, “You think that you defend the country?? Ha! We are the ones that defend the country with our learning!” (without going into the question of if, and in what sense that statement is or isn’t correct.) No, I don’t hate hareidim (or anyone else) and I don’t generalize against hareidim, and I don’t know if it is 50% of hareidim that do it, or less than 50%, or more than 50%. And it is equally infuriating if dati le’umi talmidei yeshiva were to do it. The difference is that I have seen and heard hareidim do it, at a number of different forums. I have yet to see datiim le’umiim do it (and I hope I never will).

  • To all readers:

    There was a slight correction by Rabbi Aharon Feldman in his assessment of Dov Lipman. Instead of “rasha” he has changed it to “wrong and misguided” and “shogeg” (an inadvertant sinner).

    For the full story and audio clip of Rabbi Feldman:

    • Danny Kurtz

      It’s been ten full days since you published Rabbi Feldman’s retraction of his labelling Dov Lipman a rasha (what you call a slight (!) correction). I have been waiting all this time for you (as well as some of the comment writers) to publicly apologize for some very vicious slurs. I am very surprised that such apologies have not been forth-coming.

      • Moshe Averick


        Apologize for what? In accordance with Rav Feldman’s assessment, Dov Lipman is not in the category of a rasha anymore. He is just an extremely misguided individual whose policies are destructive to Am Yisroel and in defiance of all the gdolei torah of eretz yisroel. Nebach, his sins are all b’shogeg.

        As it seems to become clearer and clearer that Yair Lapid is nothing more than a “polite” version of his father, Tommy Lapid – a vicious hater of frum Jews – we will find out what Dov Lipman is really made of. I hope he comes to his senses and does teshuva, I fear his gaaveh at being in the Knesset will prevent him from doing so, like Yeravam ben Nvat, who was a great man before he became king, but was corrupted by his fear of losing political power.

        • Danny Kurtz


          Your response amazes me (even more than the original column – see my reaction in this forum). According to the link you gave on Rav Feldman’s retraction, he apologized for calling Dov Lipman a rasha. In the audio clip, he retracted the statement calling Dov Lipman a rasha. (He used the word “retract”.) There is no indication that Rav Feldman considers Lipman a former ‘rasha’ who upgraded his status to ‘shogeg’, as is indicated by your sentence: “Dov Lipman is not in the category of a rasha anymore.” Rav Feldman admits he made a mistake and apologized for it. Do you really think that your insight is so much deeper than Rav Feldman’s, that you refuse to apologize, and reserve the right to continue to publicly deprecate and castigate Lipman, using the vilest of terms? You know, very often the biggest aveirot are committed by people who are just so convinced they are acting leshem shamayim. It’s something we all have to be wary of.

          At the same time that I am sending this, I am sending a similar response to a comparable comment that appeared in this forum.

          • Moshe Averick


            YOu are simply mistaken. Rav Feldman”s retraction is exactly what I stated. He explicitly said that since he is a “shogeg” I cannot call him a “rasha” anymore. He called him “misguided” , that he is among those who are “destroying Torah” , that his approach is “absurd” and that he should resign from Yesh Atid. You did not seem to listen to the entire statement by Rav Feldman. Please look at the link again and listen carefully. I retract nothing at all about Lipman except that he is not a “rasha” anymore but is a “shogeg”


  • Samurai

    Rabbi Averick,
    I’ve really enjoyed reading your articles until now. Shame on you for using your platform to speak lashon ha-rah about a fellow Jew.
    For us who live here in Israel, we find it both humorous when chutznikim throw in their two cents on our country. Your opinion about Israel while you’re comfortably perched up in Chicago is about as relevant as my opinion of the Oscars.
    Stick to athiesm.

    • Moshe Averick


      Well, at least you liked some of my other articles.

      I did live in Israel for 14 years, my twin daughters, who live in Bet Shemesh, were both spat upon during the unrest that took place there.

      If Rav Aharon Feldman publicly spoke out about Lipman then it certainly is not lashon harah. If you disagree, explain why.

  • Thanks, Moshe! Generally I’m inclined to be progressive, but feel in harmony with your view, and Lipman is out of step with Israel’s biblical and G-d given heritage.
    Israel must never forget its heritage – its still lively.

  • Last Tuesday on Erev YT a fine Lakewood yungerman was arrested for scamming someone out of 6.7 million dollars. Interestingly enough, he was arrested WHILE HE WAS OUT ON BAIL from another charge of stealing tens of millions more. Roughly 18 months ago, an entire community in Israel was out en masse protesting (what exactly I dont know) that woman were walking on the wrong side of the street to the point where a man dressed in the garb of a “frum” jew spit on an eight year old girl. What say you Rabbi Averick? What did Rabbi Feldman have to say about each of those incidents or of Yidi Kolko molesting boys? Any calls of Rasha? Anything whatsoever?

    Now to the point of the diatribe from the Rabbi. I would ask you two questions which I would love to get an answer to. Let us say that as you infer, years down the road, lets say 2030 and sadly because of posts like yours, our Redeemer has yet to come (CV). Now the entire state is religious. Enemies are all around us. Rockets are raining down on every Israeli city. Our soldiers (CV) get kidnapped. Yeshivas are evacuated time and again into bomb shleters. Who will defend us? Will it be our Yeshiva bocurim? They are learning. Are you going to suggest that they leave the Bais Medresh to go out to defend the land? Who would say such a ridiculous thing? How could you be so anti Torah? Someone who would suggest that a yeshiva boy should have to leave his makom Torah to defend his people and the land….sounds very greek, roman, german to me. What do you suggest we do?

    I am however amused by the flag that you and rabbi Feldman have been hiding behind. IT IS YOU WHO HAVE SURVIVED the great injustices cast upon you by the amaleks of the past. How truly pompous and arrogant does one have to be to cast aside any TORAH OBSERVANT JEW who happens to believe different than their Kollel for all philiosphy. (Like most every Jewish Commentator for the last three thousand years including the Ramah) As if the Rabbis have taken that stance with purely altruistic motives and not for their own benefit. The blood of every Jewish person living today is lined with the holiness of those, religious and non religious alike, who have died Al Kiddush Hashem. It is truly mind boggling that you have discounted Dov’s opinion and automatically stuck him in the camp of those who have been against Torah, all the while ignoring the fact that the very lifestyle you defend has no resemblance to that of Rava, Abaya, Rav Huna, the Rambam and the Abarbanel all of whom were immersed in Torah and worked for a living. The very fact that the yeshivish community has planted their flag in the “we are the victims” camp yet again and more than that, have incredibly claimed that they are the sole heirs to Har Sinai, (which Rabbi Feldman did in the very same speech) is in and of itself a borderline lav d’oraiysah. ” Thou shall walk humbly before Hashem.” Hardly.

    I am aware that we live within a community that is very myopic and I will be attacked for daring to question “Torah” which as I see now can only be defined by what the yeshiva world announces it to be. Sadly, the yeshiva world has created a situation where it is them and only them that is the arbiter of what Torah is and anyone who disagrees with them or tries to fix a problem that they alone have created, is called names and summarily eaten by the Victorious Victim community that is the yeshiva world. I am ashamed that we as a people, have allowed for the “emes” to be safeguarded by only those who adhere to one myopic way complete with rules of ARBITRARY dress (taken by the way from the russian and polish nobleman–how truly pious), rules of dating, rules of gifts and even rules of tablecloth management. To think that at one time, both Hillel and Shamaii, Rav and Shmuel, Rava and Abaya etc all had differing opinions and Aloo V’aloo divrei Elokim chaim. Unfortunately, in a world where our boys are sold to the highest bidder and our girls are told that to be a true bas Yisroel they must relegate themselves to an 8 x 11 piece of paper, Jews who do not fall in lock step with the masses are quickly discarded as those who are not worthy of calling themselves the remnants of Klal Yisroel and Har Sinai.

    My second question Rabbi is who do you think will be held accountable for Moshiach not coming? Those who know about him, or those who do not?

    Lastly, it is truly sad that when we have an overabundence of cases in our communities where rabbis and bachurim are doing things to children and behavior patterns of the masses that hinder us and cause Chilul Hashem on a daily basis, all our leadership can do is cry about funding. Can we get someone to stand up and call out those that are truly destroying Klal Yisrael? Or are we so feckless that all we can do is put out cries of Pidyon Shvuim for molestors and felons? By the way Rabbi, now that Rabbi Feldman recanted his call of Rasha, will you do the same or are you going to be square against “Daas Torah” and stand by your hateful words?

    • Moshe Averick


      I think that despite the fact that you raised many valid issues, they are irrelevant to the point of my article.

      The Hareidi community has been demonized and marginalized since well before the founding of the State of Israel. They are an easy target and many of the accusations that are leveled against them are either outright fabrications, distortions, or taken out of context. Linking together Army service and the ability to work was an act of wickedness on the part of the government. It is the greatest source of tension between religious and secular.

      The solution is simple as I’ve repeated over and over again. 4 years of learning full time should be accepted as national service and then he is free to work like anyone else. The problem would be solved overnight. Those who are seriously committed to learning would stay in learning and those not would go to work. There would be a natural return to equilibrium and normalization. The problem is that the government is determined to control the Hareidi community and the left will use Hareidi-bashing for political gain.

      Hareidim/frum/Yeshivish Jews have an obligation to act in a way that increases kavod shamayim. If not, they cause chilul hashem, this is elementary.

  • Eric Polly

    Moshe Averick –

    Why is it kosher for a yid in Ner Yisrael Baltimore to learn math, go to university and work, but treif for a yid in E”Y to do the same?

    Why is kosher for a frum yid in America to live comfortably, but a yid in E”Y is expected to live in perpetual poverty?

    Kol HaKavod for supporting your son learning in the Mir, but tell us: How does he pay his rent?

    You are ignoring the fact that the working poor in Israel are being forced to involuntarily pay the bills for tens of thousands of families of career yeshiva students well past the age of 30. The irony is that those lomdim believe they are earning Olam Habah by stealing the tax money of the 52.3% of the wage earners in Israel that earn minimum wage (about $325 per week).

    Billions upon billions of shekels are being transferred involuntarily from the working poor of Israel to this population, most of whom are not learning seriously enough to consider it a full time occupation. Let those who are learning seriously continue to learn, and the other 80% should learn AND earn.

    You likely wrote your disgusting words from a comfortably air-conditioned home in the suburbs, working so that you can support you children in E”Y. Why stop there? Put your money where you mouth is and send your check to the Ministry of Finance in Israel today.

    • Jeff

      With due respect Eric, the 52.3% of Israel’s wage earners who earn minimum wage don’t actually pay any income tax. Therefore they do not support those learning in full-time learning. Minor fact correction. Oh, and I live in Israel and pay more in taxes on a monthly basis than several of these working poor earn in a month. You don’t hear me complaining.

  • Daniel Goldman

    Mr Averick,
    Please tell me that you do not subscribe to the ridiculous fantasy that the modern Haredi lifestyle as practiced in the State of Israel is an authentic representation of 3,400 years of Jewish history, tradition and law.
    It is fine to try and defend this lifestyle, but lets have some honesty about its origins.
    It did not exist in Europe in the last several hundred years, it certainly did not exist in the Sfardi countries, and it did not exist in Eretz Yisrael, during either the first or second commonwealths.
    Perhaps you will be claiming next that Moshe Rabbeinu went to Daf Yomi, and wore a Shtreimel on Shabbat!
    Even Rav Feldman made a half-hearted apology for his rosho comment – apparently you are holier/cleverer than he!

  • Menachem Lipkin

    Unfortunately the premise on which this article is based is quite faulty. We’ll set aside how the author from the get-go discredits himself with ad-hominem attacks on Rabbi Lipman and just look at the “information” he presents.

    “Lipman, by his own admission, wants to cut off government funding for Hareidi schools that have the unmitigated gall to continue teaching the curricula that have kept the Jewish people alive and well for the past 3400 years.”

    False – This is a creation of the current revisionism that’s going on throughout the Chareidi world. Coupled with the need to control information is the need to reshape the past in the image of how they would have liked it to be and not how it was. So, the very idea that our continuity going back 3400 years was based solely on “Torah only” is beyond laughable. That said, it is a very recent tradition here in Israel, and to that end these schools are welcome to continue to produce functional idiots, just not on my dime.

    “He also supports Lapid’s policy of compulsory draft for yeshiva students, while expecting the undying gratitude of the religious world because he graciously has allowed for 1800 full time yeshiva students to be exempt.”

    Misleading/false – It’s not 1800 yeshiva students total, it’s 1800 PER YEAR. That’s about 25 percent of each age group.

    The basic plan is, first a 3 year amnesty where anyone who is learning will be free to go to college/work w/o fulfilling their service obligation. After that, there will be no service requirement until the age of 21. Currently, there are about 7000 21 year olds. So given that number, about 25% of them will be able to choose learning as their national service. Note: For the first time, this is not an exemption but a valid form of national service.

    The reminder will be able to choose among army, special chareidi army units, special chareidi army training programs, and service. Service can include things like Mada, Zaka, Yad Sara, etc. Men doing service can volunteer 9-5 and still have a good 6-8 hours in the day to learn, if they are truly committed. And once they complete their army/service they’ll be free to return to their “hallowed halls” if that’s what they want. Of course, having been exposed to the real world their learning and understanding will be on level orders of magnitude higher than had they merely kept those benches warm the whole time.

    The false scare tactics people like you, the Chareidi media, and some so-called “daas Torah use serve only to injure those you claim to protect. It’s classic liberal welfare mentality right out of Al Sharpton’s playbook.

    And the rest of your article just bolsters what Dov and most of the country, including many chareidim, are trying to do. If the demographics continue as they are, with 30% of first graders being Chareidi, and unemployment among Chareidi men at 60%, then you’re right this country will have been a one-trick pony. But not because of your absurd reasoning but because a Jewish nation can’t survive economically on an ideology based on a Disney-like recreation of history.

    • Avi Segal

      Mr Lipkin, you are entitled to your opinion. You are even entitled to preach it in every way possible. You can scream from the rooftops. You can can create seminars targeting the chareidim. You can distribute videos in chareidi areas if you want to reach those that don’t watch YouTube and promote your prescribed lifestyle as much as you want. Feel free to enlist as much chareidim by persuasion. However, if you ever achieve the position of power whereby you will be able to force your position on all the chareidim and you will indeed do so, you will also be a rasha just like your friend Dov Lipman. And if you posses the passion to also administer the tests to the determine who will be qualified to be a learner as your friend Dov has (see his belief defying comments in the Times of Israel interview), you will be the same meshugane and egomaniac like him as well.

    • Moshe Averick

      Menachem Lipkin,

      Lipman certainly does want to cut off funding to schools that do not teach the curriculum that he deems valid, he wrote this explicitly in his letter to the Baltimore Jewish Life. When you say that my assertion is false, what you really mean is that you feel his policy is the correct policy. YOu are entitled to your opinion.

      Your 1800 per year is incorrect, here are Lipman’s own words:

      Interviewer: You will stick even to the number of 400 annual army exemptions for outstanding scholars?

      Lipman: I don’t think it will be 400. I want to be the one to write that test for the 18-year-old. The test that is going to decide which 18-year-olds can study Torah day and night. I want to write that test. It’ll be less than 400.

      Please get your facts straight.

      Only one group of people have the authority to determine the educational policies of the Hareidi community in Israel: The Gdolei Yisroel-The Great Torah Sages of the Jewish people who are described by the Torah as the “eyes” of the nation. I assume you and Dov Lipman would have been among those who defied Mordechai and would have gone to the party of Achashverosh because “Gedolim don’t really understand what’s going on.” I wish you luck, you’ll need it.

  • Aliza E.H.

    This is a wonderful article and I agree with it completely. The marginalizing and smearing of the entire Hareidi population is a problem in Israel that must be resolved by ending this hostility towards the Hareidim. It’s quite literally a danger to Israel to let this go on.

    Yair Lapid’s official targeting of the Hareidim in particular as the Finance Minister (and gloating about it) would be illegal in Israel if done to the Israeli Arabs.

    This really does seem like a Hellenist popular movement in Israel to discard our Torah roots because it doesn’t seem modern enough to the people of this movement.

    Lapid’s second in command (the beardless Rabbi Shai Piron) was quoted in the news after his first Knesset speech:

    “[He urged all Knesset parties to] Change the discourse surrounding religion and keep up with the time. We have to reintroduce the dimension of spiritual freedom to the religious discourse and free faith of what has been paralyzing it – and causing it to paralyze others – due to ancient agreements.” [YnetNews]

    Ancient agreements? The ones we made with the Holy One, Blessed be He?

    We’re supposed to be freed from these agreements?

    How is this not Hellenist? It means abandoning our religion.

    Again, great article.

    Thank you for writing it!

    • Moshe Averick


      Thanks for your encouraging words. Shavua Tov

      • Aliza E.H.

        Shavua Tov. I live near Jerusalem and the Hareidim are the heart and soul of the Jerusalem that I see when I go there several times per week. They warm my heart and I can’t fathom how anyone (let alone much of Israel) can be hostile towards them.

        I am Datia Leumi and I wish everyone would stand up for the Hereidim.

        Kol tuv vetodah raba.

    • Danny Kurtz

      Aliza, your quote from Rabbi Shai Piron (slightly after the nine-minute mark of his first Knesset speach (see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t6GHPMKjenQ) is taken completely out of context, and shows very little understanding on your part, of what he said. Please apologize to Shai Piron and to the readers of the column for the slanderous misrepresentation of his words. And what, on earth, does the fact that he is beardless have anything to do with it?

      • Aliza E.H.

        Shai Piron referred to hareidim as “parasites” during an interview with the press today.

        He doesn’t deserve my apology or anyone else’s.

        • Danny Kurtz

          Sorry, Aliza, but if Shai Piron called Hareidim parasites (I missed that item – please state the exact source), surely you don’t believe that gives you the right to take out of context, and misrepresent other things he said on different occasions. Or do you? Very often the biggest aveirot are committed by people who are absolutely convinced they are acting leshem shamayim. It’s something we all have to be wary of. Yes, an apology is very much in order.

          • Aliza E.H.

            Yair Lapid stated a few days ago that he was ready to abandon his job as Finance Minister and to abandon his grand plans for Israel’s economy completely if he didn’t get his way against the hareidim.

            He said flat out that his campaign against the hareidim was his only reason for being in politics and he was speaking for his whole party at the time.

            Shai Piron is his #2 in command.

            Shai Piron is part of the campaign against the hareidim and at best, he provides a beard (or a beardless beard) for Lapid’s campaign by being a rabbi.

          • Aliza E.H.

            As for Shai Piron’s statement to the Knesset, there is no context that can make words like “paralyzing” less of an attack on our religion in this sentence:

            Piron: “We have to reintroduce the dimension of spiritual freedom to the religious discourse and free faith of what has been paralyzing it – and causing it to paralyze others – due to ancient agreements.” [YnetNews]

            No apology from me for pointing this out.

  • Joe Schick

    This screed says a lot more about Moshe Averick than Dov Lipman.

    • Avi Segal

      Reb Moshe, I want to give you chizuk in light of such comments like from this Joe Schick fellow. I can only assume that writing an article like this takes time and effort for which you should be commended. However, more importantly it takes a great concerned and caring Jewish heart to pen an article like this. I am personally grateful to you for standing up to this misguided yet malicious Lipman, and express the feelings we all feel about this painful issue. Not only is Lipman being the judge on this issue, he is also being the prosecutor, witness and cruel executioner. It is important to expose him for what he really is because if he is empowered he can cause pain on orders of magnitude few have ever had the opportunity. However to fully expose who he really is, it is important to showcase what he is all about by peeling away some of the causes he aligned himself with that have varying degrees of merit and are earning some sympathy. We must shine the spotlight on the areas that truly expose the extent of rishus and ego-mania which defy belief. While there are many that would like to see more Chareidim employed or in the army, only Dov Lipman can entertain the idea that not only should most of the Chareidim go to the army, but if there should be an exception for those that are serious into learning, then it should be non other than Dov Lipman that should be the one testing these learners. In an interview with Times of Israel, this meshugane went on record and repeated it twice for emphasis that he wants to be the one who will test these bachurim. In a drunken stupor he predicted that in no way will even 400 bachurim survive his testing. No wonder why he is peddling his gracious gift to klal yisroel of 1800 exemptions. He believes even 400 is excessive because they are unlikely to pass a test that he will administer. A concerned Yid about the welfare of his brethren would vomit from disgust of such an idea. I can understand he feels uniquely qualified to champion the cause of employment and drafting yeshiva boys. But that in Eretz Yisroel only he is uniquely qualified to administer a test as who is a real learner?! Reb Moshe! Chazak v’ameitz! Write another article about Lipman that leaves the reader without any doubt as to the validity of your arguments.

  • Danny Kurtz

    I amazed at the low level of this piece. Instead of engaging Dov Lipman in serious and courteous debate, Mr. Averick resorts to insults and slurs, basing much of his remarks on quotes attributed to Lipman – quotes that Lipman denies having said.

    Yes, I also support state-funding of yeshiva-education, along with relaxation of military service requirements for those who wish to study Torah. (All of my sons deferred their military service for a number of years to study Torah.) But to declare that a secularly founded state MUST fund Torah education, and give preferential treatment to yeshiva students regarding the draft, and failing that, to be labeled uprooters of Torah (you know, just like the Roman Empire and the Soviet Union) is absolutely absurd, not to mention slanderous. But I will be lomeid zechus: let’s dismiss the statement as just plain stupid.

    And to prevent any misunderstanding of my words, when I refer to the State of Israel as a secularly founded state, I agree with Mr. Averick that this state of affairs is regrettable. Does Mr. Averick live in America? If the answer to this query is in the affirmative, then I would suggest that perhaps the State of Israel would be less secular if Mr. Averick, and others like him, were not sitting comfortably in America, limiting their efforts to whining about how bad the situation is. If he does live in Israel, then I laud his decision to back up his stand (of wanting a frummer Israel) with actions and sacrifice.

    I would appreciate Mr. Averick’s response, whether via the site, or by private email. But if he responds on the site, please send a copy to my email as well.

    • Moshe Averick

      Danny Kurtz,

      I did not misquote Lipman. Please re-read carefully his letter to the Baltimore Jewish Life. You obviously skimmed through it carelessly.

      My article was about Dov Lipman, not the israeli government. However there is no doubt that learning Torah full time should be considered national service. This was a fundamental mistake that was made at the founding of the state and is the root cause of most of the religious-secular tensions that exist in israel today. Please read my earlier article on the subject. There is a link in the article above.

      The notion of a “secular” JEWISH state is an oxymoron. While religious observance should certainly not be forced on anyone, Israel is not Kansas, there is no way to completely separate religion from government in israel. Marriage and Divorce are in the hands of the Chief Rabbinate because the country could not function otherwise. The same goes for education, drafting Yeshiva students, etc.

      I have no desire to engage in polite debate with Dov Lipman; he is a traitor and a rosha. From Yair Lapid I don’t expect any better, from Dov Lipman I do. I fully agree with Rabbi Feldman’s evaluation.

      • Danny Kurtz

        Please replace my previous reply with this corrected one. In the previous incorrect version, I said that Rabbi Yehuda Hanassi was in the School of Beit Shammai. This error is corrected in this version.

        ‘Oxymoron’ or not, this is not an exercise in Logic. OK, so Mr. Averick does not want to engage Dov Lipman in ‘polite debate’ (and I understand that). Does Mr. Averick really think that the fact that he regards Dov Lipman as a ‘rasha’ and a ‘traitor’ is of interest to his readers, except, of course, for those who already think like him, like Aliza. The piece is sure to give people like that a good feeling! No debate required – Averick said it so it’s settled!

        If Mr. Averick sees his role as besmirching Jews, fair enough (though I’m not completely convinced that he didn’t violate certain issurim (see Shemirat Halashon and Hafetz Haim), but I don’t profess to be a Posek Halakha). But does he really think that Dov Lipman is going to read the column and say, “I guess Averick must be right, I’d better do teshuva.”? I’ve got news for Mr. Averick – it won’t happen in a million years.” You know, there’s a slogan used in the Israeli campaign against traffic accidents: On the roads, don’t be right (meaning: within the law) – Be smart! Think about it, Mr. Averick.

        The disputes between Beit Hillel and Beit Shammai were literally inyanei nefashot! And yet, the Talmud tells as that between the two schools there was a relationship of peace, friendship, brotherhood and love – to the extent that Rabbi Yehuda Hanassi, the compiler of the Mishna, and a leading figure in the School of Hillel, not only brings the view of Beit Shammai in the Mishna, but he invariably precedes the opinion of Beit Shammai to that of Beit Hillel. This is why the Halakha is generally rules according to the opinion of Beit Hillei. It proves that their interest was in arriving at the truth – NOT besting Beit Shammai. Think about it.

        • Avi Segal

          Mr Kurtz, your arguments certainly convey the fact that you possess a sensitive soul and admirable middos tovos. Certainly there is no question that your approach is valid and should be the way to to engage anyone ALL of the time. Yet, there are situations (plenty of such instances in the gemorah as well) that call for clarity. This is such a case. Its not like this Lipman character is pontificating from a blog. He is actively marching ahead and imposing his self concocted formula on the entire Jewish nation by force and inflicting great pain in the process. Your sensitivity while admirable is directed at the wrong party here. Point your heart at Lipman’s victims and listen to their heart-piercing screaming. If anything, perhaps Rabbi Averick should write another article that builds the case with the evidence out there on Lipman so that fine Jewish people like yourself who can’t bring themselves to say something negative on a fellow Jew should absorb the shocking extent of the rishus of Dov Lipman.

        • Avi Segal

          Mr Kurtz if only Lipman meant l’shem Shomayim (as Beis Hilel) then indeed you can be sure that Lipman will read this article and move on unmoved. However since Lipman is largely motivated by an insatiable ego, you can sure that this article does not go in one ear and out the other. One can only only assume that he loses some sleep over articles like this and that he will have second thoughts. He’s in this for kovod and is not willing to suffer for what he believes in. However, to get Lipman to have second thoughts through debate is mission impossible. You mean well Mr Kurtz and I truly admire your eidelkeit. However the stakes are high here. Lipman set himself up with unprecedented arrogance imposing his personal views and remedies on a community consisting of hundreds of thousands of people that disagree with him. They also have their own leaders who disagree with Lipman. Never mind the fact that that there is not even a single area in which these leaders don’t dwarf Lipman. He does not even afford them simple derech eretz of being makir es mekomo and not imposing something on them against their will in “their” communities. Couple that with all of the degrading comments he made on these leaders (which did not result in you reaching out to him and encouraging him to act like the Beis Hilel) and you have a classic rasha in every sense of the word. He’ll probably attempt to respond to this article and I hope Rabbi Averick will continue to take him to task until Lipman relents and leaves Yesh Atid.

          • Danny Kurtz

            Mr. Segal,

            Thank you so much for your very kind personal remarks. I only wish that I deserved them. I don’t think I do (I’m speaking sincerely) but that is the subject for a whole new debate.

            I really don’t think that you (or anyone else) has the right to decide which negative personality traits are what’s motivating Mr. Lipman. (“Insatiable ego” and “shocking extent of the rishus” are two of the expressions you used.) Anyway, Rav Feldman backed off from use of the Hebrew root: RESH-SHIN-AYIN – why can’t you? (I trust that just as Rav Feldman did, you will also retract.) Furthermore, though I wasn’t able to play the audio recording of Rav Fledman’s retraction, implicit in the text, Rav Feldman acknowledges that Mr. Lipman is acting leshem shomyim (albeit, being 100% wrong!).

            You vividly describe how people suffer and will suffer as a result of Mr. Lipman’s attitude and policies. Granted. I wish there were simple answers to all of Irsrael’s problems. But let me tell you of a story that may give you a slight glimpse of the other side. I have sons who have served and continue to serve in combat roles in Azza and in Lebanon. These boys (sorry – I see them as ‘boys’) as well as their comrades-in-arms, of course, have parents, wives and children who (during combat actions, and not during combat actions) live in fear of the worst of all – has vehlila, shelo neda mitzarot. Not too long ago, our daughter-in-law attended a professional gathering that included hareidi and dati-le’umi teachers. At a certain point, one of the teachers mentioned that she had just heard that the son of one of the teachers at the gathering was killed by Arabs in an attack on his guard-post. One of the hareidi teachers blurted out, “Barukh Hashem, our boys don’t serve in the army …”

            I don’t think I have to tell you what effect this remark had on the atmosphere. Mr. Segal, there is a problem here. The current situation is intolerable. Much, even most, of the secular hatred toward Hareidim is due to the fact that the secular see the Hareidim as not pulling their weight. I’m not saying that this hatred is justified. Of course it isn’t. But it is understandable. And if you don’t understand it, I certainly do. This situation cannot continue. There are no simple answers. Please don’t take the easy way out, and explain away Lipman’s position as simple rishus.

            I am new to this forum. I want to give a ‘Shkoyach’ to Mr. Moshe Averick – not because I agree with anything he says – but because he publishes responses that oppose – even strongly oppose (at times in an insulting way) – his point of view, and without necessarily taking advantage of his capability to get the last word in.

      • Shalom

        “The notion of a “secular” JEWISH state is” indeed “an oxymoron” however not the notion of the secular state of Jews.
        The reason for the destruction of the Second Temple was not “causeless” hatred, but hatred caused by power struggles in that “Jewish state”.
        By pushing the idea of the “Jewish state” you, sir, are taking us back on the road to hell. Stop it now!

        • Moshe Averick


          The source of the “hatred” between religious and secular – much of it caused by Hareidi-bashing by the secular left- is due to the horribly misguided policies of the government of the State of Israel when the state was founded. Most people are either ignorant of historical facts or simply do not want to face up to the shameful behavior of the secular-rabidly anti-religious founders of Israel. It is time for the government to quite trying to control the Hareidi community – we have the weight of 3400 years of Jewish history on our side – and to make peace with their own brothers and sisters. The overwhelming majority of the Hareidi community simply want to be able to educate their children without interference, be able to work like everyone else, and to live their lives according to Torah. If the anti-religious forces in the country would make peace with this we could truly live as one people.

  • Lbnaz

    The author of this screed is of the mind that Haredi students are so intellectually insecure that should they be taught science, math, other languages, or in any way be educated so that they have the intellectual resources to provide for their families in a modern economy, in addition to, but not at the expense of their existing curricula, they will abandon the Torah, abandon Judaism, israel will be lost and Haredim will disappear.

    Thankfully, MK Lipman has more respect for Haredi students than the author who clearly holds a bigotry of lower expectations toward Haredi students,

    • Moshe Averick


      I had a hard time following your reasoning, but the bottom line is that my article has nothing to do with the capabilities of yeshiva students. If you think that it did you obviously did not read very carefully.

      The article is about who has the authority to decide what the curriculum should be for yeshiva students. That authority does not rest with Dov Lipman. It is the height of arrogance for him to think that it does. That a so called “orthodox” jew should interfere with the education of Jewish children is what puts him in the category of a wicked person.

  • Specially the ones with hate in their heart


    MOSHE AVERICK is known for his singular ability to explain complex topics in clear, understandable language.

    This attack article is not a worthy output from a man of so much capability and so much outstanding output.

    I would’ve welcomed an argument as to what should be. MOSHE AVERICK has a rare capability to make an effective argument for what he believes in… But he has failed …He has failed me. He has failed your readers. Most of all, he has failed to effectively argue in support of the cause in which he so passionately believes.

    • Moshe Averick

      John Train,

      Your criticism is couched in sweeping generalities. This article is brief but the points I made are clear. If you disagree explain why or point out the flaws in my thinking. To repeat, your comments are so general that it is difficult, if not impossible, to respond.

      • JOHN TRAIN

        BY NOW ONLY YOU AND I WLL FOLLOW OUR DISCUSSION.So I will illustrate my “sweeping generalization by showing you 2 articles that I think are useful in this discussion. Obviously, my opinion is that your article was damaging and not useful.

        Few Terrorize ‘New Haredim,’ BUT MAJORITY ACCEPTS INTEGRATION
        By: Yori Yanover
        Published: May 19th, 2013

        While the campaign against the “New Haredim” in the ultra Orthodox neighborhoods is becoming an all out war, according to the website Kikar hashabbat, the reality on the ground is a great deal calmer and saner, says Haredi journalist Rabbi Israel Gelis.

        The “New Haredim” are People inside the Haredi world who opt to serve in the IDF and go to work or attend university, rather than stay and learn in yeshivas and kolelim.


        Last Thursday, the tires of a car belonging to Jacob Wieder, head of the Haredi Dept. in the Likud party, were cut, and the car was covered with posters vilifying the Haredim who go to work for “the damage you’re causing Haredi society.”

        Wieder, who filed a complaint with the police, told Kikar Hashabbat: “I call on public functionaries to take care of this nasty phenomenon.”

        Wieder added: “The violence of individuals will not in the least detract from our activities, I have no doubt that these are the fruits of the wild incitement that’s currently overwhelming the Haredi streets.”

        Weider said he was horrified by the language of the attacks, which likens the gainfully employed Haredim to “bacteria and viruses and air pollutants,” and said they just had to be stopped.

        Wieder warned that the phenomenon would worsen and result in physical injury to people. “Today it’s me, tomorrow it will be someone else—we have to end this violence.”

        Two weeks ago, according to Kikar Hashabbat, a Haredi soldier, resident of Bnei Brak, received a threatening letter regarding his military service. The letter threatened a campaign against the soldier if he did not leave the military and remove the uniform which the letter called “impure.”

        The letter concluded with a threat against the soldier’s life, and was signed, bizarrely enough, “The Association of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising in B’nei B’rak, Officer of the Rebellion.”

        The soldier responded to the threatening letter with his own published letter, in which he declared: “I am proud to have been serving in the IDF for two weeks now, while remaining no less Haredi, Jewish and observant than any of my Haredi friends.”

        Veteran Haredi journalist and radio host Rabbi Israel Gelis told The Jewish Press that these extremist actions in the Haredi community are committed by “less than a minyan” of young men with too much time on their hands.

        Gelis blames the media for accentuating the negative and violent acts of a very small minority, over the mature and calm behavior of the vast majority of Haredim. “It’s like the Women of the Wall incident,” on the first of the month of Sivan, he says, “when thousands of women stood in quiet prayer and all they showed on TV were the few guys throwing water bottles, cursing, and clashing with police.”

        As to the cut tires and the letter to the soldier, Gelis says it’s the same, very few crazies. “There’s no such thing as a hostile atmosphere in the Haredi street against those who serve in the Army,” he says.

        According to Gelis, the integration of Haredim in the Israeli society is far more advanced than the public at large understands. More than 20 thousand Haredim are currently attending universities and colleges in Israel, he says.

        “The Belzer Rebbe has started an employment agency for Belzer chassidim,” Gelis revealed. “The Rebbe sends there any young man he knows is not up for learning. Let him find a job.” According to Gelis, these men receive core curriculum education that matches the needs of their employers. The classes are funded by the Joint.

        Last Thursday, thousands of Haredim protested in Jerusalem against plans to enlist Haredi men into the military. Between 25 and 35 thousand protesters gathered outside the military draft bureau to hear rabbis warn that army service would irreparably harm their way of life.

        “The government wants to uproot and secularize us,” Rabbi David Zycherman said, according to Reuters, “They call it a melting pot, but people cannot be melted.”

        So who were the 30 thousand plus at the rally in front of the recruiting office Thursday?

        “They can be divided into three groups,” Gelis explains. “One group are the faithful of the Edah Haharedit—the rabbis say they should go protest a government decree—bang, they’re out there.” Another group are not necessarily identified with the protest, but they’re curious to hear what the speakers have to say—”That’s the Jerusalemite group,” he says. “And finally, another third are folks who would show up at any rally—tomorrow you’ll protest the price of tomatoes, or unheated water in the mikvah—they’ll be there.”

        About a dozen were arrested after protesters hurled bottles and stones at police, who used stun grenades. A water cannon was also deployed when protesters set a garbage bin on fire. At least six officers required medical treatment.

        But the discourse inside the Haredi community is almost entirely free from the kind of violent language that’s being emphasized by the media, says Israel Gelis, who has completed his IDF service, works for various secular media outlets and occasionally attends morning prayers with a Satmar minyan in Jerusalem.

        Accepting Our Own: the Bias against Black-Hatters
        By: Yael Farzan
        Published: May 19th, 2013

        It was a recent Friday night in the Heights when, in the middle of a neutral conversation, someone suddenly slipped a derogatory aside about the ultra-Orthodox. I was sitting across from her at the Shabbat table, involved in the stimulating discussion until this point. Immediately, a round of giggles and titters rippled from the other members of the group. I, meanwhile, cringed.

        It doesn’t matter what the off-taste comment in question was. Unfortunately, by now I’ve heard too many disapproving remarks and critical mutterings about the haredi community to count, and not just from my fellow peers and acquaintances. Once, at a YU event, a very prominent speaker made a negative joke about how Yeshivish teens marry so early. The satirical comment confused me. Would he be as critical of people who get married later in their 30s? Or those who decide never to marry at all? Just because people choose different paths than ours—whether these decisions are further to the right or to the left—who are we to judge?

        Many of my fellow college students are quick to voice their acceptance of their LGBT friends, but they turn up their noses and frown slightly when they speak of a Hasid. They dare not find anything offensive about couples who have one child, but will roll their eyes and smirk silently when they see a family of eleven at an amusement park. They laugh agreeably and talk freely in the presence of those who throw out curse words, or admire those who converse in professional jargon, but will poke fun at those who use Yeshivish lingo. They will be the first to volunteer in soup kitchens, drop coins into the outstretched palms of subway musicians, or romanticize the ascetic lives of Bohemian artists, but will grumble (or declare loudly) about the need for Kollel bachurim to “get a job.”

        Why are we hesitant to pronounce judgment on those so incredibly different than us, but cannot do the same for our own? We are oh-so-ready to sympathetically stand behind so many diverse cultures and causes of mankind, yet this same respectful acceptance somehow disappears when it comes to the ultra-Orthodox.

        Why the intolerance? Why the negativity? And, though one may offer several theories, the ultimate question is: how to cure this seeming imbalance of acceptance?

        I am not arguing for a less tolerant attitude to those less observant. It is not my place to judge those who choose to maintain a less rigidly religious lifestyle. But it also is not my place, or our place, to judge those who choose to maintain a more stringent practice, either.

        I have friends who are completely unaffiliated with Judaism, and that’s okay. I have relatives who are more laid back in traditional observance—not a problem.

        But I also have friends who wear stockings every day, and pleated skirts that hit mid-calf, and who pin back their long-sleeved blouses to ensure their collarbones are hidden—and that’s okay, too. One of my best friends married a 22-year-old full-time yeshiva boy as soon as she returned from seminary, and of course I was happy for her.

        The Modern Orthodox community is proud to promote its tolerance and open-mindedness, yet we sometimes seem to be respectful and broad-minded about everyone except for “them.” We are careful never to let slip a racist joke against ethnic minorities, and we strive towards political correctness. We run to defend all sorts of people who do not conform to our own culture. So why are we so intolerant and less accepting (and yes, irritated at times) toward the sects that choose a more right-wing philosophy than ours? If we consider ourselves “open-minded,” and pride ourselves upon it, it seems hypocritical and contradictory to condemn or attack that lifestyle, too.