Should a man serve in the Israeli army?
And the answer is no. By no means should one serve in the army. Because it doesn’t pay to get killed for nothing! When you go out in a milchama, a battle, that the chachmei HaTorah command you to go out and fight, so then you’re sacrificing your life for k’vod shamayim. But if you’re going out in a war because of what others tell you, ba’al habatim – even Orthodox ba’al habatim, but they’re ba’al habatim – so it means you’re giving the greatest donation that you have, for something that might be nothing at all. It’s too much to donate. Your life is too precious.
And so you’ll ask me, “Well, what about helping out our fellow Jews?” Let me explain something to you. Suppose a fellow says “I’m going to go pick a fight with the colored people in Brownsville.” And so he gets on his bike, and he wears, let’s say, a black hat and a beard and he cycles into Bedford Stuyvesant, and he starts calling people names. And so, you know what’s going to happen to him. Now, you happen to be passing by on bus – there’s a bus that goes through Bedford Stuyvesant – and you’re looking through the window and you see this hero surrounded by all of these menacing people. So you’ll ask me, maybe you should get off the bus and help this fellow in his fight?
Look, if he wants to get himself into a fix, you’d better just keep on riding until you get to Williamsburg. Because what are you going to do already? Is it your fault? Who told people to put themselves in such a situation? Did the Gedolei Yisroel say it?
Now, there’s a lot to talk about on this subject, but I can’t speak anymore now because the time is brief. But if you’re asking me my opinion, then I’ll tell you: By no means should you serve in the Israeli army. And I say, stay away! And if you have to go there, make sure not to renounce your American citizenship. And don’t allow yourself to be drafted.
TAPE #191(November 1977)